Windows 8.x compatibility

Recently did a test install of Windows 8.1 on an old Asus netbook that came with Windows XP. I used my trusty old (8 yrs) NEC ND-6650A slimline drive in an external USB enclosure that has been passed around through many machines over the years. It has always performed great, as long as I didn’t try to burn the Ritek DVD media that aren’t in its strategy table.

Then the time came that I had to burn a DVD, and I’m puzzled by what happened next.

With the blank DVD-R loaded, the desktop icon in My Computer showed it as a DVD drive, containing a disc "0 bytes, 0 bytes free). Since that was obviously wrong I tried 3 different portableized disc burning programs. They all failed with some kind of media error, in the same way.

Although they read the media type and capacity correctly, the only burning speed you could choose was 24X (or “maximum”) as though the software believed it was a CDR blank instead of a DVD.

So I swapped drives to a recent vintage Lite-On in an external enclosure, and using the exact same software, everything worked normally. The desktop icon identified the DVD-R and capacity correctly, and the burning software let me choose 8X or below. The disc burned fine.

So: what exactly is involved in Windows 8.x compability, and what is it that the NEC’s firmware is doing WRONG that makes the OS and burning software get its current status so inaccurately?