Repair Unfinalized DVDs, CD DVD Errors and Damaged Discs

These are some quick tips and techniques to deal with unfinalized DVDs, damaged DVDs and CDs or DVDs with errors or corrupt data.

Before attacking the disc itself it is a good idea to check for other possible sources of trouble:

  • Check to see your CD/DVD burner has the latest firmware by going to the manufacturers website.
  • Check as to whether the brand or type of disc you are using is compatible with your DVD/CD burner.
  • Check to see that the DVD player you are using can play other discs successfully.

Once you are certain that the CD or DVD disc is the source of trouble you can take a look at the solutions below.

Scratched CD DVD Discs

A simple visual inspection of the surface of the disc will tell you straight away whether your problem is physical damage to the disc. If you can see a scratch or scratches on the surface then this will need to be addressed first.

At this point it is best to use good DVD copying software to see if the disc will copy before embarking on any other course of action. DVD software of good quality will be able to read through a great many disc surface imperfections.

If that failed you could go out and buy a scratched disc repair machine to re-surface the disc. Or you could go to your local hardware store or even your own garage!

All you will require is some clear or neutral car polish. I use Turtlewax but only because that is what was in the garage. Get a soft lint free cloth and apply a small amount of polish to the disc surface and gently (note: you are not buffing a car!) polish the disc.

Use straight strokes from the centre of the disc to the outer edge and continue to do this until you can see the scratch either disappear or reduce noticeably. Then using the same motion and fresh cloth buff the disc back to its original shine.

Now try again to make a copy with good DVD copying software. If that still hasn’t worked then simply repeat the procedure until you feel sure that disc surface damage is not the problem.

DVD Data Recovery

The easiest DVD recovery software to use is either Nero 9 or Isobuster. A simple search on Google or Yahoo will bring up the sites you need.

Put the problem disc in the DVD drive of your computer then:

Open Nero SmartStart and choose Nero Express. Select the Copy an Entire Disc function. Choose the damaged disc and let it run. You will know of it is going to work very quickly.

If that doesn’t work choose Nero Express again and at the bottom of the window choose to Save tracks. Once more let it begin the process and it will tell you quite fast if it is going to work.

If you don’t get a result open Nero Recode by going back to Nero SmartStart. Click on Recode an Entire DVD to DVD. Ensure that the size selected for the target disc is the same as for the source disc then again, let it run.

Failing that go back to Nero SmartStart and choose Nero RescueAgent and follow the DVD recovery software instruction there.

If that fails: Isobuster.

See if you can make a disc image file and burn to a new DVD. Isobuster has three alternate methods of dealing with data corruption.

  • It can replace the corrupted area with nothing.
  • It can place fake data in the area of the corrupt data.
  • It can put a series of zeros in the place of the corrupted data.

Isobuster will not create the disc image file unless it knows it will be successful. If Isobuster has successfully made the file (be sure to remember where you chose to save it!) after that you will need to re-name the file extension to .iso.

Use the disc image file to burn a new DVD disc with DVD burning software.

Still no luck?

  1. With the disc loaded open Isobuster.
  2. Under the “File” menu select “Find Missing Files and Folders” after Isobuster has detected the disc.
  3. You will be able to see in the left side column Files and Folders Found by Their Signature.
  4. Select that, then go to File – Files Found Via Their Signature – Extract Files Found Via Their Signature.” Choose a location and let it run.

The files will now be where you chose them to be saved.

Unfinalized discs.

If you can try to have the original hardware or software that created the disc to finalize it. If this is not possible or the original device is failing to successfully finalize the disc you may have to resort to the Isobuster routine above.

If you have a perfectly good disc that is simply unfinaized.

This is specific to unfinalized discs and requires Nero 9.

Place the unfinalized disc into the computer DVD tray. Open Nero 9 and the StartSmart window will appear. Look to the top of the screen and click Create and Edit. Select Author, Edit and Capture Video.NeroVision 6 will start. Click on the disk tools drop down menu then click Finalize Disc. When the Options dialogue appears select No Menus and start the process. Hopefully you now have a fully finalized disc that is readable.

Hope this helps!

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