How to Fix a Bad DVD Copy

Using DVD-specific cleaning products, you can successfully remove filth and repair some scratches.
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Because DVDs can run unsuccessfully for a variety of reasons, troubleshooting the problem why a DVD will not play can be complicated. To fix a bad copy, you may be able to dust the DVD or use a repair system to restore the surface. For more serious problems, even if you are unable to fix the DVD itself, you may still be able to extract and copy the data to make a replacement DVD for your personal collection.

1 Dust the DVD

You can carefully remove dust from a DVD using a soft, lint-free cloth. To minimize contact with the DVD, hold along the circumference of the DVD with your thumb and in the center of the DVD with your index finger. Take the dry cloth with your other hand and gently run the cloth in sections along each radius on the back of the DVD, dusting from the center of the DVD to the circumference in a linear stroke. After dusting, try playing the DVD to see if the problem has been solved.

2 Use a Repair Kit to Remove Minor Scratches

If the DVD is in need of more than a simple dust job you can purchase a DVD cleanser or repair kit. You can pick up a spray-formula to apply to a soft cloth before rubbing the cloth over the DVD, or purchase a complete repair kit that uses a motorized cleaner to remove dirt and buff out scratches. Follow the instructions that come along with your particular repair system.

3 Rip a New Copy with a Basic Program

If the DVD will still not play but the damage seems minimal, you may be able to use a regular DVD-burning program to burn a new copy of the bad DVD and have the copied version function without problem. Use the DVD-burning software your computer came with or download a free basic program as desired. For best results, perform the burning process without trying to simultaneously use other unnecessary programs to avoid overloading your computer, which can cause the DVD software to freeze or experience problems. Once the burning process is finished, play the ripped copy to make sure it works.

4 Extract Data with Recovery Software

If the DVD damage is more severe, you may need to obtain a recovery program that is specially designed to extract data from a corrupted medium. You can find free and paid programs including E.M. Scratched DVD Copy, AnyReader and MiniTool Power Data Recovery. When downloading a program you find online, make sure you trust the website to avoid problems with unintentionally downloading malware. Save the recovered file to your computer and burn the file onto a new DVD as desired.

Elizabeth Valentine is an experienced freelance writer. She graduated with a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management and has also worked as a beauty advisor. She has published more than 250 pieces of content at sites such as Associated Content and eHow, having been working in the field of writing since 2007.