recoverdm: recover damaged CD-ROMs/DVDs

This program will help you recover disks with bad sectors. You can recover files as well complete devices.
In case if finds sectors which simply cannot be recoverd, it writes an empty sector to the outputfile and continues. If you're recovering a CD or a DVD and the program cannot read the sector in "normal mode", then the program will try to read the sector in "RAW mode" (without error-checking etc.).
This toolkit also has a utility called 'mergebad': mergebad merges multiple images into one. This can be usefull when you have, for example, multiple CD's with the same data which are all damaged. In such case, you can then first use recoverdm to retrieve the data from the damaged CD's into image-files and then combine them into one image with mergebad.


recoverdm -t type -i file/devicein -o fileout [-l list] [-n retries] [-s speed]
-t typeis 1 for files, 10 for floppy disks and 40 for IDE disks (try -h for a complete list)
-i file/deviceinis the device or file you want to recover
-o fileoutis the file where to write to. this file should not already exist!
-l listthis file will contain the offsets(!) of the bad blocks as well as the size of the badblock. This file can be used together with the image with the 'mergebad' utility.
-n retriesnumber of retries before going on with next sector, defaults to 6
-r RAW read retriesnumber of retries while reading in RAW mode before going on with next sector, defaults to 6
-s rotation speedrotation speed of CD-ROM/DVD, defaults to 1
-p number of sectorsnumber of sectors to skip when a readproblem is detected
-hgives the helptext


recoverdm is on github

MacOS X users

Add -lcrypto to 'LDFLAGS' in the makefile.


version 0.19:
small performance optimalisation.
version 0.18:
one can now set the start offset.
version 0.17:
Fixed infinite loop.
version 0.15:
No longer needs fvhlib. This version also features the mergebad utility.
version 0.14:
When reading CD-ROMs/DVDs: if a sector could not be read, it is now read several times in RAW mode. After that, the most likely sector is written to disk.
While writing to disk sectors filled with 0x00 are replaced by phantom-blocks. This saves diskspace.
version 0.13:
Initial release

Tested on:


  • dual pentium II
  • Dec Alpha


Beware: if the lead-in of the CD you try to recover is damaged (the first 1 or 2 millimeters of the center of the CD), the CD is beyond recovery. That's because the CD-ROM drive needs it to synchronise or so (better explanations are welcome, please contact me at:
  • Tested on a Dec Alpha with a SCSI CD-ROM: Toshiba XM-5401TA
  • Tested on a dual Pentium II with a SCSI CD-ROM burner: RICOH MP6200S

After you have created an image...

After you have created an image of the damaged media, you might be able to write it to a new disk/cd/etc. but in some cases the directory-information (and such) is so much damaged that you're not able to mount it. In that case the findfile utilities might be helpfull.


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