The various forms of optical media that are used for recording data are basically divided into two categories, CDs or Compact Discs or DVDs or Digital Versatile Discs. These two main types of optical media can be further divided into subgroups which are CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW. The symbol R stands for the CDs and the DVDs that can be used only once for recording and multiple times for reading the data recorded on it. On the other hand, the symbols RW stands for the features of the CDs and the DVDs that allows them to be used for multiple recordings and multiple reads.
Data recovery problems
The recording surfaces and the mechanical components of normal hard disks are sealed inside a hard metallic cover. The cover is hermetically sealed so that no moisture or dirt can enter inside it. It ensured that the integrity of the data and allows the disk to be used vigorously for recording and reading the data continuously. Unfortunately, the optical mediums do not have these protective features and are susceptible to the following factors that can render the optical data recovery very hard:
- Poor storage – All kinds of optical media are affected by temperature and moisture. Though the manufacturers claim that the data stored in the optical media can remain reliable for 100 years if stored properly, the reality is that most of the times you will find them strewn all over the place. The media can get bent out of shape, and the plastic layer can get damaged if the storage environment is not cool enough.
- Poor handling – The biggest problem with optical media is that the exposed surface of the recording area can get fingerprints, scratches or smears that can cause the data in the affected area to become unreadable. Moist environments can cause fungus to grow on the recording surface rendering the optical media unreadable.
- Poor recording – Another problem with an unreadable optical media is that the drive in which it was created failed to record properly or did not show up the error while verifying the recorded data. When you try to read the contents of this optical media after some time, there may arise a problem in reading the data. Recording or burning processes that get aborted or does not complete properly can cause the recorded data to become unreadable. A good media and correct recording speed are also important for a stable recording.
Recovering the data
Data recorded on optical media that have been affected by the above problems may be hard to recover as the recording surface may have got damaged by the time the fault is detected. There may be a large number of software applications available in the market for optical data recovery that claim to have the capability of recovering data from all kinds of optical media. But the fact is that most of the times the recovery software is run on the same machine where optical media was created. If the data is critical then taking it to a professional data recovery company is the only option. They will inspect the optical media for physical damage and mishandling problems first. If these are minor, then they will use sophisticated equipment to recover as much data as possible from the damaged optical media.