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I've been using CD's for archiving for at least 6 years. When I started, I
used an HP burner that worked at 2X. It still works. In fact, if a CD
won't read on another burner or CD drive, it may read on the old HP. This
doesn't surprise me, running slower would seem likely to be more robust.
But, as I try to access older CD's, I consistently find files that I can't
open - with any CD reader, even the HP. While CD's written by the HP are
likely to have fewer bad files, it seems that virtually all of the older
CD's have some files that are unreadable, or if read, can't be opened by
photoshop for one reason or another. It seems that the question isn't if I
am going to lose files, but how many on a given CD.
Now, I may be doing things that increase my chances of losing a file, or
even an entire CD, but I haven't been able to identify what I might be
doing. I pretty successfully avoid scratches, and beyond that, I keep the
CD's in books that have sleeves in them. They are stored at room
temperature which is never above 75 degrees, nor below 60 and the humidity
remains in a range around 40% - not a lot higher or lower.
I've always purchased the more expensive name brand CD's, even though I am
somewhat suspicious that on occasion what I got was no better than the no
name sold by Fry's out here. In talking to others, I hear the same stories
irrespective of brand of CD used.
CD's written by companies (that contain software, such as my Photoshop CD)
seem to do better, I rarely have any trouble, and on the rare occasion I do,
putting it in the old HP has always taken care of it. I've never had to
request a replacement CD and I don't back them up - I probably should.
I have been in the habit of making multiple backups, so I haven't lost
anything of value - yet.
I've been considering DVD's, but reading about the problems they many have,
they seem to be an even more fugitive medium.
Someone must have a solution, must have found way to reduce the losses. The
only way I can see to reduce my losses is to write everything on my old HP
burner and make multiple copies - perhaps 4 copies each. That seems a bit
much as it reduces the effective capacity of a CD to about 160 megabytes.
Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection
of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.
Henri Poincare --Science and Hypothesis
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