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Problems with unreadable CDs/DVDs

Unreadable CDs or DVDs

You insert a disc and the PC doesn't recognize it or can't see any files on it. Or it sees files but they're an earlier version of a file you know has been overwritten on the CD.


Try cleaning the disc, the drive or both. There are special drive-cleaning CDs you can use for this purpose.

If you can read the disc (or see the most recent files) on your own PC but not on others, it could be because the disc wasn't properly "closed". Most disc-burning software allows you to leave discs open so you can add more files later. These "multisession" discs are often unreadable on PCs that don't have the same software.

To solve the problem, you should "finalize" or "close" the disc. Different programs may call it different things but you need to find the option that prevents you from adding any more files to the disc. If you don't find your software below, type "xxx close cd" into Google (leave out the quote marks, substitute the name of your CD burning software for xxx).

When burning discs for other people, set the software so that it automatically closes the disc after all the files are transferred. In fact, it's a good idea to use this as your default for CD burning. Otherwise, you might some day find that all of the CDs from your old computer are unreadable on your new computer that has different CD burning software.


If you use Sonic software to burn discs, here's how to set it up so that it automatically closes CDs:

Nero Express

Nero Burning ROM

Using Windows XP to burn CDs

Be kind to yourself and the people you want to send CDs to. Find better software for the job. Any of the programs mentioned above will do.

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Problems with unreadable CDs/DVDs
Last update 07 June, 2011