After I move, one of my first tasks will be addressing the potentially hundreds of CD-Rs and DVD-Rs I own at risk of disc rot. Most of the data is replaceable. This data is also all the result of backing up data from computers, so there isn’t much of a risk of actually losing any data for good. Even still, it will be good to make sure that these discs still work, and downsize somewhat.
I learned this phrase while studying computers, loosely translated as “everything passes, everything tires, everything breaks,” specifically in material related to data storage. Just because we’ve backed up something to some sort of storage medium doesn’t mean that it will remain pristine forever. As I’m packing boxes, I’m considering that I won’t be reopening the box for months at the minimum, so I’m doing things to make sure that they won’t needlessly fall apart.
I’ve avoided moving any boxes in the rain, for example.
I’ve also taped up all the corners so no creepy crawlies can get in and for better overall box strength. I’ve shrinkwrapped certain boxes that contain more sensitive materials like stuffed animals. This has taken more time than just running-and-gunning with the packing process, but considering that more honestly most of these contents will remain in these boxes for years, I might as well ensure that their homes aren’t at risk of any minorly preventable rot.
My CD-R/DVD-R storage haven’t been as kindly treated.
Even if between ensuring that I never kept the discs in an overly warm environment and keeping the discs in custom-made sleeves, I didn’t really pack them immaculately, and most I haven’t checked in over ten years. It’s possible that many of the discs have already rotted out due to the inherently lower quality of consumer-burned discs. If so, it would be a shame if I lost everything, but just like this moving process, I’ve kept some sanity checks for myself.
I’ve never been a fan of single points of failures.
Let’s say I have some family photos or something irreplaceable. When possible, I like having a copy on my main computer and on external storage, like these discs or hard drives. As I test my CD-Rs/DVD-Rs, I’ll back up everything to newer hard drives, and condense the discs down to maybe just spools and keep them as historical mementos. When I get to the point of having five copies of something, I’ll probably get rid of the clunkiest storage iteration: the discs.
Here’s my thought:
When it’s time to check over each disc, I’ll probably be fine with throwing out anything that’s rotted out. If this collection ends up taking up too much space, I’ll be fine with keeping a few of the highlights and getting rid of the rest. Just like any collection. Seen from this perspective, disc rot is a forced curation tool, where I’ll eventually have to digitize everything properly.
Until then, the data should be fine.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: An article on disc rot and deciding how to store this collection of CD-Rs/DVD-Rs long-term.|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.|
|Photo: My 2000s aesthetic.|
|Written On: February 7th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|