External DVD+-RAM Dillemma

By lledrew ·
Ok, so here's the story:

I needed to backup my data on my computer (OS=XP) and I was without a writable DVD drive, so I bit the bullet and ponied up the cash to buy an external usb DVD+-Ram drive. Appeared to be pretty decent; +R, -R, and -Ram compatible with lightscribe capability... up to 20x. Should do what it's supposed to.

I got it home, set it up and tried to burn. First thing I noticed was that it was writing at a very, very, very slow speed, and with erratic speeding up/slowing down of the disc while writing. The software was set at a 16x rate... I figured I'd see what happened, because it was more important for me to be able to write the discs than to write them quickly. but it wouldn't complete a session... so I decided to use the version of the software that came with the drive - no dice.

re-checked the sys reqirements, and found that everything was fine, but I kinda attributed the slow speeds to me having usb 1.0 ports (which are supported).

I scoured the 'net for burning apps, and ran into issues with pretty much all of 'em... found one that would burn data, but when I tried dvd images it would fail... I finally stumbled across "JetBee" which allowed me to burn whatever I wanted, with no problem albeit still slower than it should've been - a full data disc would take approx 2 hours to complete without data verification being performed.

So it was doing what I needed, until lately, when I ran out of the DVD-R's that I had been using (Kodak). I began using Memorex DVD-R's of which I have an abundance, and the performance of the drive has pretty much returned to its previous state. At first I blamed it on the type of disc (although it didn't make much sense because they are both -R's and the drive is manufactured by memorex..), but now I believe it was just a co-incidence, and the problem lies deeper.

I've recently noticed that the drive no longer appears in "My Computer" but is present and appears to be fine in Device Manager. It also was picked up fine when I reinstalled it.

So I was curious, & attempted to read a DVD-R that had been previously written, and no autorun appeared, nor did the icon in My Computer... So I attempted to access the drive by using "run" and was given an error message reading something to the effect of "There is no file association present for this file type. Create one in Folder Options of the control panel"

I'm hoping for an easy fix here... I really don't wanna have to reformat my computer, just to see if it'll work, unless I have to - hoping that'll be the last resort.

So I'm stumped, and beyond frustrated.. Pleaase someone help me.

Thanks so much, in advance :)

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All Answers

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Your USB is not helping your problem...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to External DVD+-RAM Dillemm ...

Without knowing the spec for your system, I am still tempted to ask why you opted for an external drive, rather than an internal one?

"I kinda attributed the slow speeds to me having usb 1.0 ports (which are supported)"

Clearly an internal DVD drive would have avoided your current USB 1.0 problem. Due to your USB situation, any and all speed capabilities marked on the drive OR claimed by the software(s) go out the window since they all assume USB 2 to be present.

Also, the speed difference between USB1 and USB2 is geometric, so USB1 is vastly slower than USB2.

"So it was doing what I needed, until lately, when I ran out of the DVD-R's that I had been using (Kodak). I began using Memorex DVD-R's of which I have an abundance"

Again, in the same vein I am tempted to ask, if you didn't have a prior DVD writer how did you have an abundance of DVD-Rs?

Despite what you may think, personal experience has led me to the irrefutable conclusion that the make of optical media DOES INDEED make a big difference whether discs are compatible or not.

"I've recently noticed that the drive no longer appears in "My Computer" but is present and appears to be fine in Device Manager. It also was picked up fine when I reinstalled it."

How are you connecting this DVD drive? Is it connected at all times, during boot and shutdown? Irrespective of whether it "appears to be fine in Device Manager" it is nevertheless a USB device - Device Manager only lists the Drivers. Perhaps the drive NOT APPEARING in My Computer is more important.

Which of your unmentioned software packages were responsible for burning the now unreadable disc? Was it a backup program? If so, perhaps you should try accessing the disc from inside the backup program.

As an aside, you could always install a USB 2.0 PCI card - this link to Google will help:


Good luck!

<Edited for typo>

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My Fault For Not Being Clear...

by lledrew In reply to Your USB is not helping y ...

At the risk of making my post lengthy, I guess I sacrificed some important details.

As I said, I was willing to accept a loss of burning speed, at the expense of having a working writable drive, so whether it takes me 20 minutes or 2 hours doesn't really matter that much to me. I was unaware that the difference between 1 and 2 is geometric! thank you.. it reaffirms what I believed to be true in the beginning. that being said, I bought an external usb drive because I have a laptop (which I see you have assumed) and it was much more readily available to me, than any other option.

I had an abundance of DVD-R's because prior to purchasing my external drive, I had a roomate, and our network allowed me to utilize his computer (and burner) - which was very convenient for me, until we both moved out. Thus I was left with excess DVD-R's.

I'd agree with you about the optical media making a difference, given MY personal experience as well. I just found it difficult to believe that a company would make a writable drive that was unable to write on their own writable discs... as I'm sure you do too.

The DVD drive is connected primarily for burning, and is usually disconnected otherwise.

Thanks for the suggestion about the PCI card - thought about it myself, but wasn't sure it'd be worth the investment.

And also thank you for the response, and help - although, I'm hopeful I may have resolved my issue myself already.

I at least now have an Icon and am able to read discs. I dabbled into my registry and removed a LowerFilters value (there was no UpperFilters value present) and rebooted. Ta-Dah! I had my icon. I will now attempt to burn to see if my luck has once again reversed.

Thanks again, Cheers.

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Still Not Workin'...

by lledrew In reply to My Fault For Not Being Cl ...

The attempt to burn after restoring my My Computer Icon has failed. Project began burning (with erratic disc speed, causing irregular sounds) and failed after about 40% completetion.

Any Suggestions?

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Let's try some other things then . . .

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Still Not Workin'...

How did you get your DVD drive icon back? Was it just by fiddling with the Registry Filters?

As a point of information: Burning a DVD is NOT controlled by the drive nor by the OS. It is controlled by the burning program. Which one are you using?

Actually I didn't assume you had a laptop, I thought you had a tower unit, Nevertheless you can get a PCMCIA to USB2 laptop card for very little money. Here's an example:


Post back with your burning software.

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The brand of optical media means absolutely nothing...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Still Not Workin'...

In most cases - because there are vastly more brand names stamped on blank optical discs than there are manufacturers.

Check this link for details:


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I think we've narrowed it down..

by lledrew In reply to The brand of optical medi ...

I'm now thinking it HAS to be the type of discs... it's too coincidental for the drive to stop burning as soon as I ran out of the previous type.

I did restore my icon by tampering with the registry - it now appears to be reading discs without a problem.

I'm still using "JetBee" to burn - as it was the only app I could find that would actually completely work for me.

I am going out to buy new discs later today, and I'll see how those work out.

Very interesting link regarding the outsourcing of disc manufacturing... I guess optical media is produced just like anything else in the world - as cheaply as possible.

I've identified the manufacturer of the discs as being CMC.. some of these are known for lacking writability... presumeably I find myself with a spindle full of mini frisbee's. Ha! Thanks for the info - I'll let you know how it goes :)

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External drives are a mess

by Dr Dij In reply to External DVD+-RAM Dillemm ...

I got a Sony external USB DVD drive. It works but writes very slow (and I'm on USB 2). And if finishing is important to you, it won't always finish. Helps if I reboot 1st and have nothing open.

I gave up and got an internal one. ALso major brand DVD-R media is often full of crud - defects, etc and won't work.

FOr backups for your self if possible get the dvd writer that came with your laptop. Unless it is one without an internal drive available.

In that case you should get an external hard drive and copy the files to it or copy when you are plugged into a network.

You can always get a newer laptop, mine cost $400 two years ago and walmart and zonbu.com have dirt cheap ones.

And for media use DVD +RW if supoorted or DVD -RW. they are not that expensive and they are reusable and I've found much more reliable. +RW doesn't need to be finalized.

I use them in my camcorder also.

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