As your CD and DVD collection grows, there are two important problems you face – do your CDs and DVDs still work? What can you do when a CD or DVD starts to have problems? These are crucial questions since the discs are used to store valuable files like email, home movies, photographs, business/tax records and music. The solution is to use a free program like CDCheck. It can scan most CDs in a few minutes to tell you if the data is OK – this way, you don’t have to find out the hard way that there is a problem. Plus you can use the time it takes for a scan to complete as indicator of the CD or DVDs overall health – even though files may not be recorded as damaged, slower results normally indicate a CD that is on the way out (expect longer times if there are more files on the CD).
If a CD or DVD is showing files with damage or you can no longer read a file in a drive, CDCheck can be switched to recovery mode and make a full sweep of the CD or DVD, recovering lost files along the way. When parts of a file can’t be fully recovered, the program will still recover any salvageable fragments. Many file formats such as Zip, TIFF and JPEG can still be used if incomplete (success of this technique varies, depending on the damage). Most zip tools have a ‘repair archive’ function, and a standard graphics editor can help repair damage to photographs caused by missing fragments.
Since CDCheck is freeware (free for personal use) and a small download, it is worth getting a copy and occasionally using it on your CD or DVD collection. Note: the authors state that you should request a free license from CDCheck online (you must register as a CDCheck online user, activate your account, login to CDCheck online and request free license).