Ok, there are tons of threads on NEC burners, I had a problem with mine. My solution although I swear I had updated the FW was to go to Softpedia and search through the NEC Firmware section.
I have a NEC ND-3520a
There were 2 different FW Flash Updates. I picked the Newest one which showed 3.07 and showed up as NEC ND-3520A/AG 3.07.
Windows showed that the current version was 1.04 so immediately I realized maybe I had used a flash update that didn't work before.
Suddenly, after the flash software forces a power down (maybe fixed the mistake I made of NOT powering down?), I power back up and Windows redetects the drive, it still said Found New Hardware CD Drive, but I went to Nero and tried to burn a DVD for the 5th time and it went to the 16x (Max of the DVD inside the drive) instead of the (8x then telling me illegal disk/format, etc.)
And yes, this drive has been working for many years with no problems, maybe Windows update is not letting this drive be used with old firmware? Who knows. Even IMGBurn had the problem, so some of you may have newer Firmware but not the NEWEST.
Good luck, this was a real downer for many months as I did not have a lot of time to troubleshoot this and get it working again. The problem does not seem to be drive specific as I only found my way to this forum when leaving out the model number and saw all kinds of models of NEC drives with this problem. I also tried uninstalling the Secondary IDE Channels but they just reinstalled while I was messing around the first few reboots. After the flash, they updated on their own so this seems to be the best solution for me anyway and I assume that the drives are coming out in droves with stock (old) firmware.