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Show ALL Forums  > Technology/Computers  > Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds      Home login  
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 Lover_boy_100
Joined: 7/30/2006
Msg: 1
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & DvdsPage 1 of 1    
Is it safe to write on the top of a CD-R disk with a "Sharpie" Pen or will the ink damage the info burned to the CD-R? If it will damage the information on the disk, how long will that take? To be clear I am not talking about commercially produced CD-ROM disks but with a CD-R that I have burned information to. If a Sharpie is not safe, is there a writing implement that is or should I use labels?


 Angelfacelo
Joined: 3/1/2006
Msg: 2
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/12/2006 9:00:53 PM
its not going to hurt
i do it all the time
 evilpanda
Joined: 9/26/2006
Msg: 3
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/12/2006 11:03:07 PM
Use a Sharpie that says it's safe to write on a CD-R/DVD-R surface. Many Sharpie markers (including those used in the lab) have some liquid that can eat away at the reflective surface on a CD-R/DVD-R disc.
Also, be sure to check your discs every year or couple years and transfer them to new discs every few years (in my case I do it every five years).
 epsilonbj
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 4
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/13/2006 3:02:08 AM
sharpie are absolutely safe........you'd be amazed to learn what you can do to a cd and it would still work, for example you can wash it with water, spill coffee on it, spit on it if you don't like the singer...
 fairyx
Joined: 5/18/2006
Msg: 5
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/13/2006 10:15:28 AM
It's fine, dont' worry about it!

I agree with msg 4. especially when he says"spit on it if you don't like the singer"very funny

To improve your CD’s quality, you can also hold it under the HOT water for 5 min, dry it out then put it on the CD room. I do it when there’s something wrong with my CD and it always works.
 serendipity36
Joined: 12/1/2006
Msg: 6
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Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/13/2006 10:16:43 AM
cd r's hold info longer than cd rw's. also leaving disks in sunlight is instant death.
 Padawan61
Joined: 4/19/2006
Msg: 7
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/13/2006 8:13:04 PM
Writing on a CD with a sharpie pen looks so unprofessional. Why not get one of those Lightscribe CD-DVD Writers and burn a label right onto the disc instead.
 pilotdreams
Joined: 5/1/2006
Msg: 8
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/13/2006 9:41:11 PM
The only thing that will hurt your CD is something that can scratch it. People always put CDs laying down on the label side to risk scratches but really thats the side with the information on it, if u scratch off this tin, the CD if effed. You can even use pen, just dont scratch off the tin.
 pansatyros
Joined: 3/24/2006
Msg: 9
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/13/2006 10:14:54 PM
The best way to preserve your CDs is not to write anything on them! Even the so called "safe to write on CDs" markers eventually seep through and corrupt the material reducing its lifetime. Notice that this silvery surface on the CD your are going to write on is the exact backside of the actual material that your data will be stored on! Turn the CD on the side to see how thin this layer of film is.

It's better if you write on the paper labels of the plastic boxes and leave the CDs untouched.
 evilpanda
Joined: 9/26/2006
Msg: 10
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/14/2006 12:14:08 AM
He's not asking what you can get away with doing to a CD he's asking what happens over the long term if you write on a disc with a Sharpie marker. I've had discs (many discs, like years of photography) become unreadable because they were written on with Sharpie markers as well as other markers.
Sure it may work in the short term for a year or two but when you go back 10 years and find your original copies are toast there's a lot of stress while you pull out your backups and hope they still work while you make duplicates.
Absolute safest is putting them in dry paper envelopes (label the envelopes) and then put them in a dry cool place. Then every two to three years take them out and make sure you can still read them completely (as well as the backups of those discs).
Possibly a bit excessive but that's how you perserve data (without high quality tape backup).
 evilpanda
Joined: 9/26/2006
Msg: 11
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/14/2006 12:14:51 AM
Forgot to mention that 'pansatyros' hit the nail on the head.
 niteling
Joined: 4/25/2006
Msg: 12
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/16/2006 12:05:17 AM
I looked into this a while ago after I noticed that Sharpies might have solvents in them... what I came up with was a FAQ from Sanford (the company that makes Sharpies) saying that "Sanford has used SHARPIE markers on CDs for years and we have never experienced a problem" and "We have spoken to many major CD manufacturers about this issue. They use the SHARPIE markers on CDs internally as well, and do not believe that the SHARPIE ink will cause any harm to their products."

Even though that's coming right from the manufacturer (and you'd be right to question it, since there's conflict-of-interest there), I've also been labelling CD's with Sharpie markers for years and had no problems that I can attribute to the marker/ink. My very first CD-R was labelled with a Sharpie in 1999 and it still reads fine with only minor damage (doesn't cause read errors) to less than 0.1% of the CD (near the very outer rim, so not caused by the labelling).

So, from my own personal experience, with at least 10 different brands of CD-R, I have never had any degredation that I can attribute to the Sharpie. Some CD's have failed, but mostly due to circular scratches (I think I had a faulty CD-ROM drive once that did that to them), and those that do seem to have failed for chemical reasons, failed all over or in places that weren't consistent with where the label writing was.

However, if you still want to label your CD-R's, and be absolutely safe, you can label them on the clear plastic inner hub, where no data is --- not much room for a label, but enough if you've got a simple "each CD gets a number" catalogue system.

DVD's are much, much better protected than CD's, and are almost definitely safe to label with any kind of felt marker (as long as it doesn't eat plastic) --- CD's have their dye/metallic layer glued onto a single plastic part, with almost no protection at all on the upper side --- you can even peel it off if you try (and your CD-R's are really cheap). DVD's have their important bits sandwiched between two plastic discs, so you can scratch both sides pretty severely and not hurt the data (there are devices to remove scratches from the plastic layer... for minor scratches, you can do it yourself with by rubbing with toothpaste; I can attest to that having worked at least once).

~Felix.
 Altered_Ego
Joined: 4/26/2006
Msg: 13
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/18/2006 7:37:49 PM
I've been using a Sharpie on my CD's and DVD's for years... I've never seen any evidence that they've gone bad.

I tried buying some of those "safe" markers, but they seem to die out within days. So it's not worth spending the extra money.
 Tao97
Joined: 12/10/2006
Msg: 14
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/19/2006 10:51:58 PM
Interesting topic, I've wondered about this myself and heard conflicting info. What I'd like to know now is which disc media lasts longest? I'd heard a certain type of gold cd-r was rated to last 100 years, but never heard of any other storage media lasting longer than that.
 Altered_Ego
Joined: 4/26/2006
Msg: 15
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/21/2006 2:31:54 PM
I always buy the cheapest CDs & DVDs I can find. I don't have much money.

So far, all of them have worked just fine.
 Krosky
Joined: 11/12/2006
Msg: 16
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/22/2006 1:20:46 AM
Only pens that I've ever had a problem with on CDs, were ball-points. I recommend anything with a soft tip like a Sharpie or permanent marker.
 dhubsith
Joined: 12/22/2005
Msg: 17
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/24/2006 8:04:02 AM
About 5 years ago, when I first started burning cd-r's, I read the Sharpies were NOT safe in the long run (for something you wanted to keep for years). I never tried to test that, instead I bought about 1/2 dozen TDK CD Mark pens and have used them ever since. A couple of them dried up right away but I have 2 that still work.

Lately I've been buying cd-r's with the ink-jet white label, they cost about the same as the plain silver ones, and when my TDK pens finally die I should be able to use a Sharpie on them safely.

I like Taiyo Yuden cd-r's and dvd-r's, they have been reliable and I've not made coasters unless I did something stupid.
 afterimage
Joined: 11/27/2005
Msg: 18
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 12/25/2006 9:33:13 PM
I've been using regular Sharpie's on cdr's since I got my first burner back in early '99 and haven't had a single problem to date. Like a couple others have mentioned it's the top of the disc, label side, that can get damaged most easily and ruin the cdr.
 Drumming Fool
Joined: 7/31/2006
Msg: 19
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Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 1/1/2007 8:20:47 PM
sharpies work as long as you're writing on the non-writeable side of the disk( the side that doesn't hold information)usually the side with the brand name on it = )
 eeek
Joined: 9/23/2005
Msg: 20
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Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 1/2/2007 1:18:50 AM

Many Sharpie markers (including those used in the lab) have some liquid that can eat away at the reflective surface on a CD-R/DVD-R disc.


Really? Or is that just what the people that want you to pay more for the same pen say? I've never had a problem with a regular ol' Sharpie and I've been doing this for a long time.
 adragonjeffy
Joined: 2/18/2005
Msg: 21
Are Sharpie's safe on cd's & Dvds
Posted: 1/2/2007 12:00:46 PM
I hope it is... ..I've been doing it for damn near 10 years now since I bought my 1st 2x Ricoh CD-Writer and every thing has been just fine...
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