Real Problem & Solution

The real reason for the Explosive CD remained a great mystery for us and for most users during several weeks. Some readers wrote us suggesting very plausible hypotheses for the reasons why CD’s exploded out of the blue inside CD-ROM drives.

From those hypotheses, the one that seemed the most coherent to us is the following one: CD-ROM may explode inside the unit if its central plastic disk is cracked or broken. The central plastic disk we are talking about is the one that is usually transparent and is located around the central hole of the CD.

With the rotation of CD inside the unit, the crack of the central disk tends to increase, going from the center of the CD to its extremity. Since the CD is rotating very quickly inside the unit, when this bigger crack is formed, the CD breaks. Because of the high-speed and of the existing mechanisms inside the CD-ROM drive, the CD breaks into many pieces, causing the effect of the “explosive CD.”

Which means, there is a remedy: all we have to do is not to use CDs whose central ring is broken or cracked! CD that present such problem should be discarded.

If you have a CD with important data (a CD-R containing personal data, for instance) and it presents this problem and you need to use it, the solution is to make a copy of the CD before trying to. In order to do so, we recommended that you read the CD in a low speed unit or configure your CD recording program (Easy CD Creator, Nero, etc) to perform the reading of the CD in a very low speed (8x, for instance), because as evidence seems to indicate, that problem only happens when the CD-ROM rotates very fast.

This problem happens more on 52x units not because of the manufacturer or the model or the batch, but just because they rotate really fast.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.