Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

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Verm3
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Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby Verm3 » April 23rd, 2019, 2:38 pm

Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby VideoGameCritic » April 23rd, 2019, 6:38 pm

For professional quality CDs and DVDs I don't think this is something you should even be concerned with. The concept that our commercial CDs are all rotting is a myth. I should know, right? As long as you keep your discs stored in reasonable conditions they will probably last a few hundred years, so make sure you save for retirement!

A few years back some girl wrote an article about how the discs she burned herself in the 1990's were no longer any good and had visible "holes". Well the technology used to burn your own discs in the 90's was NOT the same as mass-manufactured discs. Not even close! Still, the media didn't know any better and ran with the story. You'll notice you don't hear much about it anymore because most people have come to realize it was bogus.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby Retro STrife » April 23rd, 2019, 7:24 pm

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as VGC, that it is a not much real concern. I haven't ever seen disc rot - on professional discs or ones that I've burned. Unless you store a disc in unreasonable conditions (like in direct sunlight, or in very high temperatures) for very long periods, I don't feel that discs will damage. But if you want to be safe, just try to keep them in a good CD case and in reasonable temps.

That said, has anyone seen disc rot happen? Verm3, is this just a general concern, or do you ask because it's happened to you?

We were told the same thing about floppy disks in the 80s, and all of those seem to still work for me too. Is there any form of media that is actually at risk of just passively deteriorating over time? All of them seem to hold up well, that I can think of. Oddly enough, the digital games of modern day might actually be most at risk, because hard drives are more prone to early failure than discs and cartridges.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby VideoGameCritic » April 23rd, 2019, 8:12 pm

Good point about the floppies Retro!

I remember I was buying 5 1/4 floppies in a Babbages (if I recall) in the early 80s and asked the guy working there how long they would hold data for. He said about five years. Of course he was just pulling that number out of his ass. How would he know? Needless to say, I still play games on floppies and no problems so far.

I reminds me of the people who post stuff on the internet with absolutely certainty, even though it's clear they have no idea what they are talking about. I hate that.

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Stalvern
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby Stalvern » April 23rd, 2019, 8:58 pm

It's a real thing. Wikipedia has a picture of a horrendously affected CD that isn't a CD-R.

It all depends on the lacquer used to protect the aluminum layer from oxidation. If it's compromised, oxidation eats through the aluminum. I suppose that you could try spraying the top of the disk with some kind of clear coating to reinforce it, but I wouldn't know anything about the specifics.

I should point out that, while I'm not much of a game collector, I own hundreds of CDs, mostly produced in the '80s and '90s, and have seen this problem (a barely visible pinprick or two, nothing like the Wikipedia image) on a total of three disks. One of them still ripped perfectly in EAC, although the other two made it lock up. Maybe CD manufacturing standards were lower for games, but going by my own experience, I wouldn't worry too hard.

Edit: I found a reassuring commentator on the post in my first link. This might explain the CD that ripped without error.

dzikos80 wrote:Those tiny pin holes in the 90% of the cases are minor manufacturing defects that existed there since day one. A checksum with dedicated software will show no errors existing on those discs.

Collectors who go back and check their discs after reading horror stories and thereafter finding those tiny pin holes do not realize that these pin holes most probably have been existing on their discs forever since the manufacturing date. Many of my PC Engine CD games have a tiny pin hole somewhere. A checksum reveals no errors other than the sector 3440 copy protection error which is prevalent on the same sector for many different PC Engine CD disks that I tested. I also played through and completed one of those discs: CD Denjin- no lags, shutters, or loading issues. The hole was a tiny one, and will be the same tiny one in five years from now: I will come back here to report in 2022!

If a real disc rolthole is in existence then you do not need very strong light to see through the disc. Strong light sources will reveal imperfections which are due to the pressing procedure.

Discs end up playing worse and worse because our console lasers turn weaker and weaker in older systems. PC Engine CD lasers are notorious for breaking up.

dzikos80 wrote:Disc rot exists but it is often confused/miscommunicated as it being either
(i) the existence of pressing-procedure pinholes (these even exist on some ps3/wii u games) or
(ii) the label side scratch damage on cd's.

When checking some of my sega cd games with pinholes, I could see the scratch on that same spot on the label side. As a rule of thump, well taken care of discs are fine. Loose discs or heavily scratched discs have pin holes. Not because of scratches alone on the data side; But because scratches indicate careless handling in general and thus often a scratched label side too.

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Matchstick
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby Matchstick » April 23rd, 2019, 9:30 pm

Great topic! Have you run into this problem yourself, Verm3?

While I am in agreement with most on here that disc rot is something most of us won't have to worry about in our lifetime, the fact that we're even talking about it is a sign that CD technology is finally starting to show its age. In short, nothing lasts forever. However, by storing nearly anything in air-conditioned, ideal environments, I believe you are doing the best you can to preserve them for the long-term.

Thankfully, CDs aren't stamps, comic books, baseball cards, or any other sort of fragile paper media. Earlier CDs from the late 70s and early 80s, in particular, I believe will last for centuries. Most of what I've heard about disc rot falls in line with what has already been mentioned, with discs manufactured during the 90s. Of course, this applies to nearly every disc-based video game out there, so there may be some cause for concern for your Sega CD collection down the line, but as long as you do your part to store your media in ideal conditions, I don't think you'll have much to worry about.

On the subject of floppies and expiration dates, anybody remember what they said about video tapes, that they would only last about 20 years? I still have home movies from over 30 years ago that play just fine, although magnetic tape is much more prone to decay, over time, than the silver platter of a compact disc. Yeah, I know most of my tapes will degrade over my lifetime, but for as old as some of them are, I have been quite pleased with how they have held up over the years. Even some tapes that I watched over and over again during my childhood (ET! Raiders of the Lost Ark!) still play great to this day. Not going to say I've never experienced tape rot, as I had some cheap bootleg Godzilla tapes from years ago that displayed some funky colors and warped sound, but for the most part, every tape in my collection is still going strong, even those Kodak home movies from the 80s.

I've heard that the worst thing you can do to degrade the quality of a video tape over time is just to let it sit, and that it is good practice to play your tapes all the way through on occasion and rewind them back to the start. Hm... sounds like a fun little weekend project to me :geek:

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Stalvern
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby Stalvern » April 23rd, 2019, 9:38 pm

Matchstick wrote:Earlier CDs from the late 70s and early 80s, in particular, I believe will last for centuries. Most of what I've heard about disc rot falls in line with what has already been mentioned, with discs manufactured during the 90s.

The disks I've seen it on were from 1984, 1989, and 1997. CD "bronzing" is definitely more of a '90s thing, but it's a separate issue specific to one manufacturing plant.

(Also, there are no CDs from the late '70s. Commercial production began in 1982.)

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Matchstick
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby Matchstick » April 23rd, 2019, 10:53 pm

Stalvern wrote:(Also, there are no CDs from the late '70s. Commercial production began in 1982.)


Heh, reminds me of a casual argument I had with my father years ago. He insisted he bought a few CDs when they were "brand new" back when he was in college in the 70s, even though he hadn't yet bought a CD player at the time. When I questioned him on this (not that I was alive back then to fact check, or anything) he showed me the earliest CD in his collection, the debut album from Dire Straits, with a date stamp of 1978. It stood out to me at the time as the disc was very thick, much more so than CDs I was used to, and had no center ridge / raised ring area. It was simply silverish-gold, with a simple black silkscreen text, and flat all the way across. I took his word for it.

Was it produced at a later date? Based on what you said, probably. Wouldn't be the first time my old man stretched the truth a bit, but given all the drugs and heavy drinking he did in his younger years, I forgive him. But I always wondered why the disc didn't have two dates, one for the original production date of the original album and one for the later production date of the compact disc. I have cassette tapes like that, with multiple copyright dates. Do the same standards not apply to CDs?

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Retro STrife
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby Retro STrife » April 23rd, 2019, 11:35 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:Good point about the floppies Retro!

I remember I was buying 5 1/4 floppies in a Babbages (if I recall) in the early 80s and asked the guy working there how long they would hold data for. He said about five years. Of course he was just pulling that number out of his ass. How would he know? Needless to say, I still play games on floppies and no problems so far.


Right. It seems like every time a new form of media comes out, “experts” slap an arbitrary expiration date on it. Oh, CDs will go bad in 20 years, your floppies won’t work in 10 years, etc. That was especially common during the 80s and 90s it seemed. But how would anyone know when the media hasn’t even been around long enough to know? Of course, none of those estimates have ever turned out correct.

Verm3
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Re: Are there any ways of limiting disc rott?

Postby Verm3 » April 24th, 2019, 2:11 am

This is by far not the worst example I've seen. But I've noticed this sort of thing appearing on some of my discs.

https://imgur.com/a/GUzO8Fy

Edit: external link because for some reason I can't upload attachments of any size.

How can I limit it?
Last edited by Verm3 on April 24th, 2019, 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.


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