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"Finalize disc" should be the default option.
May 16, 2007 7:45 PM   Subscribe

My backup DVDs don't work.

I just reinstalled Windows only to discover that the drive won't read the backup DVDs I burned. (It acts as if no disc has been inserted.) My wife's computer won't read them either; I was using DropToCD and I'm worried that I didn't have "finalize disc (close)" checked.

I may be off base on this; the finalize disc theory is just my best guess.

*Something* has been burned to these DVDs. I can see the lines on the back. Is there any way to get at these files?
posted by BackwardsCity to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
 
Did you reinstall DropToCD? I think often times the DVD/CD's created by those programs aren't readable unless you have that program installed, unless you finalize the disc.
posted by mattdini at 8:49 PM on May 16, 2007


I've done it. DropToCD doesn't see any files, nor does any other program (ImgBurn, etc).
posted by BackwardsCity at 8:52 PM on May 16, 2007


Hmm.. let's see..

You tried another DVD drive (is it a different brand?), update DVD drive firmware? drivers? You could try booting into a linux boot CD, see if that can read it.

Maybe a program like http://www.blindwrite.com/ could help?
posted by mattdini at 9:05 PM on May 16, 2007


I know this is too little too late, but this is a good reminder to the rest of us that you should always test your backups after you make them.

Also, the best way to reinstall windows is to a fresh new drive, so that you can mount the old one as a non-boot drive and transfer everything over once you're sure the installation is a success.

So, a couple of quick things:

1. Don't rely on the results of your test on your wife's computer unless her drive can read other discs you've burnt on your computer in the past;

2. If the data is truly there, your best chance for recovery will be on your machine (or another machine using your DVD drive), since it's not uncommon for discs burnt on one drive to be unreadable on others.

3. Finally, try to burn a new DVD on your computer using the same brand/type of discs, then try to read that data on both computers. The results will tell you a lot -- if you can burn/read back on both computers, the problem is probably your backup software. If you can't burn at all, don't worry about your backups until you can burn/read successfully (look to drivers and whatnot.) If you can burn, but can't read back, your drive probably has issues -- and you probably don't have any data on those backups.

Good luck, and don't be afraid to enlist the help of a Unix-type person who can scan the raw data on the disc just to see if there is any at all in the first place.
posted by davejay at 10:37 PM on May 16, 2007


3. Finally, try to burn a new DVD on your computer using the same brand/type of discs, then try to read that data on both computers. The results will tell you a lot -- if you can burn/read back on both computers, the problem is probably your backup software. If you can't burn at all, don't worry about your backups until you can burn/read successfully (look to drivers and whatnot.) If you can burn, but can't read back, your drive probably has issues -- and you probably don't have any data on those backups.

This is where I got with Toshiba Tech Support around midnight last night when I remembered that I'd had a very similar problem last time they did a re-install. Toshiba come bundled with Sonic DLA, which is supposed to be compatible with DVD-Rs, but it isn't.

My computer can't read *any* DVD-Rs, either the backup discs (which I think I really did forget to close) or ones that I know work because I'd used them on computers without DropToCD installed.

So there's still hope that I can get my data back. I just have to remember what I did to the computer in the first place to allow it to read DVD-Rs.

Thanks everyone! If I can't remember what I did, I'll be back soon to ask what I should do to remove DLA.
posted by BackwardsCity at 5:08 AM on May 17, 2007


DropToCD and its kind are evil... the reason being that they don't usually write when you drag stuff, they just buffer it all up somewhere until you "finalize". In some cases you can remove the disc, put it back in and it will look like the data is there... except that it's coming from the cache because DropToCD recognised the disc serial number.

For making backups, you should always use a real standalone disc-burning program and verify your discs on another machine. Or at least read the discs back in their entirety and ensure that the data is coming from the drive (light is on, copy rate is 2-10MB/s not 20-60MB/s).

And for the other kinds of disaster, Parchive/Quickpar are your friends if you plan ahead and include some redundancy on the backups.
posted by polyglot at 7:06 PM on May 19, 2007


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