Storing data on CD/DVD

One of the things that I suspect many folks don't realize is that CDs and DVDs that you burn on your PC are not permanent media, particularly depending on what brand or type of media you use. Burnable CDs/DVDs (as opposed to professionally pressed media) use a dye layer that is "burned" by the laser to store data. That dye layer can degrade over time, resulting in data errors.

At present, I have nearly 20GB worth of digital photos, most of which are of my family, and very few of which have been printed. It would be devastating to lose those photos, so I've been thinking for a while about purchasing archival quality DVD media for storing digital photos, as well as data backups and digital video.

I did a bit of digging, and came up with this blog post that discusses some of the technical aspects of storing data on recordable CDs and DVDs, and which also makes some recommendations as to format and brand. Having not used the brand in question, I can't make any recommendation or endorsement, but figured it was worth sharing nonetheless. I may pick up a stack of the recommended brand and format and see how they work out. The good news for me is that I've already been using the format recommended (DVD+R) for most of my DVD burning. Having top-quality blank media will hopefully give me a little more peace of mind when it comes to precious memories and important data.

Do you have recommendations? Share them in the comments.

Comments (4)
  1. Garry Trinder says:

    1. External Hard disk

    2. External Hard disk at Parent’s house

    3. Online, maybe E3 or the possibly new Live service which might be introduced at Mix.

    4. Zooomr. They removed all limits, means you can upload however much you want. No limit on file size. Free. They offer an api. What more could you want? 😀

    You kick ass 🙂

  2. DEvHammer says:


    Thanks for the suggestions. I actually do have an external hard drive I use for many purposes, including backup. But having two copies of data on hard drives only means that there are two points of failure rather than a single one. It’s better than nothing (and I’m actually rather looking forward to setting up a Windows Home Server once we ship that, for easy RAID backup), but it’s not as permanent as I’d like.

    As for online, well that has the advantage of being offsite, so if my house burnt down (heaven forbid), there’d still be a copy. But it puts me at the mercy of someone else’s competence and/or business plan. Not sure either bodes well for storing data that’s really important to me.

    Ideally, I’d probably burn backups to quality media, then ship copies to some offsite location. Whether I’ll actually do that or not remains to be seen.

  3. Garry Trinder says:

    Brining up Home server is a good one. I think Home Server would be great for backup: Just put a box in a corner, install a couple of apps, and it’s automatically backed up and replicated to a couple of places across the globe! That rocks.

    Hope to get my hands dirty with that soon….

    But really, writing a small .NET Service which does all of this automatically and runs on a seperate server makes me feel sorta good!

  4. Garry Trinder says:

    Oh well, you just added to my feed overload 🙂

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content