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Unable to read CD-RW's : UDFREADER

Posted on 2005-03-18
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I used Direct CD to format a CD-RW. It seemed to work great. Now the PC's at my school's computer lab have changed. It appears that they have gone from CD Rom to DVD rom's in the new machines. When I try to look at my old CD's all I see is E:\UDFREADER.  How am I going to be able to see the data again?
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Question by:Brian_Blair
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11 Comments
 
LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 200 total points
ID: 13574320
Try using IsoBuster to read them: www.isobuster.com
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Author Comment

by:Brian_Blair
ID: 13574848
Yes - I can definately see the files by using BadCopy, Isobuster or CD Roller software. I have to  buy the software in order to save them. Isn't there another way for me to recover here? I am not even sure what I have done wrong. The old PC had roxio installed. The new PC's have roxio installed and a more functional CD/DVD hardware. Yet I can't read the CD any more.

I have also installed every Adeptec Roxio UDF reader driver I could find online. Stil no dice.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 13575313
Burned CD-RW's are sometimes very picky about what can read them, and only the original drive would be guaranteed to work.  I'm pretty sure if you tried burning to a plain old CD-R, there would be less hassle.  DirectCD is known to have compatability issues when using anything other than the original drive.
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

by:
Watzman earned 1100 total points
ID: 13579930

Ok, first comment:  DO NOT USE UDF.  That implies do not use Direct CD.  At all.  never. period.

There are 3 ways to burn a CD in Windows:

1.  Open an application and explicitly create and burn a CD.  By an "Application", I mean Roxio (Easy CD Creator) or Nero.  The CD that you create in this manner is "ISO Standard" and generally can be read more or less anywhere.

2.  Use a UDF application, also known as "packet writing".  The CD that's created is totally non-standard, and in the most general case can't be read on any computer that doesn't have the same software on it that was used to create the CD.  To write such disks, you use the UDF module that is supplied with the major applications (Roxio calls it "Direct CD" or, more recently, "Drag to disc", Nero calls it InCD and others have their own names for it).  To read such discs, remember, the discs are NOT "ISO Standard" and can't automatically be read "just by the operating system", so you need to read them, ideally, on the same computer that they were written on.  Alternatively, you should be able to read them on another computer IF it has the SAME SOFTWARE on it that was present on the computer on which they were written.  And, finally, there are some "supposedly universal" UDF readers.  BUT NONE OF THESE WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE PRESENT ON ANY SYSTEM.

3.  Windows XP has it's own writing system, you drag the files to be written to the CD drive, then at some later time, you "burn" the CD (it's not automatically burned at the time of the drag).  What actually happens is that they make a copy of the file(s) or folder(s) in a reserved area on the hard drive until you do the burn, then they burn it all at once.  The actual code that they use is licensed from Roxio and is the same low-leve code as Easy CD Creator, but without the user interface.  It makes an ISO standard CD, however.

UDF writing was created to shield the user from the complexity of a full-fledged burning application, howver in my personal opinon, it is an utter abomination that produces non-standard discs and that has all kinds of compatability and reliability problems.  Personally, I not only don't use, I don't even install it when I'm installing a burning package (it's installed by default, but you can un-check it if you don't want it).

Also, for what it's worth, CD-RW media itself is unstable and has very poor long-term reliability.  This may or may not matter to you, but basically, it "fades" and the data is quite often lost, over a period of weeks to months.  Thus, in general, not only should UDF not be used, but in my view, CD-RW media also should not be used.  Fortunately, CD-R media is usually available "free after rebate", and even before rebate for only a few cents per disc.  So cost should not be an issue.

To get back to your current dilema, however, in order to read these discs, you are going to have to read them on a machine that a UDF reader, and preferably the ROXIO UDF reader.  Now the good news, I strongly suspect that the folder that you do see, E:\UDFREADER, ***IS*** a reader program that Roxio puts on all of their UDF CDs in a form that will be "seen" by a system with only ISO capability.  So, I'm guessing, if you go into that folder ("E:\UDFREADER"), you will probably find a reader that you can install on the target machine, after which I think that, using that reader program, you will be able to READ (only read, not write) the contents of that CD.  But do it soon, because they are CD-RW's, and as I mentioned, they have a chemical instability that causes data fading, not withstaning the matter of whether or not they were written as UDF or ISO media.
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LVL 19

Assisted Solution

by:Barthax
Barthax earned 200 total points
ID: 13583462
ISOBuster was originally shareware is remains available for free download under the shareware licence if you have a quick search for it.

ISOBuster will allow you to create the ISO image of the disc.  Then you can use a Virtual CD driver software such as Daemon Tools (it's free) to 'mount' the image and get at your files.

Daemon Tools: http://www.daemon-tools.cc/
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13584097

No you can't do that.  It's called "ISObuster" for a reason, and this is ***NOT*** and "ISO" CD, it's a "UDF" CD, which Isobuster cannot deal with.
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:sciwriter
sciwriter earned 100 total points
ID: 13584928
Second comment -- don't use packet writing software.  it is TOTALLY TOTALLY machine, hardware and software dependent.  Had you cut proper CDs instead of relying on packet writing software, you would not have this issue today.  So start now to burn REAL CDs of data, and forget that packet writing stuff.  CDs can NEVER become a hard disk, software that tries to make them look like one are just kidding you.  PWriting slows the system 10-20x.
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Author Comment

by:Brian_Blair
ID: 13600566
Great comments. If anyone has anything to add feel free and I will distribute points 3.22.05
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Barthax
ID: 13602867
From isobusters's home page: " Built in UDF Reader, UDF 1.02 (e.g DVDs), UDF 1.5 (e.g. Packet writing on CD-R, DVDR, CD-RW and DVDRW), UDF 2.01, 2.50, ..."

http://www.isobuster.com/  (redirects to http://www.smart-projects.net/isobuster/)
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13603225

That was news to me, but thanks.  It may, therefore, be able to read these CD's after all.  Never too late to learn something.
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Barthax
ID: 13606112
No problem.  You had me making doubly sure my memory was correct anyway, thanks. :)
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