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I have a CD-R which has worked fine for a good while. All of a sudden, Windows can no longer read its data. It's not scratched, it's clean and Windows can detect the disk and usage of space on it.

But whenever I attempt to access the data stored:

  1. Explorer crashes
  2. Or after 5-10 mins of trying to read it, it opens up and just shows a desktop.ini file in Explorer.

This happens on multiple machines. Any ideas? Is there a way to recover the data?

For example - some sector by sector recovery software if any exist for CD's?

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Storing data on one CD that is important is not a good idea, always have backups for things like this! – Jeff F. Jun 29 '12 at 17:54
Please note that home burned optical media (CD-R, DVD+/-R, etc.) actually doesn't last all that long and will eventually become unreadable over time. How long have you had this disc? This is also why optical media should never be used for any archiving or long term backups, aside from surface physical defects such as scratches. – Bob Jun 29 '12 at 18:16
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If the disc doesn't work on any computer, then the problem is with the disc, not the computer.

Explorer could be crashing because its trying to read the data, but isn't able to. (Imagine a little boy jumping, trying to reach a cookie, but is just a smidgen to short.)

Even if you don't think the CD is scratched or damaged, it must be, that is why your having these problems.

Does Explorer crash on every computer, or just yours?

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As a quick try, you can copy all the files to your hard disk opening the command window (like DOS), CDing to your CD and using copy *.* c:\somewhere from command line. Sometimes this had worked for me in the past (long time ago with floppy disks!!! usually but also with CDs).

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