Optical media (eg, CDs & DVDs) are very easily damaged. If treated carelessly, they may eventually become unreadable. With optical-media drives becoming ever faster and more disc sensitive, this is becoming an increasing problem.
Optical media are made from two thin layers of polycarbonate, sandwiching the data encoded reflective surface. The surface of the disc is very easily scratched. Normally an optical-media drive can cope with small surface-scratches without any problems. However, if these scratches are too long, too deep or too numerous, the optical-media drive may have difficulty reading the data.
Similar problems will result from dirt and grease accumulating on the playing surface.
Protecting your disks:
- To avoid getting dirt on the disc, always hold it by the edges, and never touch the playing surface; .
- Should the disc become dirty or scratched, clean the surface with a lens cloth, using a small radial action;
- Should the disc be very dirty, use a proprietary optical-media cleaner or a lens cloth with an optical media cleaning fluid;
- Should the disc be badly scratched, there are optical-media cleaners available that will repair some of this damage;
- Optical media should also be kept well away from extreme heat, as this can warp the disc or damage the surface.