Creating DVD "Coasters"

Question

I burned a DVD for a friend with a bunch of vacation pictures on it and they can’t get it to work. They can see the files and sometimes the thumbnails but they can’t copy anything off. What am I doing wrong?

- Anne

Answer

This question was answered on September 14, 2006. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The likelihood that you are doing something wrong is low, especially if you were able to read the disks before you sent them off Its more likely that you are experiencing the mess that has been created by yet another format war in technology.

Much like the old Beta vs VHS video tape format battle that went on in the 70s and 80s, there are competing standards for DVD burning Knowing the difference between the formats in video tape was easy because the cassettes where different sizes, but knowing the difference between two burned DVDs is much more difficult

The competing DVD formats use the same form factor, but they wont necessarily be readable just because they fit in your drive tray Its important that you know the format of the burning drive, the format of the disk itself and the format of the reading drive.

The two primary camps are DVD-R and DVD R and most of the time the type is stamped on blank DVDs and on the front of the tray of the drives.

If you were buying a DVD burner today, it would likely be capable of burning (and reading) disks in both standards, but if your burner is a year old or older, you may have a single format drive.

The biggest problem is that many DVD playback drives (in PCs especially) can have a problem reading disks that were burned on another system.

If you have determined that you have a dual format burner, try burning the disk in the other format If you can only burn in one of the formats, you may want to adjust your burn speed.

The burn speed in both DVDs and CDs can sometimes impact the readability on other systems, especially if you are using lower quality media Some burning programs will also try to burn disks at a speed higher than the media is rated.

Burn speeds are usually represented as a number with an x behind it, such as 16x or 48x Try reducing the burn speed to half the setting of which the media is rated It will take twice as long to burn but could improve readability.

Its also possible you did not close the session on the disk before you sent it off, meaning it can only be read by the drive that is in the middle of creating it Most programs will automatically close the session, but depending upon the circumstances, it may not have completed

If none of these options is working, you may want to consider sticking with CD-Rs for sending other users your images or any form of data files Though it will take more disks, CDs have a single standard and tend to be much more universal Its a solid alternative to creating coasters for your friends as long as youre not trying to create an actual DVD movie disk.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on September 14, 2006