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The usual story, Xbox 360, bumped, ring scratch, disc unreadable. My question is, if I buy a replacement skyrim disc, will all my saved games and add-ons be lost, or will they still work, just with the new disc.

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You might be able to borrow/rent a copy and use the xbox's ability to copy the game from that disk to the hard drive. Your damaged disk might be enough for the dvd checker to confirm it is the right disk, without relying on loading data from it. – George Duckett Dec 17 '12 at 14:48
@fbueckert didn't he mention the game was installed? I don't see it as a duplicate – JohnoBoy Dec 17 '12 at 18:21
@JohnoBoy The disc itself matters not at all. I double-checked the duplicate question, and it's specifically mentions Skyrim in the question. Seems pretty straightforward to me. – Frank Dec 17 '12 at 18:24
The solution might be the same, but the question isn't – JohnoBoy Dec 17 '12 at 18:28
Closing non-exact duplicates as exact duplicates is considered harmful. Learn to love the inexact duplicate. – SevenSidedDie Dec 17 '12 at 22:08

The optical discs used for games are a read only media, nothing you do in game is stored on them, only on the storage in your console.

As long as you buy a disc from the same region your original disc was, your progress and DLC should still work.

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and buy same region you mean geographically? – Bex Dec 17 '12 at 14:17
Yes, XBox games are sometimes region locked - see here – iber Dec 17 '12 at 14:29
Generally speaking. Yes. DVD/Blurays and games have certain regions attached to them, these usually appear on the box as NTSC-U/NTSC-J/PAL for games or a number in a box for PS3 games or DVDs. Look at the box of your original copy and look for a region marking, on Xbox games it's on the front cover on the top right corner under the stripe or on the bottom of the spine. Just make sure your new copy has the same markings and you should be fine. – JohnoBoy Dec 17 '12 at 14:30
@iber It's more than that, even if a game isn't region locked, its save might be only compatible with a certain region, so Bex needs to make sure his new copy is the same game as his last one – JohnoBoy Dec 17 '12 at 14:31
@JohnoBoy oh, I don't think about his saves. Yes you have right. – iber Dec 17 '12 at 14:42

Theoretically, it would be possible to press an unique readable serial number to each optical disk. When one would do that, the application could tell when it runs from a different physical disk. But in practice nobody does it, because it would make the manufacturing process a lot more expensive. So no, every Skyrim disk looks the same for your console.

By the way: some companies will send you a new disk when you send in a broken one. Remember, according to the game companies, you buy the right to play the game, not the ownership of the media it is on.

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Actually, it's not a lot more expensive—Nintendo has been doing that with their discs since the GameCube‌​, using a cutting laser to embed disc encryption data after the discs are pressed. It's not used to tie savegames to discs, but it wouldn't be hard for a company to do that. Dumb and customer-hostile, yes, but not hard. – SevenSidedDie Dec 18 '12 at 8:26
+1 for mentioning that many games publishers/suppliers will replace damaged media, it is definitely worthwhile checking this out – kalina Dec 18 '12 at 9:36

Another possibility is trying to recover the disc by applying different methods and chemical materials in order to try to minimize the phisycal damage. The linked page contains lots of photos and tips on how to achieve this.

I've been able to recover a few damaged discs this way, althought all of them were data CDs/DVDs, and not game discs, but I suppose the same methods could work for either.

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