The problem is only with burning DVDs; it burns CDs fine, as well as reads both CDs and DVDs.
I’ve tried using different burning software (Nero, DVD Decrypter, Sonic), but all of them fail. None of them actually gives me an error message. What happens is the software begins the burn process, and it seems that evertying is going fine: the status bar is advancing, the time remaining is counting down. But based on the sound of the drive, I can tell something’s wrong. It seems to stop and go, stop and go. Also, even when the status bar goes to 100 percent, and time remaining goes down to 0:00, nothing happens. The drive is still sounding funny, indeed at this point starts making really bad noises that I know can’t be good, and the software (Nero, DVD Decrypter, Sonic) doesn’t say anything.
In fact, everytime I try to cancel the burn, the software freezes. Eventually, I can end the program, but then if I try to access the drive via Windows Explorer, that too freezes, and I have to restart my computer, often via forced shutdown. When I take the DVD-R out after shutdown (can’t do it before that) it doesn’t look as though anything has been burned onto it. I should note that before I try to burn, Windows Explorer is able to recognize the blank DVD-R disc, although it takes a little longer to do so than before.
I’ve updated the firmware to PDS7, but still no luck. Dell claims that it is not a hardware problem but rather a software one, and that the problem lies in the registry involving upper and lower filters. That’s all they would tell me without me paying them $80 for help that my hardware warranty doesn’t cover.