Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

Don't get burned by your burner

Don't get burned by your burner

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Take a look at the definitions for the word rely at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rely.  Do those definitions describe your DVD burner(s)?  Up until recently it certainly did for my external Sony DRX-710UL.  However, my trusty friend has let me down a couple of times over the past month or so, and when I turned to the laptop DVD burner, you guessed it, I got burned.

Burning CD's and DVD's for entertainment is one thing but burning them for work is a whole different ball game.  I've been doing build up, tear down work as I discover the feasibility of two screencast series I'm putting together.  The first will be on System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 (SCVMM)  followed by Windows Server Virtualization (WSv). Stay tuned for some important announcements on both of those products this week.

For those of you that do a lot of testing, I don't have to tell you how much work it is to create stuff, capture it with Ghost or Imagex, then verify your captures worked so you can move forward to the next phase without fear.  When captures work, rolling back and starting over is easy.  When captures don't work, it adds a lot of unnecessary time to a project.  If you are like me, you can't afford to give up time for stuff that SHOULD be working.

What am I whining about?

Well obviously some DVD's I created over the past couple of days were coasters.  The problem is that they weren't obvious coasters right away.  For instance, a Ghost restore keep telling me the ghost image I had created was invalid.  It was partially right.  It was valid on the hard drive it was created on, just not the bootable DVD I created afterwards.  If that wasn't bad enough, I used another DVD burner and the DVD was bad there.  I finally figured out after doing a restore directly from the hard drive the image was stored on, that the image was in fact GOOD !!!  Oh, I was soooo mad.

A similar problem occurred with the SCVMM installation DVD I burned.  The install was failing when using the burned DVD.  After reviewing the log, I spotted a CRC error on the copy of an install file.  Sure enough, the install image worked fine from the hard drive, just not the DVD's the wretched drives were creating.

I have three variables in the bad DVD picture.  The DVD burners (two of them), Windows Vista, and an old copy of Roxio Creator Classic.  I am actually most suspicious of Roxio since it is acting badly anyway.  It's probably time to buy the latest version of it or Nero.  Any suggestions on Windows Vista compatible DVD burning tools?  Must be able to burn from .iso and also create bootable DVDs.  What's the most popular tool on the Mac or Linux?

[UPDATE]  Well, this is getting interesting.  I have confirmed it isn't the media, or the the DVD burners.  I spotted Roxio on sale at BestBuy for $49 so I bought a copy.  Roxio 9.1 failed on Windows Vista even though it has the certified for Windows Vista logo.  I know, Roxio 10 will probably come out in a few weeks.   

So I started being a little more rigorous in sandboxing this problem.  I attached the external Sony DRX-710UL to my MCE 2005 machine and it burned the bootable disk without issue.  I then uninstalled Roxio 7.5 on the MCE 2005 machine and installed Roxio 9.1.  Success again.  So everything works fine on Windows XP Media Center Ed 2005.  Roxio 7.0, 7.5 and 9.1 does not work on Windows Vista.  Time to see if I can get my money back or a store credit... Should have gone with Nero as suggested...

Just to provide some clarity, I have tested using three machines, three DVD burners, two different types of media, and two operating systems.  Run the test matrix through your calculator.  I did my due diligence.

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  • For me the best DVD burner is Nero hands down.  I've had the same problems you report with Roxio and now would not touch it with a 10' pole.  Something else that was suggested to me at one time is when you are burning a lot of data (say a full DVD) set your burn speed to slowest speed supported by your burner.  For some reason you can get the exact errors you describe when burning at high speeds with DVDs (something that to the best of my knowledge was never a problem with CDs).  Best of luck and let us know how it turns out.

  • For strictly burning ISOs and Images I use Image Burn on Vista. It has worked like a champ since the early betas and is no-frills and self-updating. It gets the job done. :)

  • Ok, do you want the good news or the bad news first? Well, the good news is that I was right. The bad