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FAQ's and Tips for CD-R's and CD-RW's


Q: I can see the files on the CD but when I try to read or copy them I get an error message.  Can you recover this data?
A: Probably not.  That generally indicates corruption of the files.

Q: Can you recover data that was written by using a packet-writing program?
A: Yes.  If you have a newer CD writer, there is a very good chance it uses one of these packet-writing programs such as Adaptec DirectCD or CeQuadrat PacketCD. 

Q: What causes CD-R's and CD-RW's to become unreadable?
A: A common problem is for packet writing programs to render your CD-R or CD-RW disc unreadable because you opened your tray the wrong way, at the wrong time, or shut down your system without "finalizing" your disc.  Sometimes the disc may have an unreadable format due to the CD-Writer drive temporarily stalling while you are writing a file to the disc, creating a "buffer underrun." 

Another way that a CD can become unreadable is if the CD becomes full before the copy is complete.  With certain formats, the last piece of information that is written to the disc after the copy process is the defaulting information.  defaulting information is like a Table of Contents that allows the CD-Reader software to locate each piece of data on the disc.  Even though there is data on your CD, without the defaulting information, the data can no longer be accessed. 

There are tips to help you burn trouble free copies at the bottom half of this page.


Q: If you are successful in recovering my data and I want it immediately, will you ship it back to me using an overnight delivery service if I ask for this service?
A: Yes, but we will charge you what it cost us for the shipping.  We do not charge any shipping costs for CD’s that we return via Priority Mail.

Q: I just got an estimate of $350.00 to have the data on my CD recovered and you advertise being able to do it for $89.00.  What’s the difference between these services?
A: 261.00 dollars.   smiley_md_clr.gif (4784 bytes)

Q: I need to have a couple of files recovered and I need them in my possession as soon as possible.  Can you e-mail them to me after you recover them?
A: E-mailing just a file or two back to you is generally no problem.  We can e-mail recovered data that is under 8MB by using regular e-mail in most cases.

Q: How should I package the CD before sending?
A: Just put your CD in a Jewel case and then put the Jewel case in a padded shipping envelope.  The Jewel case is the common plastic case that most CD's come in.   The padded shipping envelope can be bought at any office supply store or at the Post Office.  For extra safety, some people tape bubblewrap around the Jewel case before putting it in the shipping envelope, especially when using an overnight shipping service whose packaging is not padded.




Do not stack folders more than 8 deep (folders inside of folders).  You can have as many folders as you like, but keep them 8 deep or less.  Some programs such as Easy CD Creator become unreliable when recording data to CD's that have folders over 8 deep.


Use CD-R's.  They are now relatively dirt cheap and appear to be more reliable that CD-RW's.  Plus, they are much more likely to be recoverable if a problem occurs.


Leave enough disc space to finalize your disc.  Don't completely fill up the disc and then expect to be able to finalize it with no room left on the disc.  You won't be able to read the data on the disc if the Table of Contents (TOC) cannot be written in its entirety to your CD disc. 


Shut down all other programs that are running before attempting to make your recording.  That will help your computer's system resources stay up to an optimal level.  Make sure the hard drive's "sleep mode" doesn't come on while you are burning the CD.


Do not try to multi-task with your computer while you are burning a CD.   Only burn the CD.  Use no other program while the CD is being recorded.   If the temptation to do something else while the CD is being recorded is too great, just walk away from the computer.  J


Do your lengthy recordings after a fairly fresh boot.  Why take chances?


Do not record in a compression mode.  This mode is unrecoverable.


Do not record a session in the UDF format and then add a session in the Joliet format or visa-versa.   Keep all the formats the same throughout the CD.


Do not use different recording software versions on the same CD.  Stick with one.  If in doubt, always get another CD to use.  They are cheap!


Don't label the top surface of the CD with a ball-point pen.  The top part holds the information.  The data is read by looking upward from the bottom of the CD.   Data that is removed from the CD because of heavy gouging is, of course, unrecoverable. 


Do not use the "cut and paste", you might encounter a problem.  Instead, use the "copy and paste".  Then when everything checks out OK you can go back and delete.  It is one more step but "better safe than sorry". 


If you are dragging and dropping, always drag with the right click button instead of the left.   Using the left click drag and drop leaves no room for error.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Give yourself the option of correcting the mistake before it's too late.   If you use the right drag and drop, you will be given the drop down option box.  


Make sure the data on your newly burned CD is readable before you destroy or delete its source.


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