Over the years i have archived lots of information to CD or DVD discs but never really did more than verify that the disks manifest was readable by my OS. Now as i go back and look at these disks i find that i get errors or the system hangs when i try to move the data from backup to disk. I have experienced this both on windows and OSX.

Here is what i am looking for:

  • Mac or Windows based software that is free or relatively inexpensive that will allow me to recover information from bad CD's or DVD's to a hard drive disk.
  • Tips on backing up data to trying to recover bad data.

Note that all the disks files list properly with out any errors. Most disks are just like new others have small circular scratches from sitting in a spindle and spinning during its many transports from college to apartments to the new house.

4 Answers 4


Look at

I will warn you, however, that just because you're able to list files on a CD does not mean you will be able to read the actual files.

  • @Matias: I understand that some of the data may be lost for good that's the chance i was trying to avoid when i backed them up.It looks like i needed better burning software or disks back in the day. Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 18:12

I've often seen that it really depends on the kind of cd/dvd drive you're using, each drive has a different sensitivity.

There is a cool program which is called ISOPuzzle which I've used to create a iso image from a scratched dvd. The cool thing is that it tries to "fix" the errors using two techniques:

  1. Try to read the sector from a different starting point (such as SpinRite)
  2. And the really cool part, you can resume your reading on a different computer, this will increase the chances of getting a clean image because maybe the other reader has different part of the cd/dvd which it can read well.

You didn't mention whether or not your disks are scratched. If they are, that interferes with reading the disk.

Some video game stores have hardware that allows polishing the scratches - although you should follow the instructions exactly as misuse can damage the disk further. Some people found a way to polish the disk using toothpaste or a banana. There's also professional repair services as well.

  • @Raymond: Ill have to look into that toothpaste or banana thing... sounds odd. All in all if the disk is gone its gone. there was some college projects that i wanted to recover and continue working on now that i have been in the field a few years. If there lost i can rebuild it from scratch it will jsut take me longer. Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 18:18
  • Banana/toothpaste is actually a makeshift way of doing it. As such, go for the scratch remover device. Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 19:49

Try CD Recovery Tool. It is free for Windows. I tried Unstoppable Copier by RoadKil, but my DVD drive failed to recover past 333MB of the DVD file. The CD Recovery Tool is currently on 592MB and hopefully will finish to 1,000MB.

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