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CD-Recordable discs unreadable in less than two years

Posted 19 August 2003 14:33 CET by G@M3FR3@K

The Dutch PC-Active magazine has done an extensive CD-R quality test. For the test the magazine has taken a look at the readability of discs, thirty different CD-R brands, that were recorded twenty months ago. The results were quite shocking as a lot of the discs simply couldn't be read anymore: Roughly translated from Dutch: The tests showed that a number of CD-Rs had become completely unreadable while others could only be read back partially. Data that was recorded 20 months ago had become unreadable. These included discs of well known and lesser known manufacturers. It is presumed that CD-Rs are good for at least 10 years. Some manufacturers even claim that their CD-Rs will last up to a century. From our tests it's concluded however that there is a lot of junk on the market. We came across CD-Rs that should never have been released to the market. It's completely unacceptable that CD-Rs become unusable in less than two years. On the image you can see the exact same CD-R. On the left you see the outcome of our tests done in 2001. On the right you see the same CD-R in 2003. The colours indicate the severeness of the errors in the following order; white, green, yellow and red whereas white indicates that the disc can be read well and red indicates that it cannot be read. For those of you who are interested, the original Dutch article can be found here and in the September issue of PC-Active. Please discuss this subject in our Media Forum.
jab1981
Waiting on Activation
Posted on: 19 Aug 03 13:00
interesting... I've not yet had any sort of problem and I've discs over 5 years old. They make it sound like that's impossible.
0 Agree

lagger
CD Freaks Senior Member
Posted on: 19 Aug 03 13:07
On the other hand I have discs with music on them that have deteriorated in under a year They are kept in a cd wallet in my auto so the heat and cold are factors no doubt. I am sure it is the disks and not the player as the dropouts and skips that have developed in some are in the same place at every playing ... and new ones show up regularly now on the older ones. Guess I'll have to make backups of my backups
0 Agree

chsbiking
CD Freaks Senior Member
Posted on: 19 Aug 03 14:04
I keep two backups of every backup disc I have. As soon as I notice one go back I have the second one to replace the one that went bad. It's highly unlikely that both would go bad at the same time. But I've never had one go bad yet. I have had CD Rewritables go back on me though. They seem to last even shorter.
0 Agree

Ian@CDRLabs.com
CD Freaks Member
Posted on: 19 Aug 03 17:00
I don't speak Dutch. Do they mention how they stored these discs and under what conditions?
0 Agree

DoMiN8ToR
Management
Posted on: 19 Aug 03 17:09
Yes, they say they have stored them in a closed cabinet for two years in their original packaging.
0 Agree

compu44
CD Freaks Senior Member
Posted on: 19 Aug 03 17:26
i've got princos that are over two years old easily, kept in somewhat humid conditions too. still in perfect condition
0 Agree

eranros
CD Freaks Junior Member
Posted on: 20 Aug 03 05:36
Just checked 2 CDs from 1998 - no errors.I used CDCheck. Anyone know which software they used? I use the cheapest media that will burn at my writers top speed, usually generic brands such as Silverline, GPT etc.
0 Agree

dakhaas
CD Freaks Media Expert
Posted on: 20 Aug 03 08:34
Software they went the hardware way. They used a high speed cd analyzer CDA-3000 from cd associates. (these things are used for fast checking disc quality in some production factories.)
0 Agree

mrdisk
CD Freaks Junior Member
Posted on: 20 Aug 03 09:20
I have an impression that 'older (sat 2x, 4x maybe 8x) CDs, were more stable; while newer (higher speed) CDs are less reliable over longer time periods. This is mostly simply my expereince...not based on any formal studay...
0 Agree

war4peace
Waiting on Activation
Posted on: 20 Aug 03 14:22
They are partly correct. I've noticed the awfully low quality of AUDIO CDs: although I am not listening to my originals as i've ripped 'em to MP3s, they kept degrading even stored in perfect conditions... ...And speaking of data CDs, well, all Cds inscribed as Delphi or DVision went unreadable (totally or partially) within one year; that's why I stopped buying that crap.
0 Agree

NHJ BV
CD Freaks Junior Member
Posted on: 20 Aug 03 16:05
BTW, today I saw an article/ad/statement from Kruidvat (brand of the disc seen in the image) that some discs produced in 2001 were faulty and that you could send them somewhere to have the data recovered for free (if possible). The newspaper was the Volkskrant, but it probably appeared in other Dutch newspapers as well. It's on the third page of todays (20-8) Volkskrant.
0 Agree

chotzeny
New on Forum
Posted on: 23 Aug 03 19:41
Hay I have A 2 CDs Samsung CDR-74S 650mb/74min they were burnt with 2 speed max since 1999 with some old stuff and to work great... actuley it was fun to find these old stuff
0 Agree

stimmy7
New on Forum
Posted on: 25 Aug 03 16:15
What I find interesting is the majority of the comments are related to music CDs, many of which are comprised of data of rather limited value, available relatively easily to replace. I think the greater concern is for business, scientific, research or other data and information being placed on CD-R discs and the fact that manufacturers routinely provide a "warranty statement" that the media will last for 10 years or longer. Users need to read one line farther in this statement to understand that the manufacturer's warranty is limited to the cost of replacement of the media alone, and even that is limited by your ability to prove that the media was stored "under optimal conditions". My understanding of the intent of this article was that it highlights that it's critical to have a migration strategy for the most critical of data being stored on digital media, and that the media is properly stored and periodically reviewed for any signs of degradation, especially if the data stored is subject to long term retention requirements. Larry :B
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 18 Jul 07 16:52
My oldest backup CD-Rs are from late 1998, both still work perfectly fine. Those happen to be Sony. I also have a "generic" CD-R from around 1999, that one has problems and is mostly unreadable now. I guess you get what you pay for when it comes to storage.
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 12 Sep 07 01:57
same problem here my room is 29c to 35c sometimes 38c in temperature and is humid and I have several CDr that have tiny holes growing from it. some less than 1 year some of the CDs are BENQ, IMATION, ARITA, & a few under CDr-King but some of the good brads like TDK, CD-LINK,VERBATIM lasted much longer infact CD-Link lasted from (97- present ) still readable but the programs is not compatible with vista
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 03 Oct 07 19:16
I have purchased CDs that have "evaporated" while stored in the case. I'm transferring (as fast as I can) to hard drive most of my collections. This medium will last longer than the temporary CD/DVD medium (I hope).
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 26 Feb 08 19:38
I still play vinly lp's that are almost 40 years old and still sound excellent....I guess new isn't always better
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 16 Mar 08 11:39
National Arhive of Serbia have problem with CD who old 6 and more years. They tell that discs who older of 6 year can't read...
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 21 Aug 08 16:06
I did a project at work that required going back into our disc archives and when I saw how many discs were unreadable we bought a 2 TB drive to recover what we could. We're in the middle of transfer from CD/DVD to hard disk and are averaging 20% failure. Worse, Imation discs that are only three years old are failing at 75%! I've had some luck using ddrescue on our Macs to recover files, but it takes at least 8 hours to run one CD, so that'll be a long-term project.
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 23 Mar 09 02:59
I have cassette tapes that are still good & recorded to cd's that are bad. Can these be put on a flash drive or something else for safe storage?
0 Agree

Andrew P.
New on Forum
Posted on: 25 May 09 18:03
There are discussions on cdfreaks.com and elsewhere of tests performed several years after this article was posted, comparing various brands of CD-R discs. Reportedly, genuine Taiyo Yuden brand discs perform best and yield the best results in long-term storage. Taiyo Yuden Co., Ltd., is the originator of the CD-R, when Philips and Sony were developing the technology in the mid-1980's. They were the first and are, apparently, still the best. Taiyo Yuden discs are available under the Taiyo Yuden brand, as well as rebranded for other companies. Also, because of Taiyo Yuden's reputation, there are counterfeits on the market, most of which embed the Taiyo Yuden code on the disc, so your burner improperly uses Taiyo Yuden parameters during the recording process, resulting in high error rates, even if the recording appears to be successful. There are a few sellers that guarantee that their Taiyo Yuden brand discs are genuine. You pay more for them, but it may be worth it for data you want to store for ten years, or longer. I've been using the genuine CD-R discs for a few years now to archive photos and audio recordings of family members, and storing them in low humidity and moderate temperature, but it's too early to tell if I'll be able to retrieve them after ten years. Floppy disc magnetic data evaporate after a while, and the mechanical and electronic components of hard drives fail from aging effects in 5-10 years, so I don't consider either of them viable as archival storage. What's left? Punched Mylar tape for data, vinyl LP records for audio and silver halide images on acid-free paper or glass plates for photos. Seriously, it looks like we are making rapid strides backwards in our quest to preserve history.
0 Agree

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