Creating a copy of cracked (broken) CD-ROM or DVD


Is it possible to somehow create a copy (an image) of a heavily cracked CD-ROM (but not broken in two)? Hopefully without damaging DVD drive…

Unfortunately CD 2/4 of Polish version of Planescape: Torment game got cracked…

Best Answer

Losing a copy of PS:T would be a great loss to the world!

Recovering with ddrescue

I suggest you attemt to use ddrescue to recover what you can from the disk. If you run *nix it will run natively and is likely in your package manager or what have you not (macports?), otherwise it's included in many Linux live disks, some are listed in this thread.

You should have a look at the ddrescue manual, but a basic example (Example 3 in the manual) for recovering a cdrom is

ddrescue -n -b2048 /dev/cdrom cdimage logfile
ddrescue -d -b2048 /dev/cdrom cdimage logfile

You might want to add the option -r [number > 0] to try reading more times, and -S or -p for convenience.

You should then end up with an "iso" image of the disk, which you can then burn to a new cd-r or use with some disk emulating software.

Reducing the cdrom speed

As @ChrisF mentioned, spinning a damaged cdrom up to high speeds might not be the wisest endeavor, and it certainly won't help the rescue effort (it's generally easier to read the text on slow moving cars, right?).

I have no idea how to reduce this on MacOS, but most Linux distros let you use the eject command to reduce it, like so

eject -X /dev/cdrom  # Outputs valid speeds
eject -x [the speed you want] /dev/cdrom

Unless I'm very mistaken, a cd speed of 1x is approximately one rotation per second. I can't really test how this output looks, since this computer doesn't have an optical drive.

You probably want to choose the lowest available speed. Make sure you do this before you try to recover with ddrescue.


Unfortunately, there is a very real danger that you will lose some data in this process. This might have different consequences, though I believe DRM complications won't be an issue, general data errors might be a problem. Bit errors in textures are not really a big problem apart from looking bad, but damage in the binaries might be fatal. Assuming you can install at all, you might be able to extract non-broken files from the release of PS:T (English, available at 10 USAian bux), although that would likely be a major undertaking. Alternatively, you might be able to copy savegames between the versions to play through broken sections. (This is just speculation on my part.)