Monthly Tech Tip

Monthly Tech Tip

Scratched DVD? Problem Solved

While a scratched DVD can cause an annoying interruption, it is often easily fixable. Most DVDs include redundant error-correction information that allows players to recover information lost in a scratch, as long as a scratch isn't too severe. Here are a few tips how to fix a scratched DVD:
  • Hold the disc up to a light source. If the light shines through the scratch, it is unlikely to be fixed. However, small surface scratches are worth a try.

  • Remember that scratches that run straight across the disc are easier to fix than circular scratches around the track.

  • Hold the DVD from the outside edges and wipe the surface of the disc with a lint free cloth or microfiber cloth from the inner rim in a straight line to the outside rim in a fluid motion. Wiping in a straight line (not circular) is important because the laser can skip over small scratches perpendicular to its tracking, but not a groove that is on its path.

  • If a dry cloth doesn't do the trick, try spraying with white vinegar, rinse under water, and dry.

  • Many people also recommend using car polish (such as Nu Finish car polish). Let the polish dry on the disc, and then polish until the disc shines.

  • If you don't have polish, you can even use plain toothpaste (not gel) by rubbing a thin layer all over the disc, then rinse off with water and buff across the radius.

  • Consider applying a coat of car wax to the disc after polishing and cleaning to protect the DVD and make it more scratch resistant in the future.

  • Remember that DVDs will not last forever, and the quality will degrade faster in hot or humid climates. Always store your DVDs in a climate-controlled, darkened, cool, and dry environment.

  • Lastly, keep in mind if you have a frequent skipping problem with your DVDs, the actual problem might be the player itself and it may be time to replace it.

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