How much space to leave empty on a disc?



I’ve seen some people say that when burning DVDs, you don’t want to fill it 100%, because if you burn it right up to the edge you may encounter problems (even with good media). So I’m curious how much space should you leave empty in order to avoid any possible edge problems?

And what about CDs - should you try to avoid the edge on CDRs as well?


With dvds are you backing up a movie or making a data disk-a single layer dvd can be written to about 4.39 gigs with minus a tiny bit more-whatever program you are using will tell you they need another dvd to write to. I never heard of edge problems with dvds. A cd hold about 700mg and some times depending on what program and drive you can overburn. Disks are so inexpensive it not worth trying to put more than it can hold and I never heard of edge problems unless you put your fingers on bottom of disk. If you do a search on this site you can find answers to your questions.


Yes, it is possible to have more errors at the very edges of optical media, especially with poor quality media. Bad distribution of dye at the edges is one possible cause for this. If you look through scans of poor media in the blank media forum, you’ll often seen PIE and PIF errors pile up near the end of the scan when you get to the edges of the disk.

The best way to avoid this is simply to use good quality media. Verbatim brand dvds with the AZO dye (not their Life Series disks), Taiyo Yuden, Falcon and Sony are good choices for dvds. For cds, I stick with Taiyo Yuden, but many people say Ritek cds are quite good.


A full single layer DVD is 4.38 GiB. If you’re burning data, you could leave the last 200 MB or more either blank, or you could use something like DVDisaster to fill it with extra parity information instead.

Even with quality media such as Verbatim, there will sometimes be elevated errors near the edge, if not due to manufacturing problems then due to the edge being more easily scratched.

If I were to store a lot of data on DVDs today (I lean more towards harddisks now), I would aim for about 4 GiB of data and extra parity information on the rest of the disk, using DVDIsaster on an ISO image or using MultiPar on the files and folders and placing the parity files at the end during burning.


200 MB? Wow I was hoping I could get by with less empty space. I just checked a few of the DVDs I shrunk with DVDShrink, and it looks like if I burned them to DVD, then there will be 19 MB of empty space on the disc.


If you want to use DVDShrink and deliberately make a smaller output, go to Edit–>Preferences–>Target DVD Size and change from DVD-5 to a Custom output. Normally, DVDShrink will produce an output close to 4464 MB (by its internal measurement). You can change that manually to 4264MB very easily if you so choose.

Personally, I’ve very rarely had problems burning close to the edge when using good quality media. I don’t often burn data files though…mostly video of various types.


If you want to burn copied/shrunk DVD Video, then I suggest you go ahead and burn a full DVD, since the last part of the disc is either end credits or extra material, and usually not something you would miss if there are playback problems.

Depending on the accuracy of your shrinking program, I would leave a bit of margin for errors in calculation.

There’s nothing magical about DVD Video that makes it less susceptible to problems, but very few people care about perfect playback of the end credits when watching a DVD. Corrupted file data on a Data DVD, however, is not something you can ignore.


Thanks for the tips, guys. Some of my DVDs don’t have credits at the end, so I could potentially run into edge problems with them.

But I just realized - instead of worrying about burning too close to the edge, and changing my shrinking programs to leave 200 MB of free space (which could potentially decrease the quality of the video), I could just continue to burn like I’ve always done without thinking about the edge, and then make sure to do a Disc Quality scan afterward to make sure there’s no edge problems. I didn’t think about that before I posted the question, since I don’t do disc scans very often, but I should probably do it for any discs that I care about, even if they aren’t anywhere close to 100% full.