Exploding CDs? Its a fact..

Don't laugh - it has happened! I found this on my travels while reading w e b f r o t. It could happen to you!

There have recently been a few reports of CDs disintegrating in high-speed drives, to alarming effect. Some manufacturers of CD-ROM drives (including Viglen) have warned that CDs with small cracks may indeed become dangerous, especially when used at speeds of 48x or greater. The risk seems to vary with the make of CD-ROM drive, and has been described as exceptionally small; however, Edinburgh University have reported that one of their users has experienced the front of his CD-ROM drive being blown off by a disintegrating CD.

Now that they are aware of the problem, CD-ROM drive manufacturers are already taking steps to reduce the likelihood of disintegration (by detecting excessive vibration) and to limit the resultant damage if it does occur (by strengthening appropriate parts of their equipment).

Our current advice to users is as follows:

  • If you have a high-speed CD reader (48x or above) take particular care:

    some drives come with software that gives you the option of reducing the maximum speed and therefore the risk.

  • Look after your CDs:

    to avoid mechanical or heat stress, store them in their protective packaging, and do not leave them in the computer or lying in sunlight.

  • Check every disk on each occasion before using it:

    whether it is a CD or CD-R or CD-RW, look for any sort of crack or damage, especially around the inside and outside edges.

  • Don't use a cracked or damaged CD:

    if you find a defective CD, throw it away! Do not risk using it.

  • CD drives on Macs are not affected by this problem:

    they have a maximum read speed of 32x

  • DVD drives (used more recently in both PCs and Macs):

    there is no evidence so far that these present a problem.

Source: University of St Andrews

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