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Long time ago, during the days I own my first computer in 2001, I heard that scratched CD/DVD can harm to the laser head of the DVD drives.

Is it true? Is it even true for today's DVD drives? I've bought my current DVD drive this July. Can I run scratched optical discs multiple times without causing harm to the drive's head?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

A CD laser head has a working distance of 2.1mm, the mechanism maintains this distance dynamically in order to keep the laser beam focussed on the reflective layer in the disk. Unless your scratched CD has scratches deeper than a millimetre or ploughed ridges greater than a millimetre it is unlikely that there will be physical contact.

My Kill Bill volume 1 is 1.2 mm thick, this is typical for optical disks. So I suspect it would be hard to gouge the disk sufficiently to cause problems and still have something that you'd have any reason to put into your DVD drive.

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