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Real newbie: getting a DVD writer to work.

Hi all, I've never used a DVD writer before and the one I have is OEM so has no instructions.  Would anyone be willing to help me work out how to write files onto it?

It is an NEC 3500A dual layer DVD re-writer.  It's seems to have installed fine. All I want to do is copy a directory across using windows explorer.  I am using Sony 4.7Gb DVD-rw disks.

I'm dragging the file across onto the DVD drive in windows explorer.  Then I go to the drive and right click and choose the option "write these files to the CD".  The progress bar goes up to 100% but then at the end it says "cannot complete the write".  I've tried 3 disks and they all get the same result.  

Anyone have any ideas?  I don't have to format the disks first or something do I?
4 Solutions
Don't you have a dvd writer software, like nero,...?
First of all you need to check if your device is detected in the BIOS.
Enter BIOS by (usually pressing F2 during startup) and then make sure your device is listed.
A good practice when using any optical device is to set this to either Primary Master or Secondary Master as this can increase stability slightly.
Then go and check if the device is detected in your device manager, usually Control Panel -> Settings -> System or similar.
Go to your hardware manufacturers website, i.e NEC and download a firmware update for your drive.

If you are using Windows XP you might have problems with the ASPI layers as Microsoft included poor support for this in their release, for more information: http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/~aa571/aspi.htm

Hope you find this useful,
You have to have writing software.  NERO is a common one that comes with PC's, also Roxio.  If the DVD Writer came OEM odds are that you have the software on your machine and just didn't recognize it.  Both of these programs are very user friendly and self explanatory.  If your machine didn't come with software try going to www.tucows.com and you can find shareware, freeware, and demos to try and pick some software.
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DawkinsAuthor Commented:
I've installed some software called WinDVD that came with the motherboard, but can I not just drag and drop in windows explorer?  Do I have to go through the writing software user interface?
Depends on the software.  Some of them support the drag and drop feature, others don't.  If it does support drag and drop you will have to "format" your DVD first, then you will be able to drag and drop.

WinDVD is an application for playing commercial DVD's, not burning them. Did your DVD burner come with any other software? If not I'd go to http://www.nero.com/us/neroue-prog.php and give the trial version of Nero a try.
Like you are being told above, you should understand some things...
There must be a program running to allow your DVDRW to be used as a "harddisk" (drag and drop functionality). Nero, Roxio, B.H.A. are some commercial programs that do that. Nero isnt that expensive and is an excellent choice (you can buy online if you wish). If you dont have a little icon in the task bar of windows (beside the clock) that is running to allow you to use the DVD RW as a "harddisk", then you shouldnt be able to.

To write files to the DVD (same as burning a CD) you also need software to do that. Even if you have an OEM drive, they usually come with at least a lite version to do all of this.. so I am wondering if you actually have a program that does it. Nero would do everything you need, if you dont, and I find it is fairly easy to operate for those that arent all that familiar with doing this.

Windvd (as chuckrox stated) will only play movies.

Any answer further than this will be a bit complicated, so I will leave it at that.

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