Slow performance copying large files from CD/DVD

I have a problem with large files which I have burned onto CD and DVD on two different burners.

I have a Dell Inspiron 5100 with built in CD burner/DVD reader (Samsung) and USB2 DVD burner (Toshiba in Freecom USB box). I burned the disks using diffferent packages: Nero 5 and Roxio 6, mainly.

I am running Windows XP with 768MB RAM.

The files burn OK onto CD or DVD. The problem comes when trying to read them back - the same problem, whether I use the internal drive or the external one.

I have two large file sizes: 40MB (monochrome photos) and 120MB (colour photos). 40MB reads and copies to HDD without problems. 120MB is very slow. The CD player makes a lot of noise, like it is “hunting” or retrying.

Typically, it can take 10 minutes to copy a single 120MB file onto hard disk. The 40MB files copy in a matter of seconds.

I have been using CD burners for many years in conjunction with my photography, but only recently in such large file sizes. I am completely stumped by this problem.

Does anyone have any ideas why the file size should make such a difference to performance?

Mark Fisher

First, let me say that if your drive has just recently started making those loud noises, don’t trust it.


Are you using CD-R or CD-RW media?

What brand (tdk, memorex, etc…) are you using, and who manufactures it (CMC, Mitsubishi Chem., Taiyo Yuden, etc…)

What speed are you burning at? Have you tried burning at slower speeds?

Are you burning multisession discs?

Have you run scandisk & defragmented your hard(s) drive recently?

How full is your hard drive?

Have you tried running a transfer rate test using CDSpeed?


Try different media

Check if the files on the CD have any problems -

Check the problematic files (if they are still on your hard disk) by opening them in an image editor.

One (or more) of your drives have reverted to using PIO or multiword DMA instead of UDMA.

Try using the command prompt (Win2k/XP) to copy the files/folders instead of Window Explorer.

…Well, those are what I can think of off the top of my head. Good Luck!