Though DVD is a sturdy format, the files stored on the disc can become corrupted.
Though the DVD storage format doesn’t have the same weaknesses as tape, which erodes over time and can break or become unplayable, DVDs can still get damaged. Physical damage on the face of the disc may prevent the disc from playing in DVD drives and players, or the accidental reformatting or corruption of some sectors of the DVD may make those parts of the disc unable to be read. If you have a DVD that only partially works, you can repair the bad sectors using freeware.
Double-check the Sectors
1. Place the DVD into a computer’s DVD drive if the sectors won’t play on a standard DVD player, or into a newer DVD computer DVD drive if one is available. Due to advancing technology, newer DVD drives can often read damaged files that older drives and players cannot. If the DVD automatically opens in a media player on the computer, use the scroll bar to more forward to the bad sectors on the disc to determine whether or not the drive can read those sectors.
2. Download a DVD-ripping program if your computer drive can read the bad sectors of the DVD. Free DVD-ripping programs include Handbrake, DVD Shrink and DVD Decrypter (see Resources.) Install the DVD-ripping program onto your computer.
3. Choose the “ISO” ripping method from the “Mode” or “Output” menu in the ripping program and click “Rip” or “Decrypt.” The disc image file, or ISO, rips from the disc as it is read by the DVD drive, which means bad sectors generally rip without issue.
4. Launch the video-editing software you normally use to burn discs and place a blank DVD-R into your computer’s drive. Follow the instructions on-screen to burn the ripped ISO file to a new DVD.
Recover the Sectors
5. Download the recovery program Recovery Toolbox for CD (see Resources). Despite the name, Recovery Toolbox also recovers DVDs and, unlike other recovery applications, can be downloaded for free. Install Recovery Toolbox for CD to your computer.
6. Place the corrupt DVD in the computer’s drive and open Recovery Toolbox for CD. When the Recovery Toolbox windows opens, choose the drive the DVD is in and click “Next.”
7. Click the button with the folder image to choose the folder into which you want to save the recovered DVD files, and click “Next.” On the final page of the Recovery Toolbox application, select “Check All” by checking the box next to it and press the “Save” button to recover the DVD files and save the recovered DVD to the folder.