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Please Help! I've lost all data on formatted cds!

By katiemorgan
Aug 30, 2007
  1. I formatted about seven cds and put data and pictures on them with my Dell computer. I popped the cds out and put them back in to make sure the info was still on them before I deleted it off my computer. When I put the new cds into my Toshiba, nothing shows up on the cds. I can look at the back of the cds and tell there is something on them. Is there a reason they won't show up on any of the computers I've tried them on??? Please help! I am very sad to see all of my work gone!
     
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Either your optical drive on the Dell, or the optical drive on the Toshiba. Try them in a third machine. My guess is that the Dell drive is out of alignment. Read them in the dell, and copy them back to the hard drive if needed, then rush down to Wal-Mart or Circuit City or CompUSA or Best Buy or Sams Club or Costco, and buy a new CD-Burner for about $24 to $29... or a DVD burner for $44... and make the problem go away.
    Optical drives are now the most fragile part of a computer... seldom lasting as long as a year... easily getting out of alignment, and causing the trouble you describe.
    You just do not know whether the Dell or the Toshiba is the culprit.
    Good luck to youl.
     
  3. katiemorgan

    katiemorgan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the suggestions.. the only problem is, I have already gotten rid of the dell. I put one of the disks in another computer and it showed up for a second, then the computer froze, and now its cd drive isn't working. I can see the stuff written on the back of the CD. Does that still mean there's a chance I'll never be able to get to it?
     
  4. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    it sounds like they are CD RW disks, is that correct? if so then the problem could be a simple as you NOT having a udf reading software on the toshiba. the UDF software is usually installed by the burning program that writes the CDRW's. like Nero InCD. google for UDF reading software and try it.
     
  5. katiemorgan

    katiemorgan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I think that's definitely it... I'm on a different computer now and the title I formatted the CD is showing up. Nothing is showing up in the folder, but when I click on properties, it says there are 702 MB on the CD and 108 MB left. It says the File System is UDF. How should I go about getting a program to be able to view my files?

    Thanks for the tip! I really appreciate it!
     
  6. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    there used to be some freeware UDF readers available but I cannot find any now. ISO Buster can retrieve the data on the disks but only the paid version works with UDF files. it is not an expensive program though.

    there is a program that is free called CD recovery toolbox. I am not sure if it works on CDRW disks or not since I quit messing with those unreliable crappy things a long time ago. but since it is free download it and try it.

    http://www.oemailrecovery.com/cd_recovery.html

    And in the future? spend the few cents it takes to use a regular CD disk if the data you are burning is important. CDRW's are unreliable.
     
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    If the data was written by a laser ever so slightly out of alignment, it probably requires another out of alignment laser to read it.
    This gets real complicated, because most optical drive burners have two lasers and some have three. One burns, while the other reads.
    I don't know all the whens, whats, and wherefores but some optical drives turn on a wheel, others on a belt. I assume that all are like the ones I have attempted to repair. Both or all three lasers are fixed to a special very small board, in unmovable positions. This makes me think that the "mount" for the lasers moves out of alignment from wear and use.
    But the changes in alignment are so small, that perhaps if you try a number of older ones from a junk heap in a shop or refurbs, you would find one that would read the disc.
    I know there are drives were the alignment can be adjusted, but they start at $600, and go up to $3400... and have their own housing. Professional services charge healthy fees to rescue data.
    You might save the discs for a day when you can afford to have some professional service look them over for recovery.
     
  8. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    I would be willing to bet the problem is the disks were not finalized. and that her current computer does not have packet writing software on it so it can't read UDF files.
     
  9. katiemorgan

    katiemorgan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I tried to download different things to make the cds work and none of the programs I downloaded worked. If the disks aren't finalized, does that mean I won't be able to uncover them? Should I bring them to someone, or is there pretty much no way they're going to work?
     
  10. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    either you have not finalized the CDs or you are using the wrong type of CD for the drive you are attempting to read it in. A -R drive cannot read a +R CD. Not all drives are universal some are. Toshiba uses -R.
     
  11. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Dell uses -R on the stock drives that came with the computer.
    The discs could be readable in some other machines. If she was using Dells Sonic Record Now software, it generally doesn't give you the choice to make those mistakes.
    How old was the Dell, and what model number. Did it have the standard black drive, or was it replaced. Did you use Record Now with the screen Icon allowing you to "Burn CD,s", Roxio, Nero, or some other burning software.
    Many of the Dell burners are made by HLDS and have a terrible, and early , failure rate... with alignment problems... so my bet is still there.
     
     
  12. katiemorgan

    katiemorgan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The cds I'm using are CD-R. I was using a dell laptop.. I'm not quite sure what model number it is. When the disks were finished, I opened the drive and put them back in. When I put them back in, I was able to open up the files and see them. Would that still have something to do with alignment??
     
  13. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    You were able to read the discs on the computer you burned them on because UDF reading software was installed on that machine. Your best option is to go with the purchased version of ISO Buster it has UDF reading capability and also recovers data from corrupted disc's. (Which a another possibility for what is causing your problem.)
     
  14. katiemorgan

    katiemorgan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for all the help! I'm going to try that!
     
  15. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    That is part of the issue. However, what others suggested here could be in play here. It depends on the model of your Dell laptop, and the age. Many laptops of a few years ago, could only reliably read their own CDs. Laptop CD drives are more rugged and some desktop drives. But they do go out of alignment. It doesn't take much.. we're talking about tenths of a milimeter... It also has to do with angle and depth.
    If you were using Dells (Sonic) Record now, there were less chances for you to make a mistake. It would more likely be the drive, particularly if the laptop is more than two years old... or heavily used.
    We have seen a number of cases on fairly new laptops where burned discs were not readable by heavily used desktop drives. We have not done any intensive studys, because optical drives in desktops are easy and cheap to replace. Laptops require a much larger investment.
     
  16. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    Dell always used Roxio on thier systems and the problem with Roxio is that if you put an CDRW disk that had not been finalized into another machine with packet writing software other than roxio you ended up with a corrupted disk. I had that happen on some CDRW disks made on a dell machine with roxio and put the unfinalized disk in another machine that had InCd on it. instant corrupted disk.
     
  17. rickk1

    rickk1 Banned Posts: 89

    I've bought nothing but Dell for my last several computers and they always install that lame Roxio or Sonic software. My advice is to spend a few dollars and buy Nero. I currently use Nero7 Ultra and have used Nero6 as well and have never had any recording problems or other cd/dvd issues after using this software.
     
  18. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Well, not always. Far from it. For at three years, Dell has given their customers the opportunity to buy Roxio CD Creator, or Nero in some cases, but Record Now by Sonic (which is owned by Roxio) has been the default CD burner software on Dell Dimensions, Inspirons, Latitudes, XPS and home or budget computers.
    Sonic is the low end copying software, but it has had that one advantage of limiting the errors the user could make, by automatically finalizing the disc unless the user went out of their way to meddle with things.
    Sonic bought Record Now in December, 2002. They were, in turn, purchased by Roxio, in August of 2005... but little change was made in the Sonic - Record Now - Software. Dell clearly has some interest in Roxio and or Record now, but I haven't bothered to look it up.
    Clearly, Roxio is behind the fence on this one, because Nero is universally more popular. You can hardly give Roxio away. It sells in our Wal-Mart for $32... where Nero 7. Ultimate is $109, and Nero 7 Elements is $39... but available elsewhere for $3.00

    The problems caused by users in opening, closing, copying, failing, etc., forced all computer resellers to handle a version of burner softrware that would produce copies that users could not damage.
     
  19. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    As I recall it was actually the other way around. Sonic bought Roxio, the guy that owned Roxio sold it to sonic and sunk his money into trying to revive napster as a legal music download service.
     
  20. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The Roxio corporate name absorbed the Sonic name... that is all I know... I had stock.
     
  21. katiemorgan

    katiemorgan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I finally bought and downloaded IsoBuster... it worked like a charm! Thanks so much for everyone's help and suggestions! I really appreciate it.
     
  22. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    Glad it worked for you.
     
  23. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,896

    Kind of like HP and Compaq merging, separately they were two second rate computer manufacturers, together they are ONE second rate computer manufacturer.
     
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