Compact Discs (CDs) are a convenient and inexpensive way to store music, photos, data and other media. They're also very durable, but accidents can and do occur, leading to a cracked CD. Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently repair a CD. Once it's broken, the CD cannot be restored to its original condition and the CD will be at risk of fracturing completely due to the high speed at which the CD spins in the CD player. This can permanently damage the CD player as well. But in many cases, it is possible to repair a cracked CD so that the data can be retrieved and burned onto a new disc, though there is a risk that the CD player will be irreparably damaged. The more significant the crack, the higher the risk the CD will break apart in the CD player. So it's vital that one proceeds with caution when repairing and using a cracked CD.
Gently flatten the CD and align the edges of the crack. Sometimes, when the CD cracks, the edges at the fracture will move up or down slightly. Do this slowly to avoid fracturing the CD further.
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Place the CD on a paper towel, shiny side down, atop a flat surface like a table or counter.
Retrieve a circular CD-shaped adhesive label and remove the backing to expose the adhesive side of the label.
Double check that the two edges of the cracked are still properly aligned before applying the label.
Apply the CD-shaped adhesive label to the non-shiny side of the cracked CD, smoothing it onto the CD as it's applied to prevent air bubbles.
Rub the label at the point where the crack is located to ensure good adhesion to the CD at this location.
Apply CD scratch remover to the shiny side of the CD by applying the compound onto a paper towel and using a circular motion to apply the scratch remover to the CD. There will be some loss of data at the point of the crack, but scratch remover can help to lessen the data loss by creating a smoother surface that's more easily read by the "eye" in the CD player.
Use a lint-free buffer cloth to polish the CD also using a circular motion. This will remove excess scratch remover from the shiny side of the CD.
Things You'll Need
Circular CD-Shaped CD label
CD scratch remover
Lint-Free buffing cloth
Flat surface like a table or counter
If a CD-shaped label is not available, clear packing tape can be used instead. But a piece of tape of the exact same size must be placed on the other side of the CD (i.e., if you place a piece of tape on the right side of the CD, a piece of tape of the same size should be placed on the left side of the CD as well). This will improve its balance inside the CD player and reduce its chances of fracturing.
Even after repairs, there is a good chance that the cracked CD will fracture and permanently damage the CD player. Once the cracked CD is repaired, attempt to retrieve the data and burn it onto a new blank CD. Do not try to use home remedies like toothpaste in place of CD scratch remover. Toothpaste may work with minor scratches, but the damage associated with a crack requires a heavy-duty scratch remover.