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How to throw away a DVD or CD disk but make the data unreadable

Posted on 2004-10-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I want to get rid of the hundreds of old media lying around my apartment.  With read-only media, is there an easy, non-toxic way to destroy the data or the ability of a player to read the disk?  Breaking it in half is not an option for me.
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Question by:cornell256
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Author Comment

by:cornell256
ID: 12333091
Clarification:  I am talking about DVD and CD media.  But any input about other media could be useful to folks.  Thanks.  (I will be awarding points specifically for the DVD and CD part of the question...)
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Accepted Solution

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RichieHindle earned 400 total points
ID: 12333098
Scratch the *top* of the CD or DVD.  The data is etched onto the underside of the label, rather than onto the underside of the disk itself.  (This is why you should never write on a CD using a ball-point pen 8-)
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Assisted Solution

by:LucF
LucF earned 100 total points
ID: 12333104
Hi cornell256,

How about: Burn/melt them? Also a microwave will do fine for this.
Data recovery companies will be able to recover data from scratched media, no matter how bad it's been scratched, but if you disform the disk itself they won't be able.

Greetings,

LucF
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Author Comment

by:cornell256
ID: 12333167
Scratching is an option that should work for me, if no other ideas arise.  I'm not worried about someone getting it from my trash and bringing it to a data recovery company, although I suppose I should be  :&)

If I could deform the disk, that would be best, but burning/melting is toxic so although I had heard about microwaving in the past, I don't want the fumes.

I would imagine putting a spot of glue on the data ring might be interesting.
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Expert Comment

by:LucF
ID: 12333216
>> I'm not worried about someone getting it from my trash and bringing it to a data recovery company<<
Just wondering why breaking is not an option then? Just wrap it in a cloth to protect yourself from extremely sharp pieces and break it.

LucF
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Author Comment

by:cornell256
ID: 12333262
Yes, it is the sharp pieces I want to stay away from.  It is a nuisance (small nuisance, but not non-zero) to protect from the debris!
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Author Comment

by:cornell256
ID: 12333268
However, putting it in a plastic trash bag, then breaking it with a cloth for protection, could work.  I think I remember reading about this sometime in the past (couldn't find anything in this forum).
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Author Comment

by:cornell256
ID: 12333373
Re scratching the top of the media, rather than the underside - I did not realize that.  If one looks at the underside of the disk, you see what I thought was a ring of data.  What is that ring, if not data?
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:RichieHindle
ID: 12333850
When you look at the underside of a CD, the silver you see is the underside of the label - you're looking through the transparent plastic of the disk.
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Author Comment

by:cornell256
ID: 12334256
Got it - thanks for the 'planation!
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