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roadkilHead Have you ever had a CD or DVD that contained critical information but you could not get to it? Does your disk have a huge scratch running through it? Maybe it’s a little chipped or cracked? Don’t throw it out there might still be hope!

That’s right, kiddies! I have an awesome free program that attempts to get your data back for you lickity split! Here’s how you can read and retrieve all the data from scratched CDs and DVDs.

To start my testings, I whipped out an old spindle of CDs circa 2003. These things were scratched to high hell and they worked (a little) in my CD-ROM but not reliably.

Next, I downloaded Roadkil’s Unstoppable Copier version 3.56 from here: and simply ran it without installation. I saw this screen below:

how to read scratched dvd

It looked pretty straight forward so, I decided to give it a whirl. I hit the browse button for the source field and then for the target field; and proceeded to select my CD-ROM and a blank folder respectively.



Then, I hit the Copy button and it took off! It read and copied my whole disk in a few minutes flat! I tested the files and they were working just fine.


I grabbed another disk that I knew was seriously flucked up and again hit Copy. When I say seriously flucked up, I really mean it – I took a screwdriver to the disk and made a scratch from end to end!

how to read scratched dvd


This time, the copying process took a bit longer and the drive made some crazy noises but it did successfully copy all my files. This is awesome. I wish I had something like this 5 years ago after my great CD disaster. But hey, that can be a story for another time.

Let’s check out the programs settings:


Everything is pretty straight forward and you will not find yourself looking to use them unless your disk is beyond repair and files are erroring out. Strangely, I could not make this happen. My slider was also on the best data recovery side but you can also push it towards the faster side if the CD is not horribly damaged.

And of course, batch mode can be used to do multiple disks extractions:


This is great if you have multiple drives. Just add the locations and they will do their thing in order from top to bottom.

Do you have a free CD/DVD recovery program that is reliable? If you do or aware of any alternative way to read scratched DVDs or CDs, let us know about it in the comments.

If your disc is broken beyond repair, or at least, that’s what you think — then read Varun’s post on How To Repair Damaged CD’s Or DVD’s & Recover Data How To Repair Damaged CD's Or DVD's & Recover Data How To Repair Damaged CD's Or DVD's & Recover Data Read More . You’re bound to learn something new.

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  1. C.Suresh
    December 11, 2015 at 11:32 am

    One of my CD with thousand photos had got scratched and was not running. Roadkil Unstoppable Copier successfully culled out the data and saved my photos, Excellent it is. Hats off to the developers. Best wishes.

    C.Suresh, India

  2. Hasan
    February 10, 2015 at 4:36 am

    I am trying to recover the files. Update information I will put asap...........................

  3. Roshan
    December 19, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Ya dude u r right. Even i lost my cd burner trying do something like this never try this with ur own dvd burner.......

  4. Mian Farhan
    September 7, 2009 at 1:38 am

    Very good information.

  5. Peter
    August 14, 2009 at 6:15 am

  6. Win7Guru
    June 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I have used this program, but it didn't help me recover my Vista Home Premium OEM disc. Any suggestions. I have the disc and it has what appears to be a crack shaped like a branch. Please help me, as Windows 7 will expire soon.

  7. David Gerard
    June 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    How does this do on audio CDs? I tend to recover badly frisbeed music CDs using either cdparanoia (the standard audio CD reader on Linux) or Exact Audio Copy (a Windows app that also works perfectly in Wine on Linux). Each of these has discs it will read that the other can't quite cope with; a third tool for the armory would be most useful.

    (EAC is the Chuck Norris of audio CD rippers. I gave it a badly decayed band demo on CD-R, from back when CD-Rs were blue and decayed in a few years. It took seventeen hours, but I think it missed one second of the six-song disc.)

    • Gaurav Kumar
      June 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm

      Frankly speaking, I left damaged discs on their own after compromising a ROM. I now often backup DVDs with good quality ones. But I remember for sure leaving the system for many hours so that more and more data can be recovered. The more hours you spend and the slowest mode you select will shorten the life of your ROM.

      • Zymos
        June 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm

        I don't think there could possibly be any difference using this software and playing a movie in terms of wear on the laser or "lens" (which does not come in contact with anything).

  8. Gaurav Kumar
    June 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Nice but use it with CAUTION. I used it to recover data and the next thing I new was my DVD-ROM's lens was destroyed and was rendered useless.

    • Karl L. Gechlik
      June 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm

      How is that even possible? How do you know your lens was destroyed? I used this application on 26 disks yesterday with no issue.

      I would like to contact the author but I would need more info from you please email me at karl at asktheadmin dot com

      • Gaurav Kumar
        June 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm

        When the disc has scratches and the software forces the ROM to read those particular data bytes, the lens keeps on making efforts to try and read them. As a result the scratched surface renders the lens unusable. Even my ROM was working fine after first run. It stopped working after several runs of this software.
        The only thing that I can suggest is that if you have a movie or something on a scratched disc, then try this s/w with mode set as the fastest so that it can skip those bytes which are unreadable and still read readable bytes f the same file. As a result only a few frames of the movie won't be available.

    • David Gerard
      June 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm

      You can in fact overheat and burn out your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM's laser or motor with this sort of severe disc-reading application.

      EAC has an option to let the drive cool for 15 mins after each hour's reading.

  9. Christopher
    June 17, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Excellent, i have a few old games, and some apps hat i need, hopefully this can help, and if not, im off on ebay to find a cheap copy.

  10. Chris
    June 17, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Very NICE!!

  11. JX
    June 17, 2009 at 10:40 am

    For recovering data from scratched DVD+/-R discs, I tend to use either ISObuster or ISOpuzzle