No one knows for sure how much your disks will last. But one thing for sure, if you really wish to protect the data stored inside the CDs or DVDs then you need to make sure that the storage devices are handled with care and stored properly.
On average, some says most CDs and DVDs will last 30 years or more if handled with care, but many factors can slash their longevity.
Here is the list of guide on how to store CDs and DVDs for longer term, based on personal experiences, and also advice given by the folks at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, who sliced and burned CDs and DVDs to learn the best ways to protect the storage devices.
- Don’t write on discs with anything sharply pointed, like a pen, pencil or fine-tipped marker.
- Stand them upright in their cases like books. Don’t store them flat for years at a time.
- Discs last longest when stored in plastic cases in a cool, dark, dry environment. Keeping them on a room temperature (250C), without extensive temperature variations would be the best.
- Don’t expose them to direct sunlight or any heat source. Indeed, any rapid significant change in temperature or humidity can stress the materials.
- The place should be dry. If you sense any moisture, you can use silica gel bags (usually found in agriculture supplies stores) to collect moisture.
- Fingerprints and smudges frequently do more harm than scratches. A good practice is to always handle CDs and DVS by the outer edge or the center hole.
- Clean smudges and spills off discs by wiping them with a soft cotton cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol or special CD or DVD cleaning detergent. Never wipe in a circle around the disc. Always wipe in a straight line from the center of the disc toward the outer edge.
Reference: NIST techbeat