RE: Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?

Subject: RE: Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?
From: "Jon Konrath" <Jon -at- datasynapse -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 10:58:03 -0500

It depends on the type of dye and the reflective layer. Cheapies use
cyanine dye (bluish-green) which isn't stable; better discs use
Phthalocyanine dye (deeper blue) which is pretty stable. The reflective
surface varies from real gold to fake silvery color with some combos in
between, with the actual gold being corrosion-resistant.

Temperature also has plays a big role in degredation. Don't expect
CD-Rs in your car to last as long as those archived in a cool, dry
place. And CD-RWs are basically useless for long-term storage.

Even if writable CDs or DVDs lasted a thousand years, I think the big
problem is that in ten years, you might have trouble finding hardware to
read them. I have a whole stack of 5.25" floppies in my office and
absolutely no way of reading them, and that was only about 15 years ago.
After a few rounds of Blu-Ray/HD-DVD/whatever upgrades, you might end up
with a stack of DVD backups and no computer that can read them.

My oldest CD-R is from early 1996, and as of a few months ago, it still
worked. It did have an ancient Stuffit archive that required some work
to crack open though, since it was like five versions old.


Jon Konrath, Technical Writer
DataSynapse, Inc.
jon -at- datasynapse -dot- com
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