Problems burning CDs and DVDs - not sure if s/w, h/w or media




I’m not a technical person, so please bear with me. I don’t know if my problems are hardware-related, software-related, media-related, all of the above, or other.

I’ve got a Plextor 708UF, Nero Running XP, SP1, if that matters.

I have sporadic problems burning both CDs and DVDs. I’ve tried various brands of media, probably none of them top grade. At the moment I’m using HP DVD-R and TDK CDs.

Sometimes the burn goes smoothly, sometimes I get an error message in Nero telling me that “Data verification failed.” Whether I get that message or not, I always use the Nero Toolkit ScanDisk file test and surface scan.

If a disk fails the test, I pitch it and burn the files to a new disk. Sometimes it takes three tries to get a good one.

But today I noticed something weird – I ran ScanDisk from a different drive (I have a CD reader in this PC in addition to the 708UF), and it failed. It showed a lot (over 13%) of damaged areas. But when I ran ScanDisk on the same CD in the 708UF drive, it passed the tests with no errors.

Why would it pass the test on the burner that created it, but fail on another CD drive?

Does this mean I shouldn’t trust ScanDisk? Is there another scan utility that’s better?

And are the damaged areas most likely to be caused by software problems, hardware problems, or the media?

BTW, I do shut down all applications – including virus scanners – when I burn a disk.

I’ve been burning CDs for many years without any problems at all, even using bargain-basement media. I was using a Plextor SCSI CD burner, and would even burn CDs while running other programs, and had a success rate of probably 99%. I can’t get the Plextor SCSI CD burner to work in this PC (which I just got last year), which is one reason I bought the 708UF.

Anyway, I would appreciate any suggestions for troubleshooting the burning problems, including recommendations for the best way to confirm that a burned CD or DVD has no errors.




First thing I would do is sit through a burn and check for a buffer underrun (either or both buffers go down to 0%). They usually aren’t fatal nowadays, but they can definitely reduce write quality and are easy to check for.

Scandisk is definitely not the preferred method for checking write quality. Nero’s data verification is a quick and dirty method, but Nero CD/DVD speed is more useful. I’m not familiar with the Plex line, so I don’t know if your drive supports error testing, but if it does, that’s a place to start. All drives support a transfer rate test- a smooth reading curve is what you are hoping for. Minor variations are OK, especially near the end and if the drive’s max read speed comes out fairly high.

Bad media is a possibility, though the likelihood goes down if you have been having trouble across multiple spindles/packs (especially if you bought them at different times). Check for dark spots, noticeable color striation, and incomplete dye coverage (they are probably easier to spot on the DVDs).

Also- the name on the packaging of CD and DVD media means next to nothing. Download DVDIdentifier or a similar utility and find out the MID- or media ID- code of the discs you are using.


I used to verify with Nero until I found that most of the ‘failures’ were in fact fine. I then got a copy of CDCheck (freeware) & WinDiff (from Microsoft) & did my verifications with these. There seems to be a lot of concern about Nero’s verification & most would recommend not using it. The basic premise must be - if it plays in a standalone player it can’t be too bad. I now do quality checks using Nero CD/DVD Speed & find this perfectly adequate, fortunately I have a spare Liteon DVD Writer that supports the error testing that is mentioned above.



Several suggestions-

First - always use good media - both your HP and TDK medias are rebranded medias and not always “A” Grade - suggest that you use Ritek, Taiyo Yuden, Verbatim or Maxell medias - good vendors are or or

Next - you need to update your Nero (currently at - your 6.3 series is known to be buggy-




I will monitor a burn tonight (after updating Nero as Mike suggested) and see if I get buffer over- or underruns. I thought those would show up on the Nero reports (I always save the reports after burning a disk, but I don’t see any – not sure if this means there were no buffer problems, or that the Nero reports just don’t document them).

Just to clarify how I’m checking the burned disks, I’m using the ScanDisk utility in the Nero Toolkit – in the Nero CD/DVD Speed window, I click on Extra/ScanDisk, and check both the File Test and Surface Scan options.

I do also have Nero verify as part of the burning process, but I don’t trust that verification – it often tells me there’s an error because one or more of the files on my drive are “inaccessible,” which makes no sense.

I don’t know if your drive supports error testing

I’m looking at the Nero CD/DVD Speed options, and there are a lot of different tests listed. Which ones should I try? I did try reading the help files, but it’s pretty confusing. I’m unclear as to which tests to run, and whether to have a blank or recorded disk in the drive while running the tests.

I did run a transfer rate test, and have a feeling that what I’m looking at is not good. Not sure I can figure out how to attach a screen shot.

I installed DVD Identifier and I’m afraid my media’s mediocre. <g> Here are my results:

mfr name: CMC Magnetics Corp.
media type ID: F01

mfr name: TDK Corp
mfr ID: TTG01

I’ve got a boatload of the TDKs (at least 150) – but should I stop using them?




Re the TDK’s - The burn - as shown above - if that is your typical burn - then I would lose the media for sure- what does your Plex Tools tell you about the burns?? My guess would be not so good-

Did you just happen to buy them at Costco??

If so - they will take anything back - even without a receipt - and usually for not specific period of time - may be a way out for you-




I’ve downloaded CDCheck and will try it.

I now do quality checks using Nero CD/DVD Speed

Can you please tell me which quality checks to run? I get confused with all the options. I’ve been using the ScanDisk found under Extras in the CD/DVD Speed window, but what REALLY confuses me is that I get different results for the same disk depending upon which drive I use for running the test. Is that normal?

FWIW, although I use Nero’s verification option when I burn a disk, I don’t rely on it.




I’ll update Nero tonight.

Thanks for the media links – looks like has a hot deal on the Taiyo Yudens that expires today, so I should probably jump on it. Are those the correct type (Media ID: TYG01)?

what does your Plex Tools tell you about the burns?

I’m not finding PlexTools. Maybe they’re on a CD that came with the drive, or can be downloaded from the Plextor site. I will investigate this tonight.

And thanks for the reminder about Costco’s liberal return policy. I’ll have to check my records, but I know at least some of those TDKs came from Costco, and are still unopened. Should I try to return the TDK CDs as well as the DVDs?



I NEVER rely on “quality” tests. If the disc reads fine (smooth graph) under DVD Speed test, then it’s a good burn. Oh yes, I always use Made in Japan media and burn at 4X. In the long run, this is the most efficient and cost-effective method of backing-up data. NO COASTER, ever!



Check your TDK CD’s thru Nero Info Tools - if they have a Ritek MID code - then I would keep them as those are hella good - If they don’t - return them also-

btw At Costco - you can return opened items also - just tell them that you found out that they are Crap Media - they’ll give you back your money-




By “DVD Speed test,” do you mean transfer rate test (in the Nero Toolkit)?

Or is there some other speed test I should be using?




Check your TDK CD’s thru Nero Info Tools - if they have a Ritek MID code - then I would keep them

Cool! I checked, and they ARE Riteks. So I assume they are keepers.

I ordered Taiyo Yuden DVDs on Thursday from In the meantime, I updated Nero to the latest version, and burned a DVD last on an HP blank. I’ll attach the Transfer Rate Test result.

Does this graph look okay?




Looks good to me - glad to hear that the TDK’s are Ritek MIDs - those are very good medias-
but don’t burn above 32x IMO to get best burn (only takes a few seconds longer anyway)-

You’re gonna love those TY’s




>>don’t burn above 32x IMO to get best burn<<

I always do burn at 32x or slower. I have noticed that sometimes I get a message that the burn will be done at a significantly lower speed (as low as 4x!) because of the source drive. Maybe that happens if I’m burning files that are fragmented? Guess it’s time to defrag that drive again.

One more question I have not been able to find an answer to…

I’m using Nero’s Tookit/CD-DVD Speed\Extra\ScanDisk\File Test and Surface Scan after I burn each CD (or DVD). But even if a CD scans with no errors in Nero, if I try to run the same scan with the CD in a different drive (other than the burner it was created in), the scan often reports a large number of damaged areas.

So I don’t know what to believe. Is it more reliable to scan a disk in the burner that created it? Or should I be getting the same results no matter what drive I use when running the scan?

Also, should I routinely run the transfer rate test (or any other Nero Toolkit test) after burning a disk?




I would scan in the burner that created it - unless you have a Lite-On burner and can do a k-probe test-




I only have the Plextor 708UF (for burning DVDs, anyway – I also have a couple of other CD burners in other computers).

I might buy another DVD burner for another computer – is Lite-On a good choice (as good as Plextor)?



Yes, the one in Nero.


Boo hoo. The Taiyo Yuden DVDs I ordered got here today, and I just finished burning my first one.

Nero burned it with no errors (at least there were no error messages), but when I ran the Nero File Test/Surface Scan, it said there were “.35% unreadable areas” – there were three red squares at the end of the “map.”

It gets worse – I ran the transfer rate test, and the results are below.

Now I don’t know what to think. I assume the Taiyos are beyond reproach, so I guess the problem isn’t media.

I’ve been burning CDs with no problem since I updated Nero to the latest version, using TDK blanks. It’s just DVDs I can’t burn successfully.

What should I do next? I’m flippin’ out about not being able to burn DVDs.



Hey Mallomar. What are your other system specs. Processor? HD’s, Memory?
Have your tried shutting down all non-essential background tasks (virus scan, firewall software, etc…), before burning? Also, you might want to try booting up into safe mode with cd/dvd support, and see if your results change. One thing that is very important, is to make sure that you don’t burn your image to or from the same drive that has your operating system on it. Not a big deal for CD’s, but a really big deal for DVD’s.


I have dual processors (2.00 GHz, IIRC). 1.5 GB of RAM. Four SCSI HDs (2 Cheetahs and 2 IBM Ultrastars), one internal Western Digital IDE drive (250GB 7200rpm), one external Seagate USB (200 GB).

I have Norton Antivirus AutoProtect turned OFF (I do manual scans) – don’t see anything in my list of processes that looks like Norton, so I’m not sure how to shut down any part of NAV that might be running in the background. I do suspect something is running in the background, since I got a trojan alert from Norton yesterday. But I don’t know how to shut it all down.

I do have EndItAll, and might try running that before my next attempt to burn a DVD.

I do run Zone Alarm, and will shut it down when I try to do another DVD burn tonight.

I never burn anything from my C:\ drive. I only burn from my data drives. And one thing I learned was that I cannot burn data from my external USB hard drive – maybe because the burner is also a USB device.

I don’t know how to boot into safe mode with cd/dvd support. My burner is a 708UF, and I don’t know if/how a USB device runs in safe mode.