How long do DVDs last

I heard some dvd’s ink layer degrades and after some time might result in a damaged disc is this true? if so how can you test a brand to know if you should back things up onto it, and then how long should u expect that to last? or is it a silly question and u should just buy the most expensive blank dvds?


Here are some interesting posts (and some that are off-topic). Kodak claims to have a 300 year DVD and some posters claim to only get several months before their media deteriorates.

Bottom Line: Buy quality media, store & handle carefully and it should last a long long time.

If it is important that you not loose it, make at least one backup and safely store.

Note: I forgot to paste the url and the servers seem to be slow but I ofund one that will get you started.

i thought maybe you could run some sort of analysis on the dvd, ive seen some posts where people put up some kind of graph thing i wondered if it was that.

Is burning onto an external hard drive more reliable for long term? im not sure how long they last.

batman3: The surest method would be both. But I would trust a hard drive over a DVD.
The new dvdram disks might be an alternative as they supposedly can be re-writable a 1000 times. Havent had the ram disks that long so really cant tell you much yet.

I think you’re asking about a scan which would show the quality of the burn and how likely you are to be satisifed with the results (is the burn a movie or is it data).

I was looking at the overall part of your question where you asked how long a DVD might last. With sunlight, poor handling, excessive moisture/heat and poor media to begin with, it’s lifespan is short. If it’s a backup of a movie, maybe you could life with it. If it’s family memories or data, you would want to be more careful but I think the DVDs should last many many years.

DVD’s will last forever as long as they don’t get too damaged, for example, if they are never used no harm will ever come to them

There is no clear proof of data to show this since the age of this technology is reletively new.

You might want to read this for some context:

TCAS just made the point.
All opinions, including the more serious “tests”, are based in simulated effect of time and archive conditions, that can diverge from real life events.
On top of that don’t forget about manufacturing quality and used materials - those can make a difference.
Keep in mind software changes and hardware availability to read old media - so you will need to change support well before you find the limits with the best media.
If you go for low market stuff, you risk to be at risk within months - and the same can happen just for a matter of bad luck.
So, as with backups, don’t trust just one copy of your files - keep at least 2 in dif locations - and at certain intervals, test your copies and even duplicate one of them. Do the same when you get a new media format as your normal one.
About HDDs - don’t forget they have mechanical parts and electronics that can fails due to usage or time of life - there must be a reason why the first question asked by any HDD testing software uses to be “is you HDD more than three years old?”.
So, if you use HDD as a long term archive media you need to take the same kind of precautions about it’s working status and eventual backups.

thanks guys, i just keep mine in the spindles they came in, i dont think they can get into much trouble lying in there i hope, just seems like i would like to have a back up way without having doubt in my mind i might lose some part of it, do we all share that doubt i bet?

It’s also worth considering that we probably won’t keep our important data on these DVD discs forever… I bet my computer in 20 years won’t even read DVDs. By the time a new, awesome high capacity standard is on everyone’s desktop, we’re probably going to be migrating our data to that. After all, how many of you are still using Zip disks or Jaz drives? Or 5 1/4 drives?

My thought is that as long as these DVD discs can store my data reliably for 10 years or so, that’s probably good enough. When the time comes that I can buy a spool of 100 GB BluRay (or whatever) discs cheaply, I’m tossing out these DVDs soon enough. :slight_smile:

Actually I still use Zip100 disks to backup the cash at the store :bigsmile:

. As the others have pointed out the are too many variables and down-right unknowns to make an accurate prediction, technology will make CDs/DVDs obsolete in 2-10 years, &c. If burnt and stored properly, a quality disc should last at least 3 years and maybe up to 20-30. If you can put up with losing a few bits, multiply by 2-5x.

I just downloaded Nero CD-DVD speed, its supposed to do tests on DVD’s to see how good they burn i think, dont tools like this give an indication perhaps on which are good?

Nero CD-DVD Speed will give an indication of the current quality of the disc (but it doesn’t tell you the whole story); it cannot tell you how long the disc will last, however.

If you scan your discs at intervals (e.g. some months apart) you will get an indication of the deterioration rate of your discs - but it is still only an indication.

not really sure how to interpret the scan, im searching still looks complicated to me

batman3 -

Possibly the below to CD Freaks Forum Link will provide helpful information in understanding Nero CD-DVD Speed Quality Scans ->


There’s also:

Interpreting PI/PO error scans

And for anyone who didn’t get a brain meltdown from reading the other links, there’s this thread:

Precision, accuracy, and reliability of disc quality (PI/PO/jitter) tests

thanks its tough reading! instead of a graph maybe a sign that just says THIS DISC IS OKAY! hah i suppose not

just curious… is it only blank dvd’s that degrade… or pressed dvd’s too (i mean the ones you buy commercially). Or is it just the playing of any dvd that degrades it? or some natural process?