Should you write on a CD or DVD?

Question: Is it OK to use a permanent marker on the top (label side) of a home burned CD or DVD? Microsoft and other companies always have that ID number on the CD sleeve and I usually do a good job of keeping those handy, but in the event that I lose one of those original jackets, I thought it would be handy to write the number on the CD itself. I don’t think that would cause any problem, but don’t know if there is something I’m not aware of. — MK

Answer: Most of the advisers gave the all-clear: A permanent-ink felt tip pen shouldn’t harm the label side of a CD-ROM.

“The only stipulation that I have read,” said Christopher Salvador, a support specialist with Telus Multimedia in Edmonton, “is that you should use a pen with a blunt tip so as not to damage the lacquer that usually covers the label side of the disc.”

Kirk Reid, a senior field engineer with MicroAge in Calgary also had a warning: “Depending on the type of ink in the marker, it can sometimes eat through the very thin protective coating on the top of a CD.” His advice: Avoid the smelly thick markers. “Stick to Sharpies. They don’t have the strong solvent odor.”