Does can't write +R lead-in => broken drive?

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve got an old Khypermedia / Cyberdrive DX082D upgraded with the 150B firmware to support -R/RW (originally it was + only). I am having problems getting it to recognize DVD-R’s it wrote under WinXP (it’s OK under Win98), but that’s another story.

The new question is: does the fact that the drive can’t write +R lead-ins any more (but can write -R lead-ins) mean it’s broken? I had been burning a few DVD’s using only Khypermedia CMC MAG F01 +R media (but mostly CD-Rs at first) and Nero 6. At first it was rare to have any errors while burning DVDs, but then I began having failures. Basically, the burn would get stuck as soon as it began, with no errors. The software would say it was burning the lead-in and never get any further. The drive’s buffer would never be filled, but the light on the drive would keep flashing indefinitely. It would be necessary to reboot. The disk would be ruined.

This started happening occasionally, but not consistently, but more and more frequently until it happened almost every time. At first I blamed conflicting software under WinXP, so I dual booted into Win98, and was able to burn some DVDs, but quickly started having problems there as well. So, then I began becoming suspicious of the media, just because I had been able to buy it cheaply at OfficeMax. (I guess CMC MAG F01 isn’t really all that bad based on the comments I’ve seen here, but I didn’t know.)

Anyway, I opened up some DVD-Rs which burned OK (I think) despite the fact that Windows XP can’t recognize them (but Win98 can). (See this thread for the gory details.) So that seemed to confirm that the DVD+R media was at fault. But I just tried a newly opened spindle of HP CMC MAG E01 +Rs, and I have the same problems with not being able to write a lead-in. As before, the DVDs are ruined. I can’t see any visible changes on them, but every tool I can find insists there isn’t even a disk in the drive when I try to have it took at the ruined E01s. I don’t have any of the ruined F01s anymore. The drive has no problems reading the good F01’s, however.

So, does it make any sense that a DVD burner might break in such a way that it would just get logically stuck trying to write a lead-in for DVD+Rs, but not have the same problem with DVD-Rs? At first, I wouldn’t have thought so, but I guess there are more physical differences between the different types of blanks than I would have expected. So maybe it can track one type but not the other, or something? If so, I guess I really wish it would have broken like a normal electrical device, by going “pop” and having smoke coming out of it, or something like that. Either that, or I would have expected an increasing number of random errors, but this didn’t seem random, and there wasn’t the typical verification error messages.

I can’t say I’m too disappointed in this, because the drive is obsolete, but I’d like to not replace it if it isn’t necessary, if just because things are often more frustrating than expected while replacing computer parts. So feedback would be appreciated.

try cleaning the lens by opening up the drive and using qtips and bottled water (not tap water). be gentle and don’t rub too hard.


I think I’ll give that a try. I think most people recommend isopropyl alcohol, rather than water, though. If you used water, it should be distilled, not just bottled, probably. Bottled water can have just as many minerals as tap water (sometimes it is just bottled tap water).

I just did a quick search on Google and came acrossthis, which has pictures, for anyone interested.

I tried cleaning the lens, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. The article I linked to in my previous post was a different drive. I could only find the one lens to clean and no mirrors on my drive. Hopefully everything else is hidden where dust won’t be a problem.

I ran into one issue I never saw anyone else mention. I had to open the drive tray to get the top of the case off. The case top couldn’t be removed because it was blocked by the front bezel, which in turn was blocked by the bezel on the drive door.

I’m not terribly surprised this didn’t work. I just picked up a Samsung SH-S182M, but haven’t tried burning with it yet.