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Geek Tip: Don't Write on CDs With Sharpies!

Geek Tip: Don't Write on CDs With Sharpies!

If you're burning CDs and DVDs, you probably label them right afterward, and do what I (used to) do, which is reach for a Sharpie. But I caution you, as your friend and gagdet guru: Put down the Sharpie.

The chemicals in Sharpies (and most conventional markers) can eventually damage the data on your discs. I've written on CDs and DVDs plenty of times and while I'm not sure I've tasted the downside of it yet, why take chances? You can either label with the kind of markers that are made for writing on CDs, or do what I do and write on a white file sticker, or for something prettier, the stickers in this CD Packaging Kit should do the trick.


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girlie871 girlie871 9 years
I can never find a sharpie anyway so I guess my cd's are safe!
miskatonic44 miskatonic44 9 years
ouch! sharpie freak here. Now I know better! :)
Trish-Smalley Trish-Smalley 9 years
thanks for the helpful tip
Green Green 9 years
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
so guilty of this! I write all over them with Sharpies, even draw and doodle on them sometimes. :oops:
blairerynn blairerynn 9 years
I used to do this too but now I use LightScribe. Thanks for the info though, I'll keep it in mind just in case I have to write on a CD! Interesting =]
natali3nguyen natali3nguyen 9 years
i used to do this all the time. but, i haven't made a CD in so long!
verily verily 9 years
Didn't know that. I'll invest in some CD markers now. All of my previously sharpied CDs still work fine though... Some are several years old in fact! Or I'll invest in some lightscribe compatible discs. I just got a new drive that can burn labels on.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
Wow, who would have thunk it? I've done this lots - thanks for the tip!!
marysac marysac 9 years
If you use a file sticker BE CAREFUL! I did this once and the sticker later CAME OFF IN THE DISC DRIVE! Had to get tweezer and fish it out! Better to use a CD lable maker that prints out on round stickers the same size as the disc.
crystahl crystahl 9 years
yeah, i'm too cheap to invest in CD markers. oh well most of my burned CDs end up stepped on or scratched anyway. lol
thoroughlymodern thoroughlymodern 9 years
Wow, thank you - I'm just about to make copies of basically all of my dad's CDs, and I definitely always use Sharpies. And I tend to not only label them, but decorate them and draw designs... oops. I third that earlier comment - what about writing on burned cds that already have a design (like a solid color) on them? Must go buy special markers...
Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 9 years
I am soooo guilty of this one. And I probably always will be, sorry Geek. But thanks for the great info.
Kellydee Kellydee 9 years
Stickers are the very worst way to label your discs. The glue can react with the disc and cause data loss. Markers are hit or miss, sharpies are generally ok but many markers will mess up your discs big time. I always use a safe method for labeling my discs. I use a disc printer called the Dymo DiscPainter. This printer uses printable discs that have an extra printable layer on them. The DiscPainter prints photos and text right on the disc. It is safe and best of all the labels are clear and colorful.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
wow - i need to go out and buy a special sharpie now! thanks for the info!
cupcakeemmi cupcakeemmi 9 years
Am I a geek because I've never used a sharpie for this?
jenehfur jenehfur 9 years
how about a source for the info and not the picture?
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
I have quite a bit of experience with this. It's not the chemicals that do the most damage but the degrading of the material (since they are biodegradable now) and flexing the disk. Every time you flex the disk, it loses information. While most times, your dvd or computer can connect the missing loops, sometimes it causes an error. That is the main reason why DVD's have those buttons where you press the center and it pops out instead of having to pull it out while bending it. There are disks made for long-term which you should make a proper label for...while some labels also have bad chemicals. And there are definitely Sharpie's and other pens used for writing to disks. What I do for very important things is write a small number in the very center of the disk (translucent part). Since it's so small I simply write a number and then have a master list saying what number is what. Also, you could simply label the box or case which is probably 100 times easier since you don't even need a special marker. Remember, disk rot will always happen so always have it on a hard drive...which also fails but don't get me ranting on that!
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Thanks for the helpful advice.
jspeed jspeed 9 years
Hmm, I didn't know this. We write on CD's w. sharpies at work all the time!
Foxy-Frazee Foxy-Frazee 9 years
Great I'm in the process of downloading files onto disks (for backup) and I'm using a sharpie LOL
millarci millarci 9 years
Wow thanks for the tip geek! Macgirl, I like your tip too. I always wondered if those labels did anything to the CD/DVD. Thanks!
anniekim anniekim 9 years
thanks, astello. I love sharpies.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
be careful with stickers and cd label stickers. certain slot loading drives can heat up and cause the adhesive to ooze out and gunk up your drive. :-/
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