Posted by AAG-ArchivedMessages on Mar 10, 2011 in General Questions, Hardware/Peripherals, Miscellaneus | 2 comments
You’re at home spread on on the couch in the middle of your favorite Pixar movie and all of a sudden the playback freezes for a few moments and all of a sudden you get skipped to the next chapter. Before you spew off a few obscenities there are a few things you can do to make the DVD (or CD) playable again. Some ideas are cheaper than others and some can be done with supplies you already have at home. Before attempting any of the ideas in this answer, please consider the amount of scratched DVDs or CDs you already have and how much they are worth to you personally. If there are a lot of damaged discs you may want to skip right to the professional repair. If it turns out the movie was from DreamWorks instead of Pixar, maybe a cheaper solution from home will work best.
Before continuing let’s discuss what a scratch is and why it causes problems. In most situations the depth of the scratch does not play a role in the playback of the disc (unless it is a rather deep scratch). When a scratch occurs it rarely does so cleanly. Any pieces of the scratch left over can cause the laser to bounce back and cause all sorts of odd playback behavior. Simply cleaning a disc can sometimes remove the harmful leftovers of the scratch. Idea 4 (below) removes scratches by sanding down the DVD or CD so the laser can clearly read what it’s supposed to. It is quite possible for a CD or DVD to have hundreds of little scratches and still play as if it were brand new if each of the scratches were clean. The moral of this story is to make sure a disc isn’t playing before trying to fix it. Just because it is all scratched up doesn’t mean it’s not going to work. Scratches can be okay!
Idea 1: Clean the disc
Before assuming the DVD or CD is actually scratched enough to impact playback, turn it over and clean it. Everyone has their opinion on what you should or shouldn’t use on the back of discs to clean them. Some say a lint free cloth dipped in warm water is best, some say alcohol pads are the way to go, and others may tell you not to use any liquid on them at all. No one is more right than the other, just use whatever you feel most comfortable with or whatever you have laying around. My personal preference is using alcohol pads designed for monitors and LCD screens but mostly because they are always around and handy.
When cleaning the disc don’t wipe the disc while spinning it in your hand. Say it with me- wiping down the tracks of the disc is BAD. B-A-D bad. Don’t do it. Start in the middle of the disc (as close to the hole as possible) and wipe outwards in a straight line. After each wipe, turn the disc and do another spot until everything is clean. It is safe to go over the spot more than once if it is necessary.
After the disc is clean and dry put it back in the disc player and see if it fixed the problem.
Idea 2: Toothpaste isn’t just for toothbrushes anymore
This is a solution that people played around with a good number of years ago and since then has been mostly forgotten. Go to your bathroom and find a tube of toothpaste- it really doesn’t matter which one you use. Just don’t get the bright idea that using toothpaste with whitening will enhance the DVD or CD!
The idea here is to apply toothpaste directly to the disc and with your fingers you push it in the scratches as much as you can. Then, with your fingers you smear it all around the scratched area. Remember not to go in circles! You still need to start from the inside and move outwards to prevent damaging the disc further. Once you’ve saturated the scratches enough, then take any noted cleaner above (cloth, alcohol pads, etc) and clean the entire disc. Remove as much of the toothpaste residue as possible.
Idea 3: Hunt down a scratch repair kit
DVD and CD scratch repair kits have been around for over 10 years. For quite some time they were the only real fix you could do at home short of using toothpaste but now this isn’t very commonly used. The kit usually comes with a liquid and some sort of pad. Be sure to follow the directions as every one of them is different,
The nice thing about the DVD scratch repair kits are their price. Typically they are available for under $10 at your local BestBuy or Walmart. You can even find a variety of them on Amazon (see http://www.amazon.com/Maxell-CD-ROM-Scr.tch-Repair-Kit/dp/B000 00J1E6/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1299252806&sr=8-14). The not-so-nice thing about these kits is they don’t work all that well. If you search for other DVD scratch repair kits on Amazon.com you’ll see plenty of reviews saying the product didn’t work and their CDs or DVDs still won’t play. It’s a cheap “fix” and if it works, great! But don’t count on it. It may be worth a shot if you are desperate and don’t want to spend major bucks on equipment.
Idea 4: The granddaddy fix of DVD and CD scratches
If all else fails or you have many CDs or DVDs you’d like to fix, then you should consider purchasing a real scratch repair system. They are a bit more expensive than the other options but it this is the first suggestion that actually repairs the disc. The scratch repair systems will resurface the disc by shaving off layers of the surface. There is only so many times this type of system can repair a particular disc, however, as there is only so many layers on the disc.
To show you an example of one of this granddaddy DVD and CD scratch repair systems please visit Amazon @ http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Innovations-10185-Motorized-Auto Max/dp/B00080YK9Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1299262366&sr=8-2. I chose this particular product because it is not one of the pricier systems but it has one of the highest reviews. A lot of people have nice things to say about this system.
In summary, there are many ways and products to help repair a scratched disc. Some you can do at home, some you have to purchase. In some situations it may be worth it to just grab the scratch repair system and keep it on hand for all future repairs.
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I've used toothpaste a couple times, and it usually gets the job done. If you are using this method, make sure you use paste toothpaste, and not gel! The gel does not have the abrasive required to refinish the disk. Another great method is to polish the disk with Vaseline or Brasso. Polishing is only temporary, so make sure you make a copy of your disk as soon as it's readable!
Source: How to Fix a Scratched CD
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