Reviving a DVD+RW

Posted on 2005-04-30
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
It's been a while now that I have one of my dad's DVD+RW discs lying around.
It contains (or should I say contained?) memories of a few short holidays a couple of years back. The original tapes were reused once things were safe on disc so we can't create another disc.
Unfortunately, we can't do much with the current disc either.

The first recording session (if I remember well) was done on a DVD recorder. A later session was done on a PC (Pinnacle Studio 8), but it may just as well have happened in the reverse order. The result however: a PC refuses to read the disk (accessing it through Exporer seems to "hang" explorer) and the DVD recorder doesn't like it either. DVD shrink 3.2 reports "[No Disc]", an unrecognized file system or a corrupted volume.

Is a way to see if there's anything still on the disk? And if so, could I retrieve it to harddisk and burn it on DVD+/-R?
Question by:CRAK
    LVL 95

    Assisted Solution

    by:Lee W, MVP
    You can try ISO Buster
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Do not ever use rewriteable media (CD or DVD) for anything that you want to keep.  The data "fades".  We see this situation over and over.

    (Also, for data, don't use UDF format, but if this is a "video" DVD, as opposed to a data DVD, that's not an issue here.  Although you didn't make that explicitly clear.)

    You can try Isobuster, and you can try (and this is what is most likely to work, if anything will) simply trying the disc on a whole bunch of different readers, some of them might be able to read what others cannot.  If you can copy the files (as data files), you can recover the video.  Don't worry about trying to "watch" them, just try to get the data back.  If you get the data onto a hard drive, then you will have to deal with getting it back into a useable format.

    I'd put your chances at 10% or so.  The situation is not very optimistic.

    [PS - your message is real unclear as to what you did .... or if this is a video or data dvd.  You normally cannot add video to a video DVD, as far as I know, and multisession data DVD only works when all of the hardware and software and 7 of the 9 planets are properly aligned on the 2nd tuesday of 4th month of even years.]
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    If you can find a store still carrying it, or maybe on eBay or someother online retailer, you could try DVD X Rescue by 321 Studios.  I've used it a couple of times, and it seems to work fairly well.  Normally when Windows can't read a part of a file, it will just give up, however DVD X Rescue will read everything up until a part that is completely irrecoverable and will go on after that and continue reading data.  Basically, it will retrieve as much as it can, rather than all or nothing like Windows would do.

    Hope this helps.
    LVL 13

    Author Comment

    Thanks. I'll see what ISO buster offers. I.e. tonight: I just started another working day.

    Watzman, I assume it's a video DVD: it contained footage recorded by camera, but I can't be sure the disc type has not been changed on PC. I don't even know what format a DVD recorder uses to be honest.
    Anyway, it wasn't my idea to treat the disc this way.... I would not have recommended it in the first place. ;-))
    My dad did ask me recently how to add video footage to an earlier recorded (PC) DVD. I couldn't answer that...! 2nd Tuesday of 4th month of even years... that's cool: I'll have an entire year to figure out the planet's positions. Is that a law in nature or can it be fooled by changing the PC's clock if the planets get aligned earlier?
    Good to hear that you still esmimate a 10% change.... that's a lot more than I had in mind!

    (I hope I'm in the same mood tonight after trying....)
    LVL 13

    Author Comment

    RW media "fading"????
    I thought the black burnmarks on ordinary recordables suffered with that! These disc are light-sensitive.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment


    Fading is not a technically precise term, but conveys what seems to happen.  On all burnable media (CD or DVD, one time or eraseable), the laser causes a color or reflectivity change in a dye layer.  On one time media, this is permanent at least if the laser beam is properly focused and of sufficient power (two burner failure modes).  However, on eraseable (RW) media, it has to be a reversible change so that the dye can be changed back to it's original state for erasure and reburning.  Unfortunately, this seems to happen to some degree on it's own, over time.

    The discs are not really light sensitive as much as temperature sensitive.  Although a laser beam is light, it's focused high energy light (like when you catch a piece of paper on fire with the sun and a lens).  It's the temperature that changes the dye layer, not light.

    As mentioned, burners (the drives) have to focus the laser beam, and they have variable power output.  Either of these mechanisms can fail in a drive, or they can become "marginal" while not having failed completely.  This can produce a "marginal" disc, and might be the root cause of this condition ("fading"), but the bottom line, based on real-world experience and reports from hundreds of users, is that what I'm calling "fading" (RW media becoming unreadable with the passage of time) is very common with RW media.
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    leew suggested isobuster and that may work but you will have to buy it (the free version won't extract the files).  If you have a machine with EZCD/DVD installed it may have an option to recover the files.  I know the CD version does, not sure about the DVD version.  The utilty is in the packet writer DirectCD.  Double click the DirectCD icon in your system tray and look for a scan disk (I'm doing this from memory).  It will take some time to scan the disk.  I just did this last week with a CDRW that had a client's quickbooks files (5 years worth) on it.  As far as Windows, Nero and the regular EZCD where concerned the disk was empty but the utility in DirectCD got the data back.
    LVL 13

    Author Comment

    Before extracting any files (and buying the tool), I gave it a change to see if it detects anything.

    I first got an error:
    The primary Volume Descriptor (PVD) is unreadable.
    Read Error at address: 16
    Device reported error on: 03/11/05
    (Could I have this disk on my desk for a month or 2 now?)

    Then it detected a track 01 in Session 1. LBA 0, 4.38 GB. And an option to write the track to *.tao, *.iso or *.wav.
    I choose iso....

    Then more errors occurred:
    Sector 0 couln't be read
    Error: 03/11/05

    Offered options were:
    Retry, Select (either "Omit Sector", "Replace with all zeroes" or "Replace with dummy data") and Quit.
    I choose the default: Select / Replace with all zeroes.

    The same thing for sectors up to (where I gave up for now:) 18.

    Any advice? A reconsideration of my chanches?
    In the old days I manually filled out the FAT12 table of a 720K diskette to restore a few important files. Is this heading for a similar job?
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    I am afraid to say that it may be time to call it quits on your dvd
    LVL 13

    Author Comment

    I throught I was heading that way from the very beginning, but do the other experts share that opinion?

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