I had a series of backup CDs that I had burnt some time ago. In order to consolidate the many discs I copied them all to my hard drive in separate folders, compressed them into .RARs (at maximum compression if memory serves me correctly), and burnt the files to a couple of dual-layer 8.5 GB DVDs.


I recently attempted to make an .iso image backup for my storage drive from these DVDs and about ~40% of the way in I start to get read errors. The same thing happens if I simply try to copy the files off of the DVD via Windows Explorer. Somewhere around the same part of the disc (I'd imagine) the copy speed drops to nil and then read errors occur. I'm guessing it's the second layer where the problem lies and that I possibly had the burn speed set too high when I created the disc. The DVD indicates that it can be written to at 8x, I may have accidentally written to it at 12x or something to that effect.

I've attempted to read the disc from my laptop's Blu-ray/DVD-RW drive - it won't even read the disc at all. The drive spins up for a while, attempts to read for a bit, and then quits. If I try to navigate to the drive in Windows Explorer then it pops up a message telling me to enter a disc into the drive.


Is there any read method or recovery software that'll allow me to recover the data from the corrupted disc? I badly need to be able to retrieve the files saved as it is now my only copy of the backups. I discarded the other CDs after I had burnt the consolidated DVD copy so if I'm unable to read the data on the DVD then I've lost years of archived files that I'd really prefer not to have lost.

As always, thank you for your assistance.


UPDATE 10/3/2011 7:45am MST

@lornix - Yes, I am reading the DVD from the same drive that it was written from. Currently I'm attempting to use ImgBurn at 1x to rip the DVD to an .iso and having it continue on through the read errors. It's been at 49% for hours now trying to read part079.rar, failing sector by sector.

Here's an example of the error message:

Retrying (20 of 20)
Retry Failed - Reason: Timeout on Logical Unit
Sector 1954510 maps to File: \BLABLA.part079.rar
Failed to Read Sector 1954510 - Reason: Timeout on Logical Unit

It's been doing this sector by tedious sector for hours now; i.e. 1954510, 1954511, 1954512, etc with 20 retries between each failed attempt.

@Psycogeek - I have had this drive for years now (like 4.5), and while I have periodically pointed the business end of a can of air duster into the drive from time to time to keep it cleaned out it is entirely possible that the laser lens has a nice coating of "roadfilm" as you call it built up. Perhaps I'll have to give one of those CD/DVD cleaner discs with the fine brushes on it a shot. I've seen some nasty buildup cleaned out of drives using them in the past, and my drive is most definitely overdue for a treatment of that sort.

@DanBeale - I've not seen that bit of software before. I'll have to try it after I allow the current ImgBurn process to continue for a while longer. I have a few hours invested into it already, may as well let it continue while I sleep and see what the results are upon my awakening.

Thank you all!

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    For the future, it might be worth checking out dvdisaster, a program that adds error correction to burned media. You can also use the tool to check your DVD. – slhck Oct 2 '11 at 20:48
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    A poorly burned dvd, might be read by a different piece of hardware. I did the same thing backed up some music files, years later I went to retrieve them, got the same results as you. I looked at the bottom of the disk, and sure enough the tracks were not similar burned (can be seen with a point light source) , also we have some old (cheap) Dvds that are de-laminating on the edges. Bad burns happen when the laser is weak, or optics have "roadfilm". one dvd player could read them, and another one will not. – Psycogeek Oct 2 '11 at 21:28
  • Are you reading these D/L DVD's in the same drive that wrote them? MOST DVD drives are NOT dual-layer capable, are you reading these dual-layer DVD's on a single layer drive (as your laptop drive likely is). If they're not explicitly marked as dual-layer, chances are, it's not. – lornix Oct 3 '11 at 6:34

Have you seen this piece of Windows freeware?


Recovers files from disks with physical damage. Allows you to copy files from disks with problems such as bad sectors, scratches or that just give errors when reading data. The program will attempt to recover every readable piece of a file and put the pieces together. Using this method most types of files can be made useable even if some parts of the file were not recoverable in the end.

Then you'll need to try to extract the file, but set the extract program to "keep broken" files.

Did you save any redundant data at all? Things like Par2 files, or WinRARs redundant data feature?

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    Even this utility wasn't able to recover the the file that was corrupted, however, I lucked out in the fact that it was only one file that was hosed. After seeing that I .RARed all of the files at 50MB I realized that I had probably uploaded the backup to my Live account's SkyDrive, which I had. I was able to download the corrupted file and I'm going to re-burn a couple of backups (at extremely low speed to ensure that it actually burns properly. :) ). – Sootah Oct 4 '11 at 21:04

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