How do I find out if my DVD drive supports DVD-R or DVD+R media (or both) ? (Short of actually buying both types)

I googled on this topic, and could not find a definitive answer. The DVD writer manufacturers' web sites are of no help either.

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    p.s sometimes the formats supported are labeled in front of the drive, looked there yet? – caliban Sep 9 '09 at 18:35

(if using Windows)

Go in to Device Manager and expand optical drives.

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Find out the model number and search Google for it!

You say the manufacturer's web site is no help, but hopefully there will be another website some where that has a review or specification list of that drive.

If you purchased it any time within the past few years, there are high chances it would be dual format.

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  • Tried google with the drive details from device manager, but the drive did not turn up :( It is a samsung drive, and there are many variations I found - but not the exact one. Too many series, variants with different characteristics. – Abhinav Sep 9 '09 at 18:31
  • > If you purchased it any time within the past few years, there are high chances it would be dual format. That's what I keep hearing, from all sites apart from the manufacturers ;) – Abhinav Sep 9 '09 at 18:32
  • Can you paste the device details? I am sure I can find it out for you. – William Hilsum Sep 9 '09 at 18:33

Yes I'll probably get accused of necromancy stumbling across this in a search; but given you have not accepted an answer yet I figure its fair game.

Nero has a tool designed for determining a drives capabilities. Not that I'm a fan of them but the tool is fairly light and non-invasive.

Nero InfoTool provides information about the most important features of installed drives, inserted discs, installed software, and much more. -Nero

download Nero InfoTool.zip

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Use DVDInfoPro, just use the trial version, find out, and uninstall. Or pay if you like it alot.

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Most burning software should tell you you could also post the model you have. Anything in the last few years should be able to burn both.

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    ImgBurn does some basic identification of features. – opello Sep 9 '09 at 18:52

On a Mac, this information is available in the Apple System Profiler app. Pull down the Apple menu and choose "About This Mac," then click the "More Info" button. In the window that appears, click on "Disc Burning." You will see a list of all DVD writers attached to your system. Clicking on one (if you have more than one installed) will display more information, including the type(s) of media it supports writing to.

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Here is an example from my Mac Pro, which has a aftermarket Blu-ray burner installed (which also burns all flavors of writable and rewritable CDs and DVDs):


  • Firmware Revision: YL05
  • Interconnect: ATAPI
  • Burn Support: Yes (Generic Drive Support)
  • Profile Path: None
  • Cache: 2048 KB
  • Reads DVD: Yes
  • CD-Write: -R, -RW
  • DVD-Write: -R, -R DL, -RAM, -RW, +R, +R DL, +RW
  • BD-Write: -R, -RE
  • Write Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw, DVD-DAO
  • Media: To show the available burn speeds, insert a disc and choose View > Refresh
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Microsoft has a tool I just discovered (kb305184). It seems to only show if it burns CD & DVD's (not really specific disc types); basically the stuff that would be on the front of the drive. If you in a strict environment this might be the best compared to nothing

+1 for the Nero InfoTool, the was what I did years ago. Sucky you have to install it now :(

opello mentioned ImgBurn, I can't rave enough about it (although recently its bundled crapware, but a guys got to make a living). To get the info in that you go to Discovery, Tools, Drive, Capabilities

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Use the software BurnAware Free. It is one of the best CD, DVD, Blu-ray burning applications out there. To find out every detail about your disks and/or your CD/DVD/BD drive just use Disk Info feature in Utilities section of the program.

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