How to Fix a Badly-Scratched Game Disc---For Free

The "perfect circle" scratch.
The "perfect circle" scratch.

Don't Believe the Hype

When two of my discs (two XBOX 360 games valued at $59.99), suffered the now-infamous "perfect circle" scratch synonymous with movement of the XBOX 360, I immediately conceded their uselessness.  However, as the $120 investment continued to gather dust in my CD case, I eventually wondered whether they could be salvaged to be sold back to a store.  The methods I found, however, brought far more detriment than salvation.

So, what does not work?

  • Toothpaste.  Many claim that it is a magical scratch remover due to its abrasiveness.  Honestly, it only adds more small imperfections to the disc, whether rubbed on in a radial or circular motion.  The disc is unlikely to run any more efficiently.  Result on my discs:  misleading improvement which faded within minutes.  If anything, it hurt the disc.
  • Car Wax/Polish.  Just like toothpaste advocates, many purport wax's ability to improve the functionality of discs based on unrelated applications.  The wax does make the disc shinier, but the claim that it hardens to seal scratches (thereby nullifying them) is one which seems to be unfounded.  Result on my discs:  once again, noticeable improvement faded into the same performance (or worse) within minutes.
  • Packaged Cleaning Kits.  Spending a minimum of $10-$12 on a product claiming to fix discs is not worth it.  Perhaps minor, virtually imperceptible scratches will be taken away by the kit (most of which include cleaning cloths, a bottle of liquid cleaner, and a bottle of liquid polish), but the other methods listed here have the same capability.  Let me let you in on something here:  the "perfect circle" scratch is about as deep as gouges get, and most users will give up on a disc when such a scratch appears.  Result on my discs:  the cloths provided in here leave lesser marks (if any) than the toothpaste and wax methods, but deep scratches will not be cured by such products.  A cleaner disc is seemingly the result, but improved quality largely is not.

Obviously, I tried all three of these methods on my way to the true solution, and my disc only sported numerous small scratches when I was through.  Finally, I reached out to someone with means much greater than my own--local movie/game rental locations.

A Disc Resurfacing Machine can cost thousands of dollars, so let someone else pay for it!
A Disc Resurfacing Machine can cost thousands of dollars, so let someone else pay for it!

Resurfacing

When I called several of the local video game retailers in town, I was informed that there was nothing that could be done in the store about the disc.  I was even advised by one to get one of the aforementioned kits (no, thank you).  Upon calling the local video game/movie rental store(s) and asking to speak to a manager, I was informed that one of the stores had a machine that would fix my discs--deep cut and all--for free.

Naturally, I jetted to the store, gave the two discs to the cashier, and watched as he "resurfaced" them.  To resurface a disc is to shave off its top layer, giving way to a shallower scratch without damaging the critical layer of the disc (the layer upon which data is stored).  The employee told me over the phone that it would be a free process unless I had several discs, and I found that resurfacing was also very quick and simple.  In less than two minutes, I was walking to my car with two resurfaced discs and a full wallet.

The discs showed only a faint sign of the original perfect circles, and both worked to perfection.  The process does not guarantee success, but it does do much more for a disc (with no extra damage) than any other method available.  Resurfacing machines can cost thousands of dollars, so let someone do it for you.  It's free, it works, and it will only increase your chances of experiencing your disc's capabilities again.

*PREVENTION*

To prevent scratches from forming on your discs (even "perfect circle" scratches), use d_skin disc covers. They cover the important (bottom) side of your disc, and are clear, as they are designed to be used on the disc even when it's being used. They are well worth the investment.

d_skin:  no scratches, all performance.
d_skin: no scratches, all performance.

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Comments 29 comments

happy 6 years ago

wow this is just what i needed to know

thanks bro, this helped a LOT


MAFLORIDA profile image

MAFLORIDA 6 years ago Author

For sure, it really saves a lot of time and money. Glad I could help.


patrick 6 years ago

cool thanks i needed to get my games fixed, my fav one are all fucked up


PatrickC. 6 years ago

Ok I bought new game, Infinite Undiscovery, I got first disc working perfectly but when I tried the second disc it wouldn't even read it, and it didn't have any scatches on it.


MAFLORIDA profile image

MAFLORIDA 6 years ago Author

You need to ask the establishment who you bought it from to replace it. What platform is the disc being used for, 360? If the data level of the disc was manufactured incorrectly or damaged beyond the naked eye's recognition, you need to call the publisher and the game dealer.


carlcarlcarlkarl 5 years ago

wat store nd were? cuz i jst called a couple and none know wat i waz talkin abt


kjhgfd 5 years ago

do you mean the scratch that you get when you tturn the 360 from verticall to horizontal


MAFLORIDA profile image

MAFLORIDA 5 years ago Author

http://www.d-skin.com/.

kjhgfd, yes, that is the perfect circle scratch. It results from any significant movement of the console while it's reading a disc.


madman 5 years ago

does it have to be the exact store you bought it from or the same store but it can be in different places?


T-aw3som3 5 years ago

My brother bought the 2011 madden game disk and our xbox dropped and it got a perfect circle scratch what do I do?!


csg370 5 years ago

Hi, MAFLORIDA, I just recently had an accident with my xbox and now my game has that circular scratch mentioned in this article. Would you mind telling me which video game/movie rental store you called about the resurfacing machine? The only rental place around here I can think of is Blockbuster, and the person on the phone claims to not have one of those machines. I called the Gamestop where I bought the game and the person there said there was nothing I could do. So, I'm assuming they don't have one of those machines.


Dutchmaster803 5 years ago

I have used and still use car wax on my scratched discs. Depending on the severity of the scratch u may have to wax it over and over. I use 3M products. I used to detail cars and basically the wax acts as a filler on ur cars clear coat. I have no idea were to find a store that has a machine for this problem. Plus when u wax u have to put pressure on it because some of it is actullay a scuff mark from the plastic tray.


michael 5 years ago

Thanks so much i have bout 3 COD WAW and they all got perfect circles hopefully gamestop has it! ill c tomorrow!


MAFLORIDA profile image

MAFLORIDA 5 years ago Author

Almost all of the video stores that you may visit are likely to have one, but they may not admit it because they don't wish to let you freely use their expensive machinery. Hollywood Video allowed me to use theirs several times without charge before they closed, while Blockbuster claimed they didn't have one (I knew they did).

http://www.cleandiscpro.com/ is a site that offers resurfacing for a small fee, and you can choose if it's for you. I have not personally tried them, but I've heard they're of high repute. They should be able to fix most scratches, and if not, it can't be fixed. This can occasionally be the case, so I'd recommend using d_skins and buying protection plans from Gamestop when purchasing games in the future.


Game Freak 5 years ago

Help my friend cracked my disk and scratched it to hell how can i fix it

(not even eightteen yet)


TWOoneFOUR 4 years ago

if yall have a gametrade where yall live they would resurface it for free


dBrian profile image

dBrian 4 years ago

I had this perfect circle scratch when my 2 year old son nocked my 360 over.. I had to take it to gamestop and they fixed it for like 5 bucks


Tom 4 years ago

If you can find a place that will resurface laserdiscs, hook me up bstnguy at gmail dot come


ohandy1 4 years ago

Nice but most aren't free. Many game store don't offer this but there are plenty of mail in services. Play it Again disc repair is one.

Not free but much cheaper than buying the game again


Mdubs 4 years ago

My MW3 got scratched in my 360 and now it doesn't work. Do ebgames help or just GameStop?


charmingfox profile image

charmingfox 3 years ago from South Africa

nice hub~ will be usefull in the future :) , luckily I take great care in preventing my cds from getting scratched.


Jill 2 years ago

I have tried the toothpaste and the baby wipes. Nothing works. This is why they invented internet cloud streaming. So just download movies online like itunes and Netflix, don’t have to worry about scratch discs!


Guest 2 years ago

How do you get rid of scratches in the middle


FreezingIceKirby 2 years ago

I took the advice of this article and found a store that has one of those machines. Had a Gamecube disc that wouldn't load properly, so I thought this was the solution.

...The machine completely butchered the disc, and now it doesn't work at all. :(

Perhaps this is just one of those "One in a million" sort of circumstances... but I'd advise people to be weary of this option, as I found out it doesn't always work.


hackerjack 2 years ago

thx dude ur awesome


Jacobb9205 profile image

Jacobb9205 19 months ago from Gloucestershire

Wow toothpaste, awesome!

Thank you!


Stealth Ninja 16 months ago

Does that include playstation Games Too like resurfacing?


dbz awesome 8 months ago

My friends gta 4 disc has the perfect circle and I don't know what to do and I have to give it back on Tuesday I hope he doesn't kill me or that gamestop has that machine


ASSASSJNUNUTED 2 months ago

Name of store is it in Missouri

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