How to recover damaged CDs / DVDs

Who I am
Martí Micolau
Author and references

I CD e DVD that we use every day for many reasons, due to external causes (scratches, falls, dirt, etc..) or carelessness and carelessness become unusable.

The most serious mistake is to throw away these CDs / DVDs without even trying to recover them and then reuse them. Often the non-reading of our CD player is due to scratches on the reading surface.

Let's see how we can recover un CD / DVD scratched or illegible:

  • Remove fingerprints, dust or grease stains with a detergent delicate (even alcohol) with soft fabric and clean very gently;
  • Take a slightly damp cloth and a toothpaste tube;
  • Put some toothpaste on the scratched part (in very small quantity);
  • Then rub with the damp cloth or cotton, trying to carry out the operation following the circumference of the CD (from the center outwards) and applying the right force;
  • Keep scrubbing until the scratch is almost gone Invisible (if the scratch remains evident, you can also try to rub it with Vaseline);
  • So clean up the CD surface with a soft microfiber cloth;
  • Try it!

Another widely used and very unorthodox method is to use a banana peel:

  • After cleaning the disc, simply rub the banana peel all over the surface.
  • Clean it with a damp cloth.

If the CD has no scratches:

  • Try putting it in yours freezeer o freezer for a few hours, then insert it immediately in your CD player, the low temperatures considerably reduce the size of the scratch.

If you can recover your data with the options listed above try the various software available:

To recover data and files from a damaged media the best free and available free program can be CD Recovery Toolbox.

Another software solution that you can try is Roadkil from Unstoppable Copier, it is a Toolbox-like software that is capable of recovering data from a damaged or scratched disk.

The good thing is that if file recovery takes too long, you can also pause, or save the session to resume work at another time.

If you are using Linux you can try the software Ddrescue which is a command line tool with numerous options.

However, here are useful and important tips in the various stages of recovery:

  • Recovery of a CD / DVD is best done from an thereburner player because it is much more accurate than a normal player and can see tracks better.
  • If possible, try recovery on the same unit that was used to create the disc, apparently the chances of a good CD / DVD reading increase if you use the same drive or brand of burner.
  • If you can't recover anything on your own, you can go to one as a last resort music store to show CD / DVD disc support.


These stores generally have much more powerful and advanced CD players that can better retrieve the contents of the disc.

  • In case you manage to recover the data from the disk, it is obviously advisable to immediately make a copy of the CD / DVD and throw away what was damaged.

These methods sometimes work and sometimes not, there is no insurance of course, I want to clarify that they are not bullshit otherwise I would never have written them.

Let me know the your experiences, and how you went about recovering your CDs / DVDs.

Also take a look at:

  • How to recover damaged CD / DVD movies
  • How to recover damaged music CDs
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