I have so far tried the following software solutions without success.

  • Windows Explorer Copy (default)
  • TeraCopy
  • Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier

Unstoppable Copier stops copying as a whole, it keeps continuing the same file after 20 minutes, despite any settings. I have spent much time Googling, but the one program ("Unstoppable Copier") that people recommended, did not to the trick as it keeps choking on the same file despite a setting of "Fasteset Data Recovery", "Maximum Retries 0" and "Undamaged Files First".

The back side of the DVD has some scratches. What options do I have? I have access to both Ubuntu and Windows 7.

  • In the UK at least, some shops that sell CD/DVD's etc. have machines that can polish the discs to remove scratches. They work by removing a thin layer of the plastic on the side that contains the data. It probably won't make much difference for very heavy scratches though.
    – James P
    Nov 21, 2012 at 15:32
  • Is this a manufactured DVD or a burned disc?
    – Keltari
    Feb 15, 2013 at 2:13
  • @Keltari: What would you do differently with those? Till now I've always treated them almost the same when it comes to polishing/resurfacing (just took a little more care with the latter). Was that wrong?
    – Karan
    Feb 15, 2013 at 2:22
  • The difference is where the scratches are. Burned disks can be ground down more than manufactured disks if necessary (see me answer below), because the pits are burned into the underside of the surface layer. If the scratches are on the surface layer of the burned disc, then you are out of luck.
    – Keltari
    Feb 15, 2013 at 2:47

5 Answers 5


I've had good results with IsoBuster when nothing else worked on an important disc (Roadkil worked with an HDD but not for this disc unfortunately):


The Pro version's not free but you can click the "Free Functionality" button when prompted during install and see if it suffices.

I also highly recommend you try accessing the disc with multiple drives, especially from different manufacturers (but the drives should have similar capabilities, i.e. don't use DVD+RW and DVD-RW drives since they might see different track layouts on the same disc). The reason for this is that some drives will often be better than others at reading all or different parts of the same damaged disc. The age of a drive and the amount of usage it has seen obviously also matters in how well the read laser can perform, especially with R/RW discs burnt using a writer (as compared to commercially stamped discs).

IsoBuster allows you to create so-called managed image files (.IBP + .IBQs) and "fill in the blanks" if a different drive can read sections of the disc that yours could not. Once all the blanks are filled, the user or audio/video or raw data can be extracted from the managed image in various formats, including plain files/folders (when relevant), ISO/BIN+CUE images etc.

As a last resort after you've attempted filling in the blanks using multiple drives, follow the various tutorials on the net and polish your discs carefully (and never in a circular manner!) using toothpaste or Brasso, or get them "resurfaced" at a shop that offers this service. Once you've done this, you can try filling in the blanks once more and hope the final missing bits can be retrieved successfully.

  • 4
    Wow, excellent answer that lays out a method that is categorically better than most others mentioned in these situations. Thanks a lot for the tip. Apr 28, 2015 at 7:24
  • 1
    Thank you so much, I managed to recover some old family photos with this! Also wanted to add that the free version of IsoBuster does have the crucial feature of being able to fill in the gaps of missing sectors, so that I could get 90% of the disc on one device, and the sectors that didn't read I managed to recover on another device, but because Isobuster knew which sectors were missing, it recovered those straight away and it worked perfectly.
    – nmu
    Jan 21, 2020 at 17:58
  • The "Extract Raw but convert to User Data (only supported on CD)" feature worked perfectly for me. Files that refused to copy or stalled the entire process with conventional tools like xcopy and robocopy were copied all correctly as far as I can tell. Many jpg files, which would definitely show scrambling at the bottom of the image, and all look great at a glance.
    – Allen J
    May 11, 2020 at 0:14
  • I've tried the IsoBuster. The same result as for the robocopy, xcopy or cmd.exe copy command. May be at begining it seems faster than others, but not in critical case. All has had stuck on copy the same corrupted files. Windows 8.
    – Andry
    Oct 18, 2020 at 15:34

I've had success with a Windows program called Copy It Anyway.

I was given a CD with a single video of ~500MBs that was very important to the owner. The CD had 5-6 holes in it ranging in diameter from 0.4mm to 2mm (chipped away from the backside). When I saw it I didn't think there was any chance, but after 30 minutes, this program had copied the entire video. It did report lots of errors and parts of the video were missing (stuck picture, no sound). I had to re-edit the video to remove the empty minutes, but I managed to salvage about 80% of the material.

I've also used Copy It Anyway with near dead hard disk drives and it worked well.

Don't expect any software to magically recreate lost data. If your CD has holes, that data is gone, and nothing will bring it back. But you might be able to recover parts of your files with this software.

  • 1
    Worked for me. Note that you need to run the program as administrator.
    – Faraz
    Dec 30, 2014 at 20:06

I have used the SkipDr in the past. It uses an abrasive to wear the surface of the disk down so that the scratches arent as deep. It then polishes the surface so the laser can focus on the pits more easily.

  • Looked into such devices previously, but never bought one. I guess it's worth it if one doesn't have lots of scratched discs, especially since it seems to be capable of repairing only 25 discs? Is that because the "rejuvenating fluid" runs out, or because the mechanism that shaves the plastic gets worn out?
    – Karan
    Feb 15, 2013 at 2:19
  • It only comes with a small bottle of the fluid. Im sure you can buy replacement fluid. I bought it for an emergency - I had to get data off a disc - and it worked like a charm.
    – Keltari
    Feb 15, 2013 at 2:43

TECHNIQUES ARE FOR THE BOTTOM (clear side or side that is not labeled) OF YOUR DISC ONLY. What you will need:

  • CD/DVD Cleaner Disc.
  • Alcohol and/or Window Cleaner.
  • Soft Tissue AND Paper Towel.
  • Brasso brand metal polish.
  • More than 1 very good disc recovery (not hard disk--media) program downloaded on your PC. If you require audio .cda file recovery (can be different from any other type of recovery), make sure that your program can do that.

With those:

  1. First, clean your drive with a cd/dvd cleaner.
  2. Clean your disc with alcohol and/or window cleaner and SOFT tissue to make sure the disc is clean and free of removable dirt, marks, and grime. It is PARAMOUNT that you clean the disc before you proceed. Make sure the disc is dry and clean.
  3. Now, pour a dime-sized amount of Brasso brand metal polish onto your disc and LIGHTLY massage/cover (using paper towel this time) until your disc looks like the bottom of your disc is evenly covered in tan grease.
  4. Now, with the paper towel, firmly wipe your disc from the center outward (never in a circular motion!) until there is no residue remaining.
  5. Once you have read and done everything above, then try to run your disc in a recovery program again. Don't give up on Roadkil just yet.
  6. If one doesn't work, try another program. Repeat steps 3 - 6 up to twice more if needed.

Using Brasso, I have taken a very, very bad DVD that was so scratched that it was not completely playable and whole scenes were lost in a standalone DVD player (it plays DVDs better than Drives). It played in a standalone DVD player almost perfectly without any other aid or need of recovery. Imagine the potential of Brasso and a recovery program being used together. I have used an entire can of Brasso on discs.


I find that robocopy has pretty good error handling so you could try:

robocopy DVD_Drive:\ LOCAL_Drive:\SOMEPATH /E /W:5 /R:1 

This translates to

Copy all files from DVD_Drive:\ to LOCAL_Drive:\SOMEPATH including subdirectories even when empty (/E), Wait 5 seconds (/W:5) and Retry once (/R:1).

But it might be an issue that the DVD can't be read at all after a certain track is read.

You might have to try the toothpaste trick to remove some of the scratches. Scratches from the center out are less problematic than scratches that cover the DVD tracks.


Good luck.

  • 2
    I have tried the toothpaste, it did not work. I have also tried the robocopy, with or without a /W:1 the same issue. It keeps stuck on each corrupt file for 5 minutes after going to the next with a "Data Error: Cyclic Redundancy Check". Screenshots: i.imgur.com/ijTD6.png i.imgur.com/4VkCE.png
    – ujjain
    Nov 21, 2012 at 20:58
  • @ujjain you could try adding the parameters /XJD and /XJF to exclude junction points for files and direcctories. Might help if the CRC is a result of a recursive directory on your DVD
    – John K. N.
    Nov 22, 2012 at 7:10
  • 1
    robocopy is rubbish for this, here is an example of robocopy failing , fails because of a CRC pastebin.com/raw/1Uw0Hzzp "Data error (cyclic redundancy check)." It stopped at about 70%, so, before 100% As you can see from the link I gave.
    – barlop
    Jul 23, 2016 at 17:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .