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Support Stories - Disc Data
written January 15, 2020 by Time Traveler
Category: SupportNote Tags: LinuxCollections.com Blog    #12
 

We've had 3 support events (and 1 personal experience) that we want to document to possibly help resolve customers that feel there is a problem with the disc(s) they've received. Always remember, the physical world (and computers) are not perfection in motion. We are doing pretty dang good, but understand that when it comes to quality, we triple verify downloads/discs, and use professional duplication equipment. In reality, I don't think in the 10+ years we've been doing this, there has been a real issue where the disc had the wrong data, or was unreadable. Not to say we are perfect, but we've had more issues with delivery services than anything related to the service we perform.

Issue #1 - this should go without saying, but it has happened. Be sure to visually inspect the disc for fuzz, hair, fingerprints, food, styrofoam, or anything on the physical disc that can stick on the bottom surface of the disc itself. Remember there is a laser reading a rapidly spinning disc, so if you can see something on the disc, there is a good chance it could affect the reading of the data. Clean the disc and hold up at an angle to carefully inspect and make sure the bottom disc surface is clean. If you see scratches or actual physical damage, it could mean the disc is a frisbee.

Issue #2 - don't believe everything you see. A customer was checking discs from an All Disc Debian purchase, and had several that did not generate the correct ISO MD5 sum (something like this). They insisted the discs were bad. and although we did ask them to try a different system, they were confident they were right. So they shipped all the discs back. We verified them on several systems and had to ship them back, suggesting that possibly their drive was failing. This was a great waste of time and money for everyone involved. It is always a good idea to check/verify discs in a different system, because it is possible that you have a rapidly spinning drive using a high-precision laser that may be wearing out... If the speed is wrong, or there is a wobble (bearings wearing out), you may get errant data from the drive. Moral of the story: Errant data could be a bad disc, but it also could be a bad drive.

Issue #3 - understand what you are looking at. Recently a customer was doing something similar with a Debian All Disc purchase, but copying the DVDs to a drive and doing directory listings to check things. When every disc past disc 2 had the same "files and folders", he figured the discs were not duplicated correctly. It took way too long to get to the point and explain that the packages are all in a pool folder, and the discs are built in an automated way, so if you don't actually compare the sub-folders, you won't see any differences. Luckily everything got resolved without shipping anything, but precious time was wasted. Moral of the story: What you believe and see may not be a correct representation of reality.

Issue #4 - software and hardware quirks. This is something I've seen over the years, and basically it is a disc change event that gets handled incorrectly. So you may swap discs, but the system doesn't think anything happened, so happily reports its cached data, which makes it seem like the new disc is the old disc. Usually you can do an eject or work with the disc to get things synced up again, but if there is a hardware issue, sometimes you have to shut down the system and restart, so there is no cached data anywhere to verify that it truly is a different disc. Moral of the story: Always keep a spare optical drive on your shelf.

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