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ESD Related Problems with CD's and Dongles
Response to this article by Keith Donaldson

By Elizabeth Nelson
Technical Information Supplied
by Anna Maria Steriti

Have you experienced any computer problems (such as error messages, or loss of data on the CD) after inserting a mass-produced CD into your computer's disk drive? These problems may be attributed to ESD.

Anna Maria Steriti has been active in the ESD industry for many years. She has recently brought to our attention the problem of ESD on CDs. The connection between ESD and CDs seems to have been ignored. Documentation is lacking in this area and it is important that testing is conducted to get to the bottom of this problem.

The dongle (this is a key that is sent with a CD to avoid piracy) may also be a ESD hazard. They are shipped in static shielding bags, but the problem still exists. This leads industry experts to believe that the problem occurs on the dongle, or CD, itself. Anna Maria explains that "when CDs are reproduced in mass, they become extremely charged" and are then placed into the jewel case. The charge has no way of dissipating. The CD is placed into the CD-ROM and creates error messages, glitches, and the program that is on the CD may even disappear from the computer's hard drive.

Many times, these errors are attributed to bugs in the software, when the real problem may likely to be due to ESD. Testing on CDs is difficult to conduct and the results are not always reproducible. Furthermore, the problem does not seem to occur on individually burned CDs, only when CDs are mass produced.

In the future, there may be ways to solve this problem (once it is determined that the problem does actually exist). Anna Maria's possible solutions would include an ESD jewel case, a CD ionizer, or even a CD antistatic spray.

If you have any information on ESD problems associated with CDs or dongles, please E-mail the ESD Journal.


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