CDs are starting to rot -- here's how to preserve them

Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

It has been almost 35 years since Polygram, Sony and Philips executives gathered at a German factory to get their hands on the first Compact Disc.

Now, the first batch of CDs produced are starting to fall victim to what is known as “disc rot”.

Disk rot is what occurs when a CD or DVD suffers oxidisation on the reflective layer, a condition previously only seen in disks using faulty dyes or adhesives. But now we are starting to see the deterioration occur in your average well-made disks within 20 years, as reported by cdm.

It’s not like we can put a definitive timeline on how long CDs last though – the United States of America’s Library of Congress conducted a large-scale study in 2009 that showed some disks will be readable into the 28th Century.

The average lifespan of a CD came in at 776 years, but some come in at under 25 years – and those are the ones that are starting to fail, or “rot” now.

So how do you preserve the data? Put them in the fridge. The Library of Congress study concluded that 5 degrees C and 30 per cent relative humidity is the best condition to keep your CDs operational for at least 500 years.

Otherwise, start transferring your data – preferably to cloud storage – now.

This article first appeared at Gizmodo Australia. See the original here.

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