HOME Technology Nov 2007
Dealing with disks

Back-up your life

While hard disk storage is going through the roof in terms of capacity, most PCs and notebooks now come with DVD recorders and according to Statistics New Zealand our appetite for recordable media is insatiable.


About 45 million recordable DVD and CD units were imported in 2006; with 4.7Gb on a DVD and 700Mb on a CD, thatís one heck of a lot of data back-ups, home movies, photo disks or music compilations.


Not all disks are created equal but your best bet is to buy a brand that has a trusted market reputation.  How long disks last and how accurately they store your data has a lot to do with the user. For example if you want optimum results donít be in too much of a hurry to burn your data or make that compilation. If you burn at half or two thirds of the capability of your drive itís less likely youíll pick up errors along the way.

And double check to ensure the files are accessible and the music or movie does actually play back before storing them away in their cases. If you saved photos or important files to disk five years ago, set aside a day to re-copy them onto newer media just in case.


The way CDs and DVDs are handled can have a big impact on how long they last. Media manufacturer Verbatim recommends holding them by the outer edge to prevent fingerprints, grease or heat damage. Donít touch the surface of the disc. Donít bend the disc or use adhesive labels.

Keep discs in covers when not in use and store them in a cool, dry, dark place. Avoid exposing disks to extreme heat, including sunlight or high humidity.  When labelling donít use a solvent based market or a fine marker that can scratch the label surface

When cleaning, remove dirt, dust or liquid with a soft cotton cloth using a straight sweep from the centre out to the edge. Do not clean in a circular motion or go around the disk. Use isopropyl alcohol if there are stubborn stains that need removing.


There are number of brands in the writable media market including Imation, TDK and Verbatim with prices ranging between 40-80 cents a disk depending on the brand and numbers on a spindle. Verbatim for example is selling a 50 pack of CDs for $25 and 100 pack for $45. DVDs are coming down in price, they used to be $3-$5 each, now they can be under a dollar. Blu-ray and HD-DVD recordable disks however still cost $20-$30 each


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