How to Erase Data on a DVD-R

Updated April 17, 2017

Data that has been burnt onto a DVD-R disc is permanently stored on that disc. Due to its unique characteristics (specifically the disc's dye), data cannot be erased on a computer, as with a DVD-RW disc. However, if you need data removed from a DVD-R disc, the only way to complete this task is to destroy the disc. This can be done by scratching the disc until it is no longer readable.

Take a screwdriver, or other similar sharp object, and scratch the top and bottom of the DVD-R thoroughly.

Test that the data has been erased by inserting into a DVD player or a DVD drive in a computer. If the disc plays, eject and scratch the disc again.

Continue to test in a DVD player or computer DVD drive until the disc is no longer playable. Discard the now useless disc.


To record data on a DVD disc that can be erased later, be sure to use a DVD-RW disc instead of a DVD-R disc.


Be careful when using a screwdriver or other sharp objects, as the possibility of slipping on the disc and stabbing yourself exists.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • DVD Player
  • Computer
  • DVD-R disc
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About the Author

Adam Johnson has been writing for online publications since 2008 and in his capacity as a Freedom of Information Act professional since 2002. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts in international commerce and policy from George Mason University.