Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm wondering what should I do to read old DVD-R disk written 3-10 years ago.

I have to put my old data archive to a hard disk. I've tried several DVD-drives, but none of them helped me with this task. They can't see any data and treat my DVD disks as a blank ones.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Xavierjazz, Karan, KronoS, TFM, 8088 Apr 8 '13 at 1:33

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
Shopping recommendations are off-topic; read the FAQ. If you've actually tried something and are having problems you can ask about it here. –  Karan Apr 7 '13 at 17:02
    
I just need an advice for solving my task. I have already tried all the drives I have in my notebooks, none of them works. –  Andre Apr 7 '13 at 17:25
    
Then try other drives, especially new ones. There's no guarantee that a specific drive someone recommends for purchase will help any more than the ones you've already tried. –  Karan Apr 7 '13 at 17:28
    
Maybe the drives are fine and the discs are broken. Years ago I had two sets of CDs. One written with a plexwriter 412 on decent philips CD-Rs (back when the writer as 1000 guilders and the recordables 10 guilders each). After a decade I could still read most of them. The other set was made with both the cheapest possible media and written at max speed on a cheap IDE burner. Of the 30 CDs I recovered 2. -- Lesson learned here: CDs/DVD are NOT suitable for long term storage. –  Hennes Apr 7 '13 at 17:30
1  
@Hennes Yea, writable optical media typically use dyes that degrade over time. It depends on how they are stored, too; for example, they are especially susceptible to UV from the sun. There is a good chance media degraded in this fashion cannot be read by consumer drives. –  Bob Apr 7 '13 at 17:39

2 Answers 2

It is very unlikely any DVD drive will be able to read old DVD-Rs, because the problem is in the discs, not the drives. Recordable CDs and DVDs do not use metal film like the non-recordable discs you buy, they use an organic dye that degrades over time. If your DVDs are over 10 years old they have almost certainly lost any information they ever held. This problem with recordable disc technology has long been known, especially with the older Cyanine-based dyes, which would degrade after days of exposure to UV light.

It you want to test the recording quality of a disc, try the free CDSpeed 2000 program for Windows. This program will not recover lost data; nothing can.

share|improve this answer

Those disks don't last forever, if they are really as old as you say they might have indeed wiped out, specially if they were recorded in high speed and stored in poor conditions. To have a resilient media that will last for some good years, you must always record in the lowest speed supported by your recorder, because that ensures the data will be firmly studded in the plate.

As for reading, I don't know whats the speed of the DVD readers you are using, but readers with higher speeds are more sensitive to "weak recordings" and may be more efficient to rescue your data.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.