5 years old CD-RW...

This blog post is a kind of followup of a previous blog post about reading 10 years old CD-R.

Today, I get a new shiny ASRock ION 330 to play with, in itself this PC has nothing particular. As usual, I begin by using System Rescue CD to check bad blocks on the hard drive, before working with it (badblocks -v -s -w -c 4096 /dev/sda). Once done, I will check the memory (memtest). This is my standard procedure when receiving a new PC.

But I don't have my System Rescue CD at hand. No problem, I download it and and write it on an old CD-RW, bought 5 years ago but still sealed into his blister. For your information, this is a Memorex CD-RW 700MB 16-24x. I blank it (wodim blank=all). I write it at speed 16x, because I don't know how to lower the speed. After writing the CD, I re-read it to check everything is fine (readom dev=/dev/cdrw1 f=test.iso).


$ readom dev=/dev/cdrw1 f=test.iso
Errno: 5 (Input/output error), read_g1 scsi sendcmd: no error
CDB:  28 00 00 01 3C 00 00 00 40 00
status: 0x2 (CHECK CONDITION)
Sense Bytes: 70 00 03 00 00 00 00 0A 00 00 00 00 11 05 00 00
Sense Key: 0x3 Medium Error, Segment 0
Sense Code: 0x11 Qual 0x05 (l-ec uncorrectable error) Fru 0x0
Sense flags: Blk 0 (not valid) 
cmd finished after 6.614s timeout 40s
readom: Input/output error. Cannot read source disk
readom: Retrying from sector 80896.
readom: Error on sector 80908 corrected after 9 tries. Total of 0 errors.

OK, I re-blank it (wodim blank=fast) and rewrite it. The CD seems to be readable this time. But when I try to boot with it my new ASRock, it fails.

Enough is enough, I get an heavy used Verbatim 8cm CD-RW. Just to show you how old he is: the first ISO written on it was "Debian Sarge". And the magic happens: it works on the first try!!!!

You will probably think that I work for Verbatim. This is not true but I must admit that first-price CD-RW/CD-R seems to be very low quality and don't hold data in time. This is probably related to the chemical compounds of the CD. The failing Memorex CD-RW will end up in a trash and I will continue to use my 5 years old Verbatim CD-RW.

Dear reader, in order to find a way not to dump this failing CD-RW, do you know a way to make it to work?

What you should now about the failing CD-RW:

  • there are no scratches on the surface
  • the CD-RW has never been used before this morning
  • I keep it out of the direct sunlight
  • it was stored next to the Verbatim CD-RW


1. On Thursday, July 1 2010, 16:08 by Mehdi

I don't have any solution for your problem but I find very easy nowadays to just use USB sticks for this kind of usage (it's faster, easier, lighter, …) :) (or even boot on the iso image via network)

2. On Thursday, July 1 2010, 16:19 by gildor

Mehdi: Indeed, USB/PXE boot works quite well today.

They posted on the same topic

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