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I just read the question: Does microwaving a hard drive erase it? and now I am curious too... does microwaving a CD (or for that matter, DVD, or blu-ray) erase it? My initial thought is that some data would remain, but that it would largely corrupt the data. Would microwaving the CD completely clear off any data though, including small pieces of data, such as passwords? This is not a dupe because a CD does not have a protective case around it like a hard drive does, so the result will likely be different in the case of a CD.

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    FYI, I know shredding a CD would be a better way of destroying the CD.
    – Jonathan
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:17
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    It's probably a great way to erase a microwave, regardless ;)
    – BrianH
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:38
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    I still say this is the best way to wipe a CD. ;-)
    – Iszi
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 6:42

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The aluminium coating of the CD reacts and creates plasma. So it burns the CD effectively. Below you can see the image of a microwaved CD. It's safe to say it's been destroyed.

enter image description here

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    What are the rings from?
    – cutrightjm
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:24
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    I am still curious, however, would some data still be accessible (e.g. perhaps a password stored on the CD)? Nice picture by the way!
    – Jonathan
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:24
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    @there might be bytes left, chances are they won't be readable by any type of device. The problem of making it a default security policy is that it will probably destroy your microwave. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:35
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    @Jonathan If you're up against the type of adversary who is able and motivated enough to recover data from your microwaved and discarded CDs, you're probably screwed anyway. See the Mossad/not-Mossad threat model. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 18:00
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    Actually, for WORM and RW disks, microwaving would destroy the top reflective metallic coating, not directly the data that's etched into a dye layer(s) just below it. Of course, the recording layer(s) would be largely destroyed indirectly by explosive thermal expansion, but there might still be areas with readable data on it, if its top layer was replaced.
    – TildalWave
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 22:34

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