How to Restore Files from a Damaged CD or DVD

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How to Restore Files from a Damaged CD or DVD

Unread postby zeru » 04 Feb 2011 12:30

In case of a system crash you often need to reinstall most of your software. Apart from the operating system, that means many applications as well. If you are lucky enough to have a recent backup, you can also restore your personal data files.
Maybe you have a second hard drive to keep all backups on, or maybe you use online backup facilities that the internet offers. But if you do not have or use any of these, chances are you have your backups on CD-ROM or DVD. In most cases that is not a problem, but what if your CD or DVD is a bit older already, or has simply been used so much that is has become almost unreadable? The protective layer on CD’s does wear out at some point, and scratches are quickly made.
If you are running MS Windows you will have a problem restoring files from damaged CD’s or DVD’s. The operating system will try to access the disk and read the file system on it. If it fails, you can not access any of the files on it. And even if it can read the folders and files listing, there is still a chance that files are damaged. Once you start copying, Windows will stop the operation when it runs into errors.

Enter the Unstoppable Copier…

Most of the folder and file information, as well as the actual file data will still be accessible on damaged CD’s or DVD’s. It is just that Windows thinks the disk is bad. So a program is needed that circumvents the way Windows approaches the disk and ignores bad sections of the disk. This is where the Unstoppable Copier comes in.
The program can be downloaded from or from CNET . The download is a small ZIP file, which contains the actual program executable. When started, you are presented with the main window.

The first thing to take a look at is the settings. Simply click the Settings tab in the main window to bring up the configuration options of the application.

The program has extensive options for data recovery. The slide can be used to move from Best Data Recovery to Fastest Data Recovery, obviously reducing the efforts made to recover a file. Similarly, you can set the maximum number of retries for file copy operations. If you are not at all interested in trying to recover files from the damaged areas of the CD or DVD, select the Auto Skip Damaged Files options to speed up the copy operation.
A useful option is the Undamaged Files First, as it will first copy all files that have no problems and then focus on the damaged files. If that takes too long, you can then simply break off the copy operation with the knowledge that all undamaged files have been copied already.
Going back to the Copy window (click the Copy tab at the top), you can start the data recovery from the CD or DVD. Click the Browse button to the right of the Source field and select your CD/DVD drive. Next click the Browse button for the Target and select the disk location where you want to store the recovered files. All that is left now is to press the Copy button and sit back.

You can Pause the copy process at any time, and when a file takes too much time, you can even Skip it manually.
Next time you are ready to throw away a CD-ROM or DVD, think about this simple data recovery program. You might not get all the files, but it can save you a lot of time and headaches looking for other copies or re-generating documents.

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