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Toshiba Combo Drive - Direct CD question


whftherb

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This post contains a very detailed description of my troubleshooting steps and admittedly is a little long. I wanted to be thorough to avoid a lot of back-and-forth so apologies right up front, OK? I suspect a software issue - perhaps related to Direct CD so that's why I'm coming here for some help.

 

Here's an interesting situation. Have a Toshiba SD-R5372 combo drive on a ABit MB with an Athlon 64 with XP Pro, all up-to-date. Working fine up to about 6-8 weeks ago when it started to fail to recognize solely any CD R/Ws. I can't recall what I might have done or installed prior to noticing the failure. If I did something

it may have occurred weeks before and I just never noticed it. In BIOS, the optical drive is correctly identified as the Master on the Primary Channel (called Channel 1 on that screen). The HDD is a SATA drive and the BIOS identifies it correctly residing on Channel 3 (reserved for SATA use according to ABit). Insert a fresh out-of-the-package blank or a pre-recorded CD R/W (either recorded previously with this drive or my other combo drive on another older machine), and the activity light winks about 25-30 times then stays solid lit and only goes out when I eject the disk. The drive is connected using the last IDE connector on the cable and it is optioned as Master - all set up on the Primary IDE channel (BIOS denoted as Channel 1). In Windows, the drive is totally blocked - it just won't find the CD R/W disk. I can't see any files on a CD R/W disk (even though I know they're there), can't double click on it to get it to open. I can right click on the drive in Explorer and get the context menu to eject the disk. And if I try to copy some files, XP will create the temp file(s), throw up the "You have files to be written to the CD" bubble but on execution the Windows CD Writing Wizard on the second panel will say "There is no disk in the drive" and if I try to erase CD R/W (using Nero CD/DVD Speed), the disk is not ready, the drive is not home so the program grays out all functions.

 

I really worked hard trying to fix this! I'be looked all over the 'Net for an answer. First thing: Figured it's probably bad media (originally used Sony which have had no failures up to now), so I bought a stack of Maxells and then later Verbatims - still no go. Strangely it will read and write DVD +/- R/Ws labelled from HP and Verbatim plus it will read and write to a variety CD-Rs, both blanks, music-homebrewed and commercially prep'd. No CD R/Ws though. I realize there are two lasers involved. I cleaned the CD laser with a CD cleaning disk from Staples - no help. I'm reasonably sure the disk was spun because it's in a different position when I unload it. I tried a brand new IDE cable that came with the MB - no help. I left the case open all day thinking it was heat - no help. The ASUS branded power supply should be fine - it's rated at 550 W and again the combo drive works with all other media. I tried connecting it as the Master on the Secondary IDE channel - no help. It is the only IDE drive in the system thanks to SATA. The next step was to purchase a completely new and completely different brand of combo DRIVE (Thank you Mr. Staples)!!! And now get this - After XP found new hardware and installed new drivers and reported everything was cool... same exact problem with that. Put the Toshiba back in. Uninstalled the Toshiba in Dev Mgr - rebooted - no help and XP did find and locate and successfully set up the drivers as expected. I've completely uninstalled my Nero 7.0 suite and I've also used the Nero cleaning tool - no help (Note: I left Nero CD/DVD Speed installed as the Nero cleaning tool didn't touch it). I've looked for other Roxio/Adaptec apps and as a safeguard, I've also run RoxieZap. I've uninstalled Alcohol 120 which also then zapped the virtual drive crud - no help. ASPIchk shows no ASPI layer. Flashed the Toshiba firmware to the latest firmware set (TU56) - no help. (Are you noticing a pattern here...?) In the service console the IMAPI Service is automatically started - the IDE channels are all set to DMA mode. I updated the VIA chipset drivers using their latest Hyperion 4-in-1 IDE driver software - no change. Here's another experiment: I rebooted and as the POST goes through I insert a CD R/W disk and the drive winks but the activity light stays lit even before Windows XP presents the desktop. There's something wrong at a very low level here...

 

Now here's my next question: Knowing that CD R/Ws use packet writing to apply and work with data, is it at all possible that somehow I've lost or corrupted the native xP packet writing "module" in the operating system? Where do I go to check that and/or repair that in case it's broken? You can't install Roxio's Adaptec Direct CD packet writing software - Windows reports that will cause instability and won't permit it to load. I took Nero off so InCD isn't present. I also removed Daemon Tools and CDBurnerXPro as I've tried to whittle this down to just Windows only. But I believe if my reading of some materials is correct that Windows has a Roxio based process for packet writing that is hard-coded/imbedded in it. Did I mistakenly turn it off?? Is it possible in all this confusion that I've zapped this internal burning driver software that came with Windows? Again, I'd like to know if there's any procedure I can use to check out the validity of Windows' basic native packet writing software used for instance for simple copy opeations in Windows Explorer. I'm thinking that the computer needs to have that module up and running in order to work with a CD R/W disk - it can't find it, so the disk and drive never coordinate with the chipset (?). The drive light stays on and the drive stays locked and fails because the drive (and the software that's supposed to be there) isn't ready.

 

Hope this makes sense. Anyway, I'd like some thoughts on this. Really miss not having this particular functionality. Thanks one and all!

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I updated the VIA chipset drivers using their latest Hyperion 4-in-1 IDE driver software - no change.

 

Via and Nforce chipset drivers have caused burn problems for some. Standard MS Ide drivers have worked for many with problems. RW media and packet writing has its own problems and I don't use the later.

When you uninstalled Nero 7 did that also uninstall INCD if it was installed?

 

cdanteek

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This post contains a very detailed description of my troubleshooting steps and admittedly is a little long. I wanted to be thorough to avoid a lot of back-and-forth so apologies right up front, OK? I suspect a software issue - perhaps related to Direct CD so that's why I'm coming here for some help.

 

<snip>

 

Hope this makes sense. Anyway, I'd like some thoughts on this. Really miss not having this particular functionality. Thanks one and all!

Okay... I've snipped all the very detailed and thorough information you gave, which was a very good example of what we can all go through to try and define a problem. Only I came to a different conclusion.

 

You drive has gone bad as far as CD-RW discs goes.

 

This is not unheard of, nor terribly uncommon. CD-RW discs use the same laser that is used for CD-R and CD-ROM (commercially pressed) discs, but they have a significantly lower reflectivity then either of the latter dics. They also use significantly different power levels for writing and erasing then CD-R (write once) discs. You've cleaned the lens, you've seen that it works with CD-R and CD-ROM discs, and DVD (using a different laser), so that's all well and good, but it simply isn't working for CD-RW discs.

 

Now for myself, that would be no great loss. And, as an aside, CD-RW discs can be used to write sessions just as well as CD-R discs. There is nothing magic about having to use the UDF/packet writing file system with CD-RW discs, it's just the file system that Direct CD works with, and it (Direct CD) can also be used with CD-R discs. So, if you still had DCD installed, you could try formatting a CD-R disc to verify functionality of that file system.

 

My conclusion, you'll either need to only use CD-R discs (much more reliable than CD-RW discs anyway) or buy a new drive if you have the need to to use CD-RW discs.

 

Hope that helps!

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If it is failing to read RW discs you wrote to previously, it may be nothing more exciting than the discs are failing. (I will admit I didn't read the entire description.)

 

Basic False Anology: you do NOT need to format optical media (CD, DVD) before using like a floppy.

 

RW media is not "like a floppy". RW media is written to the same as R media, and if you delete something from the TOC [Table of Contents] you don't get the space back any more than with R media. Either can be formatted for Packet-Writing. The difference is RW media can be COMPLETELY erased and re-used, making it useful for testing, or occasionally for very short-term usage such as moving a file from one computer to another when the original copy is safely where it was before.

 

If you want to KEEP the data, NEVER format the disc. It does NOT result in a "great-big floppy-disc". Formatted optical media can be very fussy about being read by the same Program Version and Operating System as that which wrote it - or even refusing to be readable at all, for any reason or none.

 

Packet-Writing is only sufficiently "standard" for readers (such as the WinXP .udf reader) to read it. Beyond that, it is proprietary, and incompatible between different software companies (such as DirectCD or Drag2Disc or Nero's InCD) or even different Versions of the same product.

 

If you are concerned about "wasting all that space" - consider how much it costs for a CD-R, and how much it would cost you if you lost the data on a CD-RW.

 

Lynn

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If it is failing to read RW discs you wrote to previously, it may be nothing more exciting than the discs are failing. (I will admit I didn't read the entire description.)

 

Lynn

Lynn, I'd be tempted to agree, but it's not even recognizing that a disc is in the drive when he puts in a fresh CD-RW disc, so I'm still inclined to go with the failing laser conclusion.

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The next step was to purchase a completely new and completely different brand of combo DRIVE (Thank you Mr. Staples)!!! And now get this - After XP found new hardware and installed new drivers and reported everything was cool... same exact problem with that.

 

 

Lynn, I'd be tempted to agree, but it's not even recognizing that a disc is in the drive when he puts in a fresh CD-RW disc, so I'm still inclined to go with the failing laser conclusion.

 

If I'm understanding this wrong please correct me!

He bought a new drive and has the same problem.

 

cdanteek

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If I'm understanding this wrong please correct me!

He bought a new drive and has the same problem.

 

cdanteek

There have been drives that failed right out of the box.

 

However, I don't trust RW media at all these days, in memory of the files I lost.

 

They are ok for testing, but that's it. I transfer files with Flash drives.

 

Lynn

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Good point, I missed the new drive part.

 

Easy solution, don't use the more expensive, less reliable, erasable media! Stick with the "good stuff".

 

Hi again, I have some progress to report - but it involves removing DirectCD and installing "the other stuff". At the risk of getting banned on this nice board, let me just summarize what's happened the last day or so with this. It might at least serve for its entertainment value i fnothing else.

 

I was instructed at the Microsoft newsgroup to turn off Windows native recording in the Recording subpanel of Properties panel of the drive and also do a regedit to eliminate Upper and Lower filters (there were none present) embedded deep in a very enigmatic reg key. I also removed Adaptec DirectCD through Add/Remove. Brought in Nero 7.0 and InCD 5.0. So after it's all installed, insert a blank and for the first time in many weeks, XP acknowledges the presence of CD R/W media (!) and offers me the option box we're all used to seeing. This is good, I thought. At launch Nero's InCD fires up and actually appears to begin the format (oohhh...the excitement builds). Alas, there is still no love... At anywhere from 17.1% to 99%, InCD dependably barfs out:

 

http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/3765/fr...eroerror6ta.png

 

This is tantalizingly close to nirvana - closer than I've been in the last two months. At least it's recognizing the fact that I've inserted a blank CD! The drive just won't write. Indeed close only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades.

 

So, would it be adviseable to revert back to Direct CD? I'm just trying to find something - anything - that works!

 

Thanks all.

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So, would it be adviseable to revert back to Direct CD? I'm just trying to find something - anything - that works!

 

Thanks all.

First question, will your current configuration recognize and read the UDF/Packete written discs that already have data on them?

 

Second question, have we established whether or not the drive will correctly write sessions to CD-R media?

 

Third question(s), how are you using your optically written media? Is it for long-term backup storage? For moving data from one machine to another?

 

The answer to the third question would affect suggestions/recommendations for how you write your data. Personally, if you can read the discs that have data on them, and if you can write to CD-R media using sessions, I would recommend getting all the data off of the erasable media, and writing it in sessions to CD-R (write once) media. Erasable discs have a tendency to "fade" and become unreadable over time, even while being stored. Write-once media is much more stable over the long term.

 

Let us know the answers to the questions above.

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Toshiba SD-R5372 16X DVD Burner Review - CD-R/RW Writing Performance

Posted by Wesley Novack on 24 April 2005

 

http://www.cdfreaks.com/article/195/4

 

The main negative points: The Toshiba SD-R5372 is slower than other competing drives at initial disc recognition. CD-RW reading speeds are slow.

CD-RW writing is slower than other drives due to a Z-CLV (Zone-Constant Linear Velocity) CD-RW writing technique that utilizes four zones.

 

What I remember is 3 types of CDRW media the old, high speed, and ultra high speed. What are you using?

 

cdanteek

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So, would it be adviseable to revert back to Direct CD? I'm just trying to find something - anything - that works!

 

Thanks all.

I would suggest deleting ALL Packet-Writing programs (DirectCD, Drag2Disc, Nero's InCD, and any other), and putting the Windows burning back in, since it writes like drag&drop but is the MUCH SAFER Sessions method.

 

NEVER format a disc if you want to KEEP the data.

 

And get the data off the formatted discs as soon as you can, like Dave advises, and only use RW media for testing.

 

(written in memory of the files lost on formatted CD-RW)

 

Lynn

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Well - you folks have been most kind and generous with your time helping me with this problem. I've become now a little less enthused about CD R/Ws since reading some of your input here. I had no idea that these things were that "sensitive". Previous to this, the drive and whatever disks I put in it, just worked fine for transferring files back and forth from home to work and vice versa. I had nothing (no instinct, no incentive, no inkling) that there was anything "wrong" with this device nor usage of this media. Once again, it just worked fine for me so I suspected nothing and had nothing to investigate as far as failures were concerned. Now, I have it and now I get it! Let's get to your questions and maybe some more hints:

 

d_deweywright asked if the drive will recognize previously written disks in UDF/Packet form. The answer is no it won't recognize a CD R/W disk at all - blank, unblank, formatted, unformatted you-name-it. It's like I never inserted it. I tried real hard to listen to the motor/spindle spin up and there's nothing going on that I can hear. I hear some very very light "knocking" sounds that never stop until ejection, they're almost imperceptable. The answer here is also beclouded by the fact that sometimes (not a majority, just a few of many times) Windows XP will provide the option box (What do you want to do-type box) when a CD R/W is present. However, most often it does nothing.

 

d_deweywright also asked about writing to a CD-R. Here's disturbing news - two weeks earlier, it was Monday or Tuesday, I made a CD-R using Nero 7.0 with some music for my wife to listen to in her car. REcall that I subsequently took off Nero and have now put it back on again. That disk two weeks ago came out perfect in every respect. So, over the last 2 weeks, I've not been concerned. But - just because you asked, I ran a test CD-R with some more music using the reinstalled Nero. It failed! So this is headed in the wrong direction. In fact I tried this twice and at the end of the burn, I get "Illegal function" from Nero. So, now, what do I have to say versus two weeks ago when it was at least working! You don't want to hear what I just spoke - this is a family oriented board, right? The answer is, unfortunately, no - I've seemed to have lost that capability now too.

 

d_deweywright asked thirdly how do I use these disks. To move large data files back and forth. That's why CD R/W was perfect for me, I could reuse the disks again and again, which I gladly did. Under the current scenario, I now e-mail them to myself at work. Of course, I'm sure the IT folks don't appreciate me burning up their bandwidth but I try to make these transfers happen late at night. Use a thumbdrive? Could do that but none of our workstations on the floor have USB ports. Maybe next year, they say. I was also archiving old programs from my home use and such but now given the group's warning about these things fading over time, guess I'll stop that in a hurry.

 

cdanteek asked about what type media am I using. Answer: All types/brands - at least 3 different brands as I've tried working this out. My Sony's are rated on the package as 8x R/W. The Verbatims are rated on the package at 2x-4x. The Memorex came on a generic spindle - the covering ad is gone - rating is unknown - I'm guessing 4x. But remember, any of these going in aren't even being recognized (except for a very few instances) first off by Windows iteself which I think would be a minimum requirement before working with any software.

 

Also read Lynn's wisdom about not formatting and being careful about what I put on these. Believe me, I've gotten religion on that issue now. I thought that with InCD installed (oops - there's that other product again!) you were supposed to do a format before using InCD to packet write. The logic was, gee, they've given me the program to format it, let's use it. At least that's what I thought I read and understood.

 

Now, I went to a neighbor's house and used his burner to write some clean data. He had DirectCD and so we formatted two fresh CD R/Ws, wrote some data, erased them both and brought them here. What I got was a small error box with "illegal request" from Nero. We brought them back to his house and they're goth fine over there. Is this a combination hardware AND software failure?

 

Just to cover this one more time - I did purchase and try a brand new BenQ CD/DVD combo burner. The only difference was this new burner had the ability to "etch" a label on the disk if you used the right kind of disk made for such "etching". I didn't bother to go there, I simply wanted to try something altogether different to see if it made any difference. It didn't. I'm perfectly willing to try this again or maybe just try a cheaper non-DVD capable device which you can pick up for a song.

 

How's that sound - try this one more time to see if it works or not? And then cdanttek, could you post a little help on how to re-install the native Windows burning drivers? I don't know if you can or not but I'd really llike to get back to that native tongue - and soon!

 

Thanks again. Hope to hear.

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d_deweywright also asked about writing to a CD-R. Here's disturbing news - two weeks earlier, it was Monday or Tuesday, I made a CD-R using Nero 7.0 with some music for my wife to listen to in her car. REcall that I subsequently took off Nero and have now put it back on again. That disk two weeks ago came out perfect in every respect. So, over the last 2 weeks, I've not been concerned. But - just because you asked, I ran a test CD-R with some more music using the reinstalled Nero. It failed! So this is headed in the wrong direction. In fact I tried this twice and at the end of the burn, I get "Illegal function" from Nero. So, now, what do I have to say versus two weeks ago when it was at least working! You don't want to hear what I just spoke - this is a family oriented board, right? The answer is, unfortunately, no - I've seemed to have lost that capability now too.

 

d_deweywright asked thirdly how do I use these disks. To move large data files back and forth. That's why CD R/W was perfect for me, I could reuse the disks again and again, which I gladly did. Under the current scenario, I now e-mail them to myself at work. Of course, I'm sure the IT folks don't appreciate me burning up their bandwidth but I try to make these transfers happen late at night. Use a thumbdrive? Could do that but none of our workstations on the floor have USB ports. Maybe next year, they say. I was also archiving old programs from my home use and such but now given the group's warning about these things fading over time, guess I'll stop that in a hurry.

 

cdanteek asked about what type media am I using. Answer: All types/brands - at least 3 different brands as I've tried working this out. My Sony's are rated on the package as 8x R/W. The Verbatims are rated on the package at 2x-4x. The Memorex came on a generic spindle - the covering ad is gone - rating is unknown - I'm guessing 4x. But remember, any of these going in aren't even being recognized (except for a very few instances) first off by Windows iteself which I think would be a minimum requirement before working with any software.

Okay, focusing on a few areas here... You're using your discs to transfer data from work to home and back. A reasonable use for CD-RW media. You can also write to CD-RW media with session, you don't have to use packet writing (InCD or Direct CD). But, your drive doesn't recognize CD-RW media. Also, it sounds like you've got some old media. 2X-4X media is the "original" type of disc. After that, there are 4X-12X High Speed discs, and then 12X-24X Ultra-Speed discs. It's entirely possible that your drive doesn't like the 2X-4X "original" media, and would much prefer High or Ultra speed media. Go out and buy a couple discs of a couple different brands of high and/or ultra speed discs, and see what happens. For the record, the brand with the worst reputation on these boards is Memorex, so I'd suggest staying away from them.

 

As for the CD-R disc you wrote, how much were you writing, a full disc? If so, what happens if you write less, say, only 100-200 MB? If you've reinstalled EMC 8, or whatever version you were using, try Creator Classic to write a Data CD.

 

Maybe we're narrowing down on a media problem.

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Packet-Writing from different companies (and often even different Versions from the same company) are incompatible.

 

It could be InCD mucked up DirectCD and vice-versa.

 

Or, as Dave suggested, it could be the burner is old.

 

Or, it could be the burner is new and the media isn't the kind of food it can digest.

 

Lynn

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