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Effective Optical Disc Repair? 554

CyberKnet writes "I have an extensive music collection on original CD media. While most of it is in impeccable condition, I have a few discs that have suffered extensive scratching through listening to the disc either via a portable disc player, or in a car CD stacker. I've long since learned the error of my old ways and don't listen to discs in those devices any more, but those discs are irreplaceable in many cases. I would very much like to be able to repair them or have them repaired to original condition, or at least well enough that I can pull the tracks off once and archive the track data. I have heard really uncomplimentary things about devices like the Skip Doctor; ranging from it not helping to it making things worse. I've heard great things about JFJ devices that are seen on the counters of most Hollywood and BlockBuster video stores, but even their consumer devices start at $250. I would appreciate any other suggestions for devices that people have had personal experience with that won't break the bank."
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Effective Optical Disc Repair?

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  • cdparanoia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oyenstikker ( 536040 ) <> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:28AM (#24480505) Homepage Journal

    Clean the disk well and rip it with cdparanoia.

    If legal in your location, replace bad tracks with copies from elsewhere.

    Burn to new CD.

    • Re:cdparanoia (Score:5, Informative)

      by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:33AM (#24480575) Homepage

      Try ripping it with both cdparanoia and with Exact Audio Copy [] (Windows freeware that works well under Wine). Stuff that won't rip in one will often rip in the other.

      • Re:cdparanoia (Score:5, Informative)

        by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:59PM (#24482293) Journal
        I can vouch for EAC. I've had discs that wouldn't play at all, but I got a complete perfect copy off them using EAC. You may need to be patient though... I had one that took almost 22 hours to complete the rip, with the drive ripping 50 minutes out of every hour and a 10 minute cool-down period to prevent overheating. Can't vouch for it working under WINE though, haven't tried...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by croddy ( 659025 ) *

        cdparanoia uses older techniques that are not the state of the art in recovering data from physically damaged audio CDs. exact audio copy has been patched and upgraded repeatedly over the last decade, and its age and cruftiness finally become pretty burdensome.

        for a modern, cruft-free secure audio extractor, take a look at rubyripper. it uses cdparanoia in a novel way to securely extract audio from damaged media.

        personally, i am a fan of the digital innovations skip doctor. it won't fix a label-side scratch

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kesuki ( 321456 )

          "personally, i am a fan of the digital innovations skip doctor. it won't fix a label-side scratch, but i can only think of a couple of discs with intact foil that i've not been able to repair with mine."

          my Standard operating procedure for 'fixing' discs involves 1. cleaning the optical media either with a gentle detergent, or with rubbing alcohol*. I always use basic cotton cloths, they're washable, and a fairly gentle cloth. oh yeah and they're cheap. 2. basic car wax I use 'original' turtle wax, but i o

      • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @03:49PM (#24485317) Homepage

        Whenever I need a fresh copy I just download one.

        Some of the kind people out there even make a second backup copy for me and store it in BitTorrent format. I don't know their names but thanks!

    • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:36AM (#24480631)

      Burn to new CD.

      No need! This [] is the absolute GREATEST optical disk repair device that I've found! It'll even repair cracked disks!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      This is always the first thing I try. Just rip it into iTunes. I don't bother to clean the CD. Most of the time even if it won't play on a dedicated CD player, I can usually get most of it into the computer and then burn a new copy. I just did this to repair an audio book CD that would not play on any CD player.

      In any case, burning CDs was my SOP for several years. I would never carry the original in the car, for, as you mentioned, the heat, vibrations, etc would invariable kill the CD.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 )
      I've had really good luck with Elprime Media Recovery [],while it isn't free,they do have a demo that will let you see if it works for you.My boys had a bunch of CDs and DVDs that got so scratched up in a move they looked like someone played hockey with them,and it managed to recover a good 98% of the discs. And the ones it couldn't recover completely it still managed to get 85-95% of the disc,which considering the condition of the discs was wonderful. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sderrick25 ( 1339381 )
      Go to your local motorcycle shop and pick up a spray can of Plexus. It's used to polish helmet visors but it was originally designed for cleaning, polishing and sealing clear poly in aviation. I've used it on flaky Netflix discs and it works every time.
  • Toothepaste (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've heard that rubbing toothpaste on the shiny side and rinsing with water can be effective.
    • Re:Toothepaste (Score:5, Informative)

      by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:05PM (#24481183) Journal

      Yes, the abrasive in toothpaste can help to polish out the scratches, but really (especially as these are valuable/irreplaceable discs) you should just get it done professionally.

      I can't vouch for any particular company, but Googling "disc resurfacing service []" turns up plenty of fairly economical options. There's no point spending a few hundred on a professional resurfacing machine, nor is there in risking doing it yourself with toothpaste or metal polish and a microfibre cloth, when you can pay a couple of dollars a disc and have them done by someone who knows what they're doing in a machine that probably cost a thousand or more.

      • Re:Toothepaste (Score:4, Interesting)

        by skelly33 ( 891182 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @01:36PM (#24482907)
        I've seen an industrial grade disc resurfacing machine that takes stacks of discs for polishing in a hopper - they cost MUCH more than a thousand (USD) and if you could have your discs treated in such a machine for a buck a piece, it'd be well worth it.

        I've also done the toothpaste thing and there is a technique to it (not just randomly swirling it around) because what you are doing is making fine scratches with the paste abrasive and the lines must radiate from the center of the disc outward to be effective. I have restored unreadable discs to a state where data could be pulled from them - it's just good enough for last-ditch recovery, IMO - not something to count on using repeatedly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by camperslo ( 704715 )

      I've heard that rubbing toothpaste on the shiny side and rinsing with water can be effective.

      I've had good results using standard toothpaste. What follows pertains to only problems with the read-side surface of discs. Foil-side damage is another problem evident as bright holes/scratches when examining a disc with strong light behind it.

      First make sure the disc is clean and free of things like pizza sauce, bean-dip, baby food, ice cream, sex-lubricant, etc. Rinsing in warm water alternated with gently rubb

  • Toothpaste (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:30AM (#24480521) Journal

    Get toothpaste. NOT GEL, but regular white paste. Get a small cloth, put a dab on it, then rub it from the center to the outside in straight lines going outwards around the whole disk. When you're done, clean it off and pat it dry. Disk will look like hell, but it'll work.

    I have rescued lord knows how many CDs with this technique, including console ones that were completely screwed, and even resurrected a dead DVD-RW just this past weekend using this technique.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Polishing anything requires a lot of skill to get it right.
      Its just as easy to screw up your cd than to make it better.

      Learn how to carefully polish things before you start and practice on things you don't need.

      Toothpaste will not remove scratches that you can feel, but it may clean out the grooves of the scratch enough for them to be read.

      If in doubt, speak to one of your friends who buffs and polishes their car every weekend - they will likely have the tools, polishes and most importantly knowledge availa

    • by AioKits ( 1235070 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:34AM (#24480605)
      Toothpaste eh? Working porn DVD and clean teeth, all in one swoop!
    • Re:Toothpaste (Score:5, Interesting)

      by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:35AM (#24480619) Homepage

      The way this works, by the way, is that white toothpaste contains fuller's earth [], which is a very mild abrasive. This polishes the disk back to readability.

      Use this as your last resort, only when EAC and cdparanoia have both failed.

      Note also: if you hold the disk up to the light and see lots of pinholes ... the aluminium layer's fucked and you haven't a hope. I dunno if you can repaint an aluminium layer ...

    • by pagewalker ( 1286802 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:39AM (#24480681)

      I wonder if that works on 3.5" floppies...

      Of course, 3.5" floppies are in cases, so I'll have to just squeeze the toothpaste into the case, and then use the disk drive to spread it out over the surface of the disk.

      It might be worth it just for the tech support call.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by claytonjr ( 1142215 )

      Get toothpaste. NOT GEL, but regular white paste. Get a small cloth, put a dab on it, then rub it from the center to the outside in straight lines going outwards around the whole disk. When you're done, clean it off and pat it dry. Disk will look like hell, but it'll work.

      I have rescued lord knows how many CDs with this technique, including console ones that were completely screwed, and even resurrected a dead DVD-RW just this past weekend using this technique.

      Just to reiterate: []

      I found this VERY helpful.

  • NOVUS plastic polish (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ellis D. Tripp ( 755736 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:30AM (#24480537) Homepage

    Have had good luck using this stuff, a piece of chamois, and some elbow grease. Good on all kinds of plastics, not just CDs/DVDs. []

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Over the years I've tried toothpaste, a paste of Bon-Ami cleanser + water as well as several commercially sold CD scratch removers. All worked to some degree but nothing has worked as well as Novus #2, followed by a cleaning with Novus #1.

      I also use Novus #2 to clean up laptop screens, especially touchscreens.

      Whatever you choose to polish with, use a soft cloth; never use a paper product. Use a small amount on a fingertip-sized area of cloth and rub firmly in small, overlapping circles. Never let the dry cl

  • by michaelepley ( 239861 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:31AM (#24480541) Homepage
    Make a few quick, gentle passes over the recorded side(s) with a common butane blow torch, of the plumbing variety. The heat slightly melts the polycarbonate plastic, causing most scratches to get filled in, and other sharp edges to be smoothed & making reading easier. Tips: 1) don't overdo it, or the plastic might warp, 2) doesn't work well with recorded media (CD-Rs), 3) first practice a couple of times with media you don't mind losing.
  • Easy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:32AM (#24480561) Journal
    Toothpaste, [] or Brasso. [] I hear Brasso works the best.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I haven't tried the toothpaste, but I'll vouch for Brasso. I typically try to clean discs well before moving on to any other method, and then spray them with Pledge to see if that helps smooth out the smaller scratches/scuffs. If these two fail, I use put a small amount of Brasso on a cotton cloth (an old t-shirt) and buff out in a radial pattern or along deeper scratches. This has gotten some older discs to work, especially some PS2 discs I bought used.

  • by Awptimus Prime ( 695459 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:32AM (#24480567)

    Get a $5 tub of Mother's Metal Polish. It'll take out scratches in any plastic as long as you use a cotton or microfiber cloth.

    It's also handy if you get a gimp DVD from NetFlix/Blockbuster and don't feel like waiting for a replacement.

    Typically, you can buff down the worst of gashes in less than a minute. If you can't, then the $250 device probably wouldn't have worked either.

    Since there's no way you'll use the whole tub on CDs or DVDs, you can use the rest to pretty up your silverware, brass stuff, and rub rust off things you don't feel safe using steel wool on.

    • by Taibhsear ( 1286214 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:56AM (#24481011)

      Since there's no way you'll use the whole tub on CDs or DVDs, you can use the rest to pretty up your silverware, brass stuff, and rub rust off things you don't feel safe using steel wool on.

      This is probably off topic but I felt compelled to reply, never buff your silver. There's a super easy trick that companies don't want you to know. (IAAC) Get a container big enough for your silverware. Put aluminum foil in it, put the silver on top of it, fill with boiling water, sprinkle baking soda on top. The tarnished parts of the silver will disappear. It's an oxidation reduction reaction. Every atom of the silver will remain and it only removes the tarnish. No worry about scratches or wearing down the metal. I shine all my/my gf's/my family's silver jewelry and utensils this way. It only takes a few seconds.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:41PM (#24481921)

        As a fine jeweler, I must say that you pose an interesting solution. However, I don't think that the reaction with aluminum is going to help you, the wearer, much. After putting the jewelry back on, you can still leave aluminum oxide all over your skin, which is very much an irritant.

        Also, some of the stones you put in there will absolutely turn to crap if you try that. Don't do it with aquamarines, emeralds, opals, coral, turquoise, or any other soft stone.

      • Confirming that... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by OmniGeek ( 72743 )

        My XYL does this, and it works like a charm. Alas, with our dirty industrial-era air, the silver tarnishes up again rapidly (silver is quite chemically active). I've occasionally wondered how difficult it would be to spray-coat the display pieces with clear lacquer to keep-em bright; I suspect the answer is, "Very, very difficult if you want to get decent-looking results."

  • Just a note (Score:5, Informative)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:33AM (#24480577) Journal
    If anyone recommends a home remedy (like toothpaste or baking soda paste), I would try it first on one of your not-so-irreplaceable discs.

    Otherwise, you may be *very* unhappy with the results (like if you use a "whitening" toothpaste, or if your tecnhique sucks).

    Reminds of an A-Team episode where someone (Murdoch?) tells Mr. T to clean his gold jewelry by putting it in the microwave. Mr. T was not amused with the results, to say the least.
  • Cleaning well can make a huge difference, and using alternative CD players might help as well (some seem to read better than others). I had a friend use a mild polish and lots of rubbing to fix his scratching problem.

    I always wanted to try a Dremel with a buffing attachment on some of the very scratched DVDs I get from the library, though I haven't been brave enough. If you've got an old Bon Jovi CD laying around (or something similarly useless), you could scratch it up and then see if you could repair
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by timbck2 ( 233967 )

      Yeah, but then you'd have to LISTEN to it to find out if your repair worked...Then you'd have to find a way to repair your ears!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jgarra23 ( 1109651 )

      A used cd store near me does that, it works quite well for them. I brought them 15 cds which all produced several errors in EAC along with terrible AccurateRip results to see what they could do. They fixed EVERY SINGLE CD, errors removed in EAC and the CRCs each matched no less than 20 in AccurateRip.

      If I ever get the balls I will do the same :)

  • This is an ongoing problem... []

    And its much, much worse for CDRs.

    I rip all my CDs and have several digital copies, no I do not P2P or share I simply try to appreciate my music for longer.
  • I've found most CDs, even fairly severely scratched ones, can be read if you clean them with tap water, wiping them with your finger (perhaps the oil helps fill the scratches and reduce the diffraction), buffing them with a soft wet paper towel, and then with a dry paper towel. Remember to always wipe and buff the CD radially outward from the center, and never sideways.

    The layer of plastic above the metal or dye film that contains the actual data is thick enough that you can buff a significant amount of pl

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by X0563511 ( 793323 )

      Your skin oils and the buffing from the paper help remove or pad the sharp edges on the scratch, reducing glare from the laser. This helps the drive read the data immediately next to the damage and get more bits to process with reed-solomon, data which is usually obscured by the reflections off the damage.

      I've used a fine-point sharpie to black-out a scratch, and the disc read perfectly after that.

  • I don't want to be mean, but why would anyone use original (and sometimes irreplaceable) CDs in his car? Always use copies of the originals for in-car listening.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:38AM (#24480679)
    Can you elucidate further on the irreplaceable aspects of many of your discs? CD's last a long time, many were made, many remain available in catalogs, and then there's Amazon, iTunes, eBay, and your local secondhand music shop.

    In fact, if the record companies are smart (admittedly the RIAA backed lawsuits strongly cast this into question) everything ever (re)mastered in digital should be available from online music stores.

    If you're just trying to see how cheaply you can accomplish this that's fine, however, then it's simply a matter of cost, not availability.
    • by Xzzy ( 111297 ) <> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:45AM (#24480819) Homepage

      Local artists that only ran a few thousand copies, and are no longer producing music?

      That's how it worked before the internet, CD's or tapes was all they had for distribution and once those were gone, the band may as well never have existed.

      I know I've got a dozen or so discs from the early 90's that fit that description, and I treat them better than I do myself. ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by penginkun ( 585807 )

      I've got an original UK Harvest release of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Sure, Dark Side has been released about half a billion times, but the sound quality on this is among the best. I'd as soon as not lose it, because they're very, very difficult to find.

      Also nearly irreplaceable is my original release of David Sylvian and Robert Fripp's "Damage". It, too, was re-released, but with a different mix which is nowhere near as good as the original.

      So there are SOME irreplaceable discs out there. Not ever

  • Ask Nicely (Score:4, Interesting)

    by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:39AM (#24480697)

    How about asking your local Hollywood or Blockbuster folks if you could run your few discs through their fancy machine?

  • at the entrance of the Movie Trading Company® where I live.

    I had a bad disc from a library loan once, took it there, chatted up one of the staff and they buffed it up to a playable state for free.

    I imagine that a small gratuity on your part would go a long way to having a minimal stack done the same way.

    Caveat: Do as other posters suggest, first attempt a rip using CDParanoia & EAC, just in case the machine munches the irreplaceable originals (it's known to happen).

    Good luck with your project.

  • Family Video (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:40AM (#24480713)

    My local family video will resurface the disks with their professional grade JFJ for a few dollars. If you only have a dozen or so that need to be done that might be the cheapest, safest, and easiest way to get your disks back.

  • Record Stores (Score:5, Informative)

    by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:42AM (#24480735)
    Find a store that sells used albums and CDs they will most likely have this service. This is what I do.
  • I've used polish for mag rims with great success. Some people mention toothpaste but I find that very fine grit polish works wonders. I think I used a German polish called Weenol and a polishing cloth. My rules: don't press hard. Just rub and rub and rub and rub. Think of a polish that is used to polish the clearcoat of the your paint on your car. It's 2500 grit. Basically, you need something with a very fine grit a flat surface, some TEST CDs a good polishing cloth and time.

    Good luck!

    • by azav ( 469988 )

      OH! This might be too large a grit but what about baking soda tooth paste? Also, try some of the Soft Scrub bathroom polish on TEST CDs.


  • Seriously. Get some of the oil and grim off the your face. Most common place is the sides of your nose. Just rub your fingers into it really hard, and then wipe onto the scratches. Might want to a light wipe with a clean cloth right after. It works on fairly minor scratches. Other than that, you can try Brasso. If your face is too clean, go find some highschoolers.
  • Use a disc doctor, or the toothpaste method, to get rid of as much of the hairline scratches as you can.

    Next, grab yourself a good fine-pointed marker. The finest you can find.

    Black out the large scratches with this. Be very careful to only cover the damage itself - look straight at the disc from the laser's perspective and if you can see any light reflection from the damage, black out the reflective spot. This is difficult, and requires a good marker and steady hand, and sharp eyes.

    The idea is this:

    The dri

  • recover tracks from compact disc: 1. insert said CD into laptop/desktop 2. see if spins/reads correctly 3. open browser 4. in the URL bar type "" 5. this will give you another search option 6. enter cd title and/or artist 7. ensure you have one of those illegal bittorrent clients 8. recover tracks/whole CD/maybe even a few extra tracks not on CD *if using Comcast this may take a bit longer than normal 9. RECOVERED! 10. eject and toss compact disc, flip off RIAA
  • There's a free utilty called EAC, Exact Audio Copy. Its two disadvanteges are it's windows only, and isn't the easiest to use. Google can find it for you. You should be able to make a pristine, new copy of your CD.

    Also, scratched CDs can often be repaired with toothpaste. Only use on the bottom (laser side); do NOT use toothpaste on the top (label side) or you will ruin your CD. Do NOT wipe in a circular motion, wipe in the direction of the radius (center to outside edge). Just use your finger with a littl

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you do use EAC, use the IMG mode. That way you'll get a full rip of the CD exactly as it is, complete with correct pre-gaps and everything.
  • by krbvroc1 ( 725200 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:47AM (#24480843)

    Since you only license the material and do not own it, they should be able to replace the media for a nominal fee.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Actually, this would probably make an interesting court case.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kimvette ( 919543 )

        Not really. They are commodity goods SOLD (not licensed) off the shelf. Ever notice that every CD and DVD advertisement, store kiosk, or print ad says OWN it on DVD today, or OWN it on CD today?

        Copyright law does not work how the MPAA and RIAA would have you believe. Yesterday's /. article is evidence of that. You OWN the copy of that content, and no one can ever take away your legal right to view/read/etc. that content. Even their slick marketing departments know that you OWN it.

        Their unofficial propoganda

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Eric Pierce ( 636318 )

      > Since you only license the material and do not own it, they should be able to replace the media for a nominal fee.

      Why is this tagged Funny?


  • by n76lima ( 455808 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:47AM (#24480849)

    Use Micro-Mesh to remove scratches from the music side of the disc. It will remove scratches that you can catch a fingernail in, as well as the minor ones. Yes it is "sandpaper", but it is a system of varying grits that are used to restore the optics of aircraft windows, etc. I have extensive experience with it, and it works great when recovering a damaged CD. []

  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:50AM (#24480893)

    My in-laws run a CD repair business. (Link excluded to prevent accusations of spam.) Mostly they buy beat up junk in bulk lots, fix them up and resell them at a profit, but they can easily handle salvaging damaged collections too.

    The machine they use is a professional-grade one that you can drop the most horribly mangled CDs into, and a few minutes later they come out looking *new*. Search around the net a bit, and you'll find plenty of mom-and-pop operations that will be able to do this for you for a reasonable fee.

    For a more DIY approach, if you're happy being able to get the CD readable once so you can rip-and-reburn it: Try nose grease. In private to avoid funny looks, hold the CD up to the front of your nose, and give it a good wipe. Spread the grease mark out with your fingers, and notice how all the scratches are now much less visible. The nose grease fills in small scratches, and it has an index of refraction close enough to the polycarbonate to make it optically sound. I've had very good luck doing this after the whitening toothpaste trick others have mentioned. The whitening toothpaste makes a good first pass, but leaves a little haze... The nose grease fills in the haze, and makes the CD salvagable.

  • Skip Dr Works (Score:4, Informative)

    by DnemoniX ( 31461 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:51AM (#24480927)

    I have a 4 year old that listens to CDs everynight at bed time. As you can image a small child can be a little bit tough on the old SpongeBob CD. Several of her CDs became unplayable. I purchased a Skip Dr at the local Best Buy for under $20. All I can say is it worked perfectly. All of the cheap solutions presented here, toothpaste, Brasso, etc all do the same thing. They are essentially rubbing compound. The difference with using the Skip Dr is that your strokes are perfectly uniform all the way around the surface of the disk and it takes less than 60 seconds to repair a disk. If you have severe scratches or gouges none of the inexpensive solutions are going to work well. One other note; when you read a forum and somebody says that the Skip Dr left scratches all over the CD, that person didn't bother to read the instructions. As with any of the buffing methods small radial scratching may occur and is normal, your player will ignore it.

  • by stmfreak ( 230369 ) <stmfreak&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:13PM (#24481327) Journal

    We have kids, so I've seen a LOT of this between the movies, Xbox games, CDs, etc. I tried the commercial dr-fix-it products and found they were weak at best and only useful for removing the faintest of scratches.

    What I did, which carries some risk (with great power...) was go to my local Home Depot/Lowes and purchase:

    * bench grinder ($35)
    * buffing wheels, high/low density ($20)
    * plastic rouge paste ($5)
    * plastic polish paste ($5)

    After putting the buffing wheels on the grinder, I took one of my worst discs which was scratched beyond belief. I think the kids left it on a table covered with sand and then sat on it and moved it about.

    Anyway, start with the low-density pad and some plastic polish. Only buff a section for one or two seconds at a time, keep rotating the disc. Make the buffer scrub from center to the outside edge. If the low-density doesn't work, try the high-density pad. Put the plastic polish/rouge stick against the wheel for a second and then work the disc around.

    Once you think you've gotten the worst of the scratches out, finish off with the low-density wheel and the plastic polish. Wipe clean with a soft cloth and water if necessary.

    I've restored 50 or 60 games and movies this way. Takes 5 - 20 minutes depending on damage.

    WARNING: push too hard or move too slowly and the surface of the polycarbonate will overheat and TEAR. You cannot fix a torn surface, that disc is now trash.

    Good luck.

  • Ask the RIAA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:41PM (#24481925)

    They keep arguing that we're buying a license to the music. As such, since the medium they have delivered this to you is obviously flawed (cannot stand up to a reasonable amount of use), they should be obliged to replacing the medium with a new one at their cost. Right?

  • DVD Rental Place (Score:3, Informative)

    by oaklybonn ( 600250 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @01:08PM (#24482455)
    Many DVD rental places have the $250 disc cleaning machines and will buff a disc for you for a nominal fee.
    • $250? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      More to the point, how many "irreplaceable" discs do you have to want to repair before $250 sounds like a good deal? What did your last cell phone cost? Your last sushi dinner?

      What would the submitter sell one of these "irreplaceable" CDs for? $25? $50?

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll