How to Recover a Broken CD

Written by brenda priddy
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How to Recover a Broken CD
If your CD looks like this, there is no hope of recovery. (Gallo Images/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A broken CD is nearly impossible to fix. If the CD is completely broken in two or more pieces, there is nothing you can do to repair the damage. However, if the CD has a couple of small cracks on the surface, or is just at the start of the breaking point, you can quickly but temporarily recover the damaged area -- hopefully long enough to transfer the data to a new CD. However, there is no way to permanently restore a broken CD to its original usefulness.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • CD cleaner
  • Soft cloths
  • CD scratch repair liquid
  • Adhesive CD labels

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  1. 1

    Clean the CD first to remove smaller scratches and dirt from the surface. Spray the underside of the CD with CD cleaner and use a soft cloth to wipe the surface clean. Work in straight motions from the centre of the disk outward. If you clean the CD in circular motions, you can damage the data stored on the disk.

  2. 2

    Spray some CD scratch-repair liquid over the surface of any deep scratches on the disk. Work the liquid into the crack with a soft cloth. Follow the directions for allowing the CD to dry before trying any additional repair methods. Usually you should let CDs dry between 10 minutes and an hour before using.

  3. 3

    Apply an adhesive CD label over the top, printed portion of the CD. Align the edges carefully with the edges of the CD and try to reduce the amount of wrinkles in the labels. The adhesive label will hold cracks in the CD together, so you can play the CD one last time to copy the information off of the disc.

  4. 4

    As soon as you repair the broken CD with tape, transfer the data to a new CD or hard drive. The disc can easily break inside the CD drive, breaking the drive and possibly injuring people standing near because the case may fly open and broken pieces of the CD can cut into unsuspecting victims.

  5. 5

    You can also repair the crack by placing a piece of clear packing tape over the top of the CD and trimming the edges of the tape so that the CD can still turn freely inside the drive. If you mess up the balance of the CD in the drive, it can break more easily, and it may not be able to read the disc.

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