How to Repair a Corrupt DVD

by John Mack Freeman ; Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Sandpaper, 3000 grit

  • Buffing compound

  • Cloth

  • Data recovery software

Corrupt DVDs do not work in any DVD player or disc drive, rendering the DVD effectively useless. Most corrupt DVDs are caused by scratches in the bottom of the DVD where the data has been burned. Repairing the scratches can usually lead to a marked improvement in DVD performance and recovery of corrupt data. Through a combination of recovering data still available mixed with mechanically improving the quality of the disc, most DVDs can be salvaged to a certain extent.

How to Repair a Corrupted DVD

Recover as much data from the DVD as possible. Insert the DVD in a DVD drive on a computer and use a data recovery tool (many of which are available free on the Internet) to recover as much data from the DVD as possible. If the DVD is unable to be saved or becomes further corrupted in the cleaning process, these records will remain intact.

Clean the DVD of all visible debris with a soft cloth. Avoid paper towels and coarse fabrics as this may cause further damage to the DVD.

Rub the scratched side of the disc with the sandpaper. Rub in a back and forth fashion along a horizontal axis. Rub the sandpaper onto all of the scratches that are found on the back of the DVD. Avoid rubbing in a circular motion as this will further damage the disc. Remember, you are lightly scratching the surface with sandpaper to buff out scratches. Do not go overboard and further damage the disc. Patience and a light touch are key.

Apply the buffing compound to the scratched surface of the CD. Use enough of the buffing compound to cover the scratched or corrupted area. Since you're going to wipe it off anyway, it doesn't matter how liberal your drops are.

Shine the disc by rubbing a cloth back and forth across it, working the buffing compound into the disc. Repeat the buffing and shining process until the scratches disappear.

Test the disc in a reliable DVD player. If there is no improvement, recheck the disc for additional scratches. If more are found, repeat the process until the entire disc is clean.

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About the Author

John Mack Freeman began work in 2009 as a freelance writer with a focus on articles in health and wellness and contemporary arts and entertainment. He has been published through various websites, specializing in health care and craft-related topics. Freeman earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Shorter College.

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