WinXP - built-in burner cannot write, other tools get incorrect drive settings

I am facing a problem that has been plaguing (in various guises) this community for quite a while.

In short, the XP burning utility built in Windows Explorer has suddenly become incapable of writing CD medium. Other freeware tools can burn, but do not get correct information about the optical drive capabilities, and seem unable to control its writing speed.

Computer: DELL D530 with Windows XP SP2.
Optical drive: HL-DT-ST-CDRW/DVD-GCCT10N (LGE product, I gather), rated to write CD-R at 24x and CD-RW at 10x. No additional burning tool installed.

The whole configuration worked perfectly with the XP burner initially. The exact moment the problem appeared is unknown.

  1. WinXP only recognizes the drive as a CD-ROM. Attempts to write result in an error “D:\ is not accessible. Incorrect function.”

  2. Solution attempt. Looking into the Microsoft knowledge base, specifically:
    316529 - CD-R drive or CD-RW drive is not recognized as a recordable device
    324129 - How to troubleshoot issues that occur when you write data to a CD-R or CD-RW optical disc in Windows XP
    314060 - Your CD drive or DVD drive is missing or is not recognized by Windows or other programs
    Following manipulations helped:
    a) change the registry so that the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CD Burning\Drives\Volume{…} to drive type 2 instead of 3.
    b) This made it possible to have the “Recording” tab appear in the properties of the drive (absent previously), and to tick the box “enable CD recording”.
    c) Restarting the IMAPI service (which was set to “automatic” but did not start by itself).

  3. Now when inserting a blank medium (mainly CD-RW TDK 700MB rated 4x-12x, and also CD-R Kodak Ultima-80 rated 32x), the medium is unrecognized by the XP burning utility. Error message: “there is no disc in drive D please insert a writable CD”. On the other hand, already written media can be read without problem.

  4. In the “properties” of the drive, the only speeds listed are 1x and Fastest; all other options present before the problem appeared (4x, 8x, etc) are omitted.

  5. Solution attempt. The additional techniques in point (2) do not solve the problem:
    a) upper and lower filters were already absent from the registry;
    b) uninstalling and reinstalling (after reboot) the driver of the device.
    c) A solution proposed in another forum is to uninstall and reinstall the driver for the primary IDE channel. I did not attempt this – especially since my management console indicates two primary IDE channels (with only one enabled).

  1. Solution attempt. Install a third-party software.
    a) ImgBurn 2.4.4.0: can read and write CD-RW medium. One can choose various speeds from the burn menu (tried with 4x and 6x), but the device always writes the CD-RW at 10x!
    b) DeepBurner Free 1.9.0.228: can read and write CD-RW medium, but only at 10x. No other speed available.
    c) InfraRecorder 0.462: can read and write CD-RW medium, but only at 10x. No other speed available.
    d) CDBurnerXP 4.2.4.1420: can read and write CD-RW medium. Speed selection is limited to 10x for the CD-RW, and to 10x and 4x for the CD-R!
    In all cases, burns were successful (with post-burn verification).

  2. Solution attempt. A couple more of unsuccessful tweaks:
    a) The DELL diagnostics utility returned a “pass” for the optical drive.
    b) CDR media code identifier 1.63 is unable to find a recording device to read the ATIP of a blank CD-R medium.
    c) Uninstalling some Microsoft updates related to Explorer and Windows Media Player did not bring anything.
    d) “Safely removing” the combo drive from the laptop and re-inserting it returned the whole system to the situation in (1) above!

  3. Conclusion.
    Since third-party tools can read and write with the optical drive, but do not get correct information on the available speeds nor control the speed of the device, whereas XP itself can read but not burn at all and gets oddly reset (see 7.c), I can only surmise the following causes:
    a) A subtle corruption of Windows-specific settings or component (which ones?)
    b) Somehow the drive has become faulty and is no longer interfacing properly with the OS.

Any information leading to a solution or at least a diagnostic would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

I am facing a problem that has been plaguing (in various guises) this community for quite a while.

The problem usually seems to focus on the Hitachi, made to Dell specs, OEM drives.

I would go with:

b) Somehow the drive has become faulty and is no longer interfacing properly with the OS.

Seeing as you’ve tried everything in the book.

If you plan on doing any significant amount of burning a new full size external would be advisable. Lite-on makes a cheapy:

Hi and Welcome![QUOTE=casays;2305774]I am facing a problem that has been plaguing (in various guises) this community for quite a while.

(long, very detailled description snipped)
8. Conclusion.
Since third-party tools can read and write with the optical drive, but do not get correct information on the available speeds nor control the speed of the device, whereas XP itself can read but not burn at all and gets oddly reset (see 7.c), I can only surmise the following causes:
a) A subtle corruption of Windows-specific settings or component (which ones?)
b) Somehow the drive has become faulty and is no longer interfacing properly with the OS.

Any information leading to a solution or at least a diagnostic would be greatly, greatly appreciated.[/QUOTE]
I’d try these tests for final diagnostics:

[list=1.][li] borrow an external burner and see if there is the same issue
[/li][li]Is your laptop able to boot from an USB stick?
[/li]If so, you may try this:
Go to www.sidux.com and download the Live CD image. Burn this to CD-R (or -RW) using Imgburn. Boot from that disc and then insert an USB stick with at least 1GB storage. Note, this will be entirely wiped in the next step.
Sidux has a built-in “install-sidux-to-usb” accessible within the start menu. Run this and follow the instructions given.
When you’re ready, shut down and remove the CD when prompted. Let the USB drive inserted. Now restart and press F12 to invoke the boot menu. Select the USB drive and go ahead.
Sidux comes with K3B, a CD/DVD burning application with graphical user interface. This will allow you to test drive your burner from a clean OS environment. Please also try different brands of blank discs.
[/list]

[QUOTE=MysticEyes;2305841]
If you plan on doing any significant amount of burning a new full size external would be advisable. Lite-on makes a cheapy:
[/QUOTE]Full size external: Yay! Liteon: Nay, especially since CD application seems to matter.

Michael

Following the very helpful suggestions made by mciahel, I looked at the following:

a) Installed Sidux on a USB-stick, booted the machine and launched KD3. The CD-burning utility recognizes the CD-RW drive.

b) Attempted to use the utility with a large variety of media (old and new, cheap and expensive, various manufacturers, CD-R and CD-RW). First results:
CD-RW 1x-4x => speed set at 4x
CD-RW 2x-4x => speed set at 4x
CD-RW 4x-10x => speed set at 10x
CD-R 1x-8x => speed set at 4x
CD-R 1x-12x => speeds at 4x, 10x
CD-R 1x-24x => speeds at 4x, 10x
By then I was convinced something looked wrong with the drive – it could never overcome 10x as writing speed, even for good quality CD-R, although it was rated up to 24x in DELL documentation. I then tested with some recent cheap platters:
CD-R 1x-52x => speeds at 4x,10x,16x,24x
I then looked at some cheap older CD-R:
CD-R 1x-32x => speeds at 4x,10x,16x,24x
CD-R 1x-24x => speeds at 4x,10x,16x,24x

c) This looked like a writing strategy, not an error. Hunting down the data sheet for the specific model of drive, I found out that 4x,10x,16x,24x are indeed the speeds the drive is programmed to select amongst to burn CD-R and CD-RW. Apparently, it just cannot handle media with phtalocyanine dye and gold layer at the higher speeds.

d) ImgBurn can address the drive at different level (Windows drive letter, device interface, SPTI class). Checking again with these different settings resulted in a consistent and correct writing behaviour, which strongly suggested that the fault resides in the built-in burning utility of Windows.

e) A call to the support service of DELL, after a thorough discussion of the symptoms and analyses, confirmed that this is a Windows issue. I was strongly encouraged to rely upon a good CD/DVD burning software (Roxio was not recommended). If I absolutely wanted to use the utility built in Windows Explorer, only a full re-installation of the system would help.

So that is it: the burning utility of Windows is brittle software. Perhaps a summary of the situation is worth putting in some FAQ – wandering through the Internet I found out that it has been a very common, annoying, puzzling and unsolved bug for many people for quite some time.

Now, if somebody could tell me why ImgBurn presents that wonderful set of possible writing speeds when the software is perfectly aware that the drive cannot function with all of them…