Cd burning issue

By smb1968
Jul 7, 2008
  1. Hi all,
    I'm having trouble burning cds. I have Dell Inspiron E1505 with just the hardware that came with it. When I try to burn a cd everything seems okay (I can select the files, copy them to cd, & the process seems to complete), but in the end the cd is still blank. I have tried to burn w/ Windows Media Player & Sonic, both seem to be working, say the files have been burnt, & the cd drive even pops open at the end as if everything has been completed, but the cd is still blank. Any help is much appreciated.
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    Your burner may be worn out
  3. smb1968

    smb1968 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    But I've never burnt a single cd on it. Is is possible that it would wear out just playing cds? I really don't even do that very much.
  4. BorisandBailey

    BorisandBailey TS Enthusiast Posts: 154

    Two things come to mind: check to see if you're burning Joliet or ISO. Choose Joliet for data and music.

    The other thing is that vendors like Dell and Gateway use very cheap cd burners. I have had to replace the cd burners of every Gateway I've had, even from the start. If you go to, you can order a very good Sony or Lite On for about $25. Look under Combo dvd burners. Another good online store is
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Define "is blank"

    Better yet. Download DVDInfoPro (14day trial)

    • When it starts make sure your drive is displayed in the lower left pulldown
    • Click the Drive Info Icon (3rd from left at top) then click the camera icon (towards the right to save the image as a graphic file)
    • Insert the disc you say "is blank".
    • Click the "media info" button (2nd from left at top) and then the camera icon to capture the image in a file again
    • Post the two image files back here
  6. smb1968

    smb1968 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok here's what I got from DVDInfoPro:

    Attached Files:

  7. smb1968

    smb1968 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I don't know what this means, but this disk just kicked in & started playing on my pc, but will not work on any other cd player in the house. A CD-R from the same batch, burnt on my son's computer will play on everything in the house. This is also the first cd I've got to do anything. It actually looked burnt after finishing. I did it is the slowest speed possible, which I hadn't done w/ the others.
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    Your drive is bad. Replace it
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    It could well be that your drive is bad and simplest thing to do is replace it but will make some other observations/points of note:

    1. Use DVDInfoPro to see if anything was actually written to media (see the difference inserting blank vs. non-blank media when you click Media info button)
    2. I would start (and tried for you) at Dell Support. Find the computer model (or enter your service tag) and see all the drivers/downloads Dell offers.
      • What i found odd (unless i did something wrong) was your combo CD/DVD drive isn't even listed for the laptop. It came configured that way?
      • One thing in particular i was looking for was a firmware upgrade for that drive. DVDInfoPro shows you're running version B103. I'm unable to find any firmware info for that drive
    3. Maybe you already are, but would try using a high quality good manufacturer CD for burning. Not all blank CDs are created equal
    4. Sure, try burning again at slow speed but even if that seems to be the issue... do you want to have to always burn at that speed?
    5. You have any other unneeded apps also running while you're burning? try avoiding that
    6. An audio CD inserted in computer may not start automatically if the drive is not set for Autoplay. Suggest you use try Windows Explorer to view contents of CD and the files on it. Do you see any files on there?

    i'd still see if you can't get more (or any!) info about that drive from Dell Support site.
  10. smb1968

    smb1968 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Again, thanks for all the help. Previous burn attempt cds registered nothing w/ DVDInfoPro, it said "no media" at the bottom of the screen. I have tried better cds, but to no avail. This is the way the machine came configured. In my efforts to figure this out firmware was something I came across before. I'm not completely sure what it even is (best I could figure is that it's a program that tells hardware what to do. yeah?) & couldn't find anyway to update the firmware for this drive either. I can see files on the last (slow burn) disk I did, but not the earlier fast ones.
    I'm beginning to believe that the drive itself is a dud. If I do have to replace it should I get an external or internal replacement (can I even replace a built-in one)? Would that be difficult to do or could me semi-computer literate self do it? Thanks again for the help.
  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    Hi Scott, you may be better off buying an external USB CD/DVD burner. My Memorex combo burner cost $79, and a replacement internal laptop drive would cost $150 or so
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    First, very good on your guess for firmware :grinthumb

    It's essentially a special type of software which is loaded into a chip. The chip itself is an integrated part of the device the firmware helps control. Not quite as fluid and easy to move around and load as software onto a hard drive.... so it's called "firm"-ware rather than software. Also, you typically find an executable file for the firmware. The executable would include a tool that knows how to load things onto the chip. Often, you only need run the executable. Everything else then just automatically happens.

    Replacing the internal optical drive is pretty easy. You should find a manual for your laptop on Dell's support site which shows how to replace all the laptop components. The drive is usually secured by a couple screws or spring loaded latches. Once you remove the screws or latches, the drive itself simply slides in/out.

    You may still find it easiest and best to use an external drive. You'll certainly have alot more by way of choices for an external vs. an internal. Is typically best plan to connect the external drive's USB cable directly to a port on the laptop (vs. going through a hub to get to the laptop)
  13. smb1968

    smb1968 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Tmagic650 & LookinAround,
    Thanks so much for trying to help me out w/ this stuff, you guys have been great. For you to take the time to walk this computer illiterate through this stuff is really appreciated. I'm going to look into a nice fast external drive tomorrow. Thanks again
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