Repair Scratched DVDs, CDs and Game Discs
By: Lance Carr
Given the multitude of advice and tips on repairing scratched DVDs available on the internet I though it might be a good idea to do a little "round up" of the various tips and techniques.
There are two important points to understand when either embarking on DVD scratch repair or contemplating any DVD disc repair. First, the majority of scratches on DVDs should not really affect the playability of the disc in question provided you are using reasonably good quality software to access the disc contents. In the majority of cases the real solution to any playback problems is the use of quality software that has built-in correction abilities.
Secondly, if you really are going to attempt to repair that scratched DVD then there is nothing strange, technical or mystical about the process. DVDs, CDs and Game Discs are made from a hard clear plastic called polycarbonate. The repair of scratched DVDs is nothing more than an exercise in polishing or re-surfacing a piece of polycarbonate plastic. So if you are feeling a little nervous about attempting it...relax!
As I mentioned before there are many, many methods touted about for removing scratches from discs but as an important note NONE of these apply to the new Blu-Ray discs. Blu-Ray utilises a different type of plastic to create the discs and any of the methods mentioned here will most certainly result in a destroyed Blu-Ray disc.
So what really is DVD scratch repair?
Actually is it simply a method of using various readily available products to polish a piece of plastic. The only difference in the various products recommended is the degree of abrasiveness each one offers.
To put it simply, if you have dirt, finger prints or some strange substance the kids got on the disc then you can use isopropyl alcohol or a weak solution of dish washing detergent. Rinse thoroughly and buff with a clean soft lint free cloth.
For light scuff marks or tiny scratches you can use toothpaste or furniture polish (like Pledge) in the immediate area of the scratch again making sure you clean the product off thoroughly then buff. For slightly deeper scratches you can persist with the toothpaste or go to the Brasso (Yes, Brasso!) or car polish. At this level of abrasiveness it is important to work the entire surface of the disc rather than just the scratch itself. This is to avoid creating a kind of "micro-valley" in the disc that may cause refraction (bending of light) of the laser beam as it passes through the plastic disc. The result of which may be disc read errors. Additionally use straight strokes from the center of the disc to the outer edge.
Finally if you feel like pulling out the big guns! Go to the hardware store and get some 3000 grit emery paper. This is the stuff they use to re-polish cars with. Use the paper to evenly score the entire disc until you feel you have taken the surface down to the level of the scratch. Then go back to the Brasso or car polish and buff until the shine of the disc returns. Donít worry! It will!
Of course the real point in of all of this is the idea of making backups of all your discs. Let's face it, kids happen and so does other stuff too! It is more than prudent to get yourself very good quality DVD copying software and make back ups of all your discs. These days discs are cheap, it is the contents that have value and in the case of family photos or videos, priceless.
For the purposes of backups it is important to understand that not all DVD copying software was created equal. Most DVD copying software will do just that...make an exact copy. DVDs, whether pressed commercially or made in a DVD burner will always have at least some degree of error. This is simply part of the process and not unusual. Playback software is designed to compensate for those errors and you, the viewer, notice nothing.
Ordinary DVD copying software will faithfully copy the existing errors on the disc and most likely add some of its own to your new copy when you burn it. That's why I only recommend three brands of DVD copying software. DVDFab, 1Click DVD and DVD ClonerV. The reason I use these is that they have built in error correction functions that repair most internal errors on the disc as well as having excellent "read through" capabilities on scratched or damaged discs.
That means I can make a "master" copy and no matter how many discs the kids destroy the quality of my discs never degrade.
Lance is not very good at writing about himself in the third person. He is an ex-patriot Australian living in Taiwan running a business consulting company. His grasp of the Chinese language ranges from poor to laughable and in most circumstances his actual use of the Chinese language results in laughter. The silent conversationless world in which Lance lives leaves him plenty of time to research things and that is what he does well. DVD Disc Repair
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