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Storage forum: Do burned CDs and DVDs have a shelf life?

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) January 30, 2009 1:52 PM PST

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Do burned CDs and DVDs have a shelf life?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 1/30/09 1:52 PM


I've been backing up my important files on recordable CDs and DVDs for a quite a few years now. However, the other day my friend told me that he read some article explaining that burned CDs and DVDs, while a reliable backup method, do have a shelf life and one day they will fail to read and that I should make duplicate backup copies of my files on another media or external hard drive just in case. This is new news to me, but paranoia still set in! I went immediately to check on a few of my backed up CDs from many years ago dated 1998 and 1999 and was relieved to find that they read perfectly fine from my PC. Now I'm questioning if what my friend read was a myth and I'm turning to you for answers. Is it true, will burned CDs and DVDs eventually become unreadable? If there is a shelf life, what is their expected life span? Are there better quality CDs or DVDs recordable discs that are better for longtime storage? What is the best way to store burned disc to prolong shelf life, if there is such a thing? Am I being paranoid for no reason? Have you had any old burned CDs or DVDs fail on you because they were too old? Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for any facts you can provide.

--Submitted by Michael D.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read up on all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this member's question.

CD/DVD shelf life --Submitted by Zouch

Longevity of optical media --Submitted by Watzman

Life depends on quality--here are my experiences --Submitted TonyGore

To read or not to read? That is the question. --Submitted by Starkiller5

Do burned CDs and DVDs have a shelf life? --Submitted by explorer2_000

About CD/DVD lifespan --Submitted by mssusanf

If you have any additional tips, knowledge, or experience to share with Michael, please click on the reply link below and submit your answer. If you have links that will help with this topic, please do provide it in your submission. Thank you!

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