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Yesterday, while I was taking a game disc out of its jewel case, the inner ring on the disc cracked (which I found troubling as I have never had this happen). Trying to assess the damage, I peeled away any bits of plastic that would come off as a result of the initial crack and ended up with this:

Cracked in the middle

Essentially, one of the layers of plastic in the middle of the disc is now missing a piece, with no additional loose pieces still attached (to my best of knowledge). How dangerous would it be to use this disc to play? I've already tried it once, throwing caution into the wind and everything worked all right. Still, this may have just been luck.

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is this a "crack" or has a piece flaked off? Does the crack go through the entire thickness of the plastic? Since it is not on the data surface, you might be able to back-fill it with epoxy or super glue. If you do, this is very messy and you would want to mask the disc with painters tape and paper to keep it clean. – horatio Mar 25 '14 at 17:52
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Discs in any optical disk player (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) spin at a very high RPM. Thus, they have to be carefully balanced to avoid doing damage to the disc or the player. Even putting a label on the disc can sometimes cause some minor balance issues. These balance issues can wear out the disc or the drive prematurely. Your loss of mass is relatively small and near the center of the disc, so while it's concerning, I'm not thinking it's panic time. I'd be more concerned if you were experiencing any unusual noise while using the disc.

However, the discs are gripped by the player in the center, so structural issues in this area are going to be particularly bad news. If the remaining plastic layers fail, there's a chance the disc could bump up against other parts of the drive at high RPM and cause damage.

My suggestion would be to replace it, if possible. You might try contacting the company, especially if the disc is relatively new. It might be considered a manufacturing defect.

Failing that, Nolonar's suggestion of installing the disc to your Xbox 360's hard drive might also be useful. However, doing the install is going to place a lot of strain on the disc, so if it's on the verge of failure it may just up and fail at that point.

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It's the model with hardly any hard-drive space, so we will probably just get a replacement disc. Thanks for the info and suggestions. – Aubergine Mar 25 '14 at 20:31
A few years ago, I saw a disc shatter in a DVD-ROM drive. The results were not pretty - no chance of getting all the bits out, and no way to know if anything had been knocked out of alignment, so we had to replace the drive (fortunately this was at work, so I didn't have to buy one!) Having a bit missing in the centre of the disc will have weakened it structurally, and could result in it shattering. If that happens, you might be looking at a new XBox, so a new disc is probably cheaper! I still have part of that disc stuck to the top of my monitor as an ornament! – Gizmo3k May 1 '14 at 14:14

The Xbox 360 is not a record player. It doesn't touch the disk when it reads it so I can't imagine the disk potentially damaging the Xbox.

Whether the disk is likely to work is another matter. You might further damage the disk but you might as well if the alternative is never using it again.

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I am more concerned about the manner in which the disc itself spins. I can only assume this is facilitated by applying at least some pressure to the cracked section? – Aubergine Mar 25 '14 at 12:37
@Aubergine I don't know about the 360, but a similar issue hapened to me on my PC. My StarCraft (1) disc had a small crack going from the inner edge of the disc to the outer edge of the innermost ring. I still used it to play my game and when I was done, the crack had completely reached the outer edge of the disc. The game still ran fine and my CD drive remained unscathed, but I was scared the disc might break in two within the drive if I continued to use it. The best thing you could do, is either exchange the disc, or install it to HDD to minimize any future disc spinning. – Nolonar Mar 25 '14 at 12:54

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