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CDs and DVDs

How Long Do They Last?

SUMMARY: You may use CDs and DVDs to backup your information. Just how long will they last?

You may think that once you store music, documents, or photos on a CD or DVD that it will last virtually forever. That is not the case, however, as CDs and DVDs have a definite shelf life. How long CDs and DVDs will last in storage or in normal use, however, is a matter of much debate, and you cannot always trust manufacturer claims.

One organization that has studied this issue is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A working group, the Government Information Preservation Working Group, released on December 9, 2004 a Stability Study of Optical Discs that may help shed light on this issue.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.