I burned a CD on XP using the built-in burning software and I can read the CD on that machine, but when I insert it into my Vista machine, I can't read the files. It shows the correct volume label, and the correct 'free space', but I can't access the actual files.

Am I missing something obvious?

(Both systems are fully up-to-date)

  • What built-in burning software? Do you mean you burnt it on Vista and can't read it on an XP box? Is the disc finalized?
    – JP Alioto
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 2:20
  • What do you mean by "Can't read the files", can you see that they are there? Can you not open them and if so what is the error you get or can you open them but something is not right with the opened files?
    – Eran
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 2:29
  • How was it burned? File at a time or all at once? I've not heard of such a problem recently, but in the past I've seen it a few times.
    – emgee
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 3:29
  • To clarify: There are no files showing up on the CD when I put it into a Vista machine. The XP machine sees the files just fine. Sorry if the question isn't clear, but the disk was created/burned in XP and can't be read on the Vista machine. I can't say it any clearer (that's basically exactly what I originally said) As for finalizing, that's what MarkM suggests below. To which I ask: how does one finalize a disk in XP? Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 10:35

3 Answers 3


If you didn't finalize the disk then it is only readable in the drive that created it. This will make it look like it's an XP to Vista problem if these are the only two computers that you've tried it on.

  • 1
    I believe it's readable on any machine with a burner and burning software but not on machines lacking this. Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 3:48
  • No, if it's not finalized it will only be readable by the same model of drive.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 4:06
  • That's what I'd begun to think from other posts around the interwebs. How do I finalize a disk using XP? Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 10:33
  • 1
    The built in XP data-burning software has to way to finalize the disk, which is pretty dumb. Use a third party tool like the free cdburnerxp.se to make data CDs/DVDs. They offer this basic feature along with a ton of advanced ones.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 15:30

I don't suppose you accidentally wrote the files as hidden or system and the options are not set to view these on the Vista machine?

That is the only obvious quick thing I can think of :S


Try another drive - it's possible (although I would have thought rare these days) for a disc to be written outside the tolerance of a drive. I would expect this to be a drive/disc issue rather than an OS issue.

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