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CD Burn Failure

I keep trying to burn a CD on my computer, but it keeps failing. What could be causing this and is there anything I can do to fix it?

This is a very good question and I’ve gotten several of the same in the past week. Ever since we ran the article on burning CDs with the Windows Media Player program, I’ve been hearing about a lot of your problems with the process. Here’s the scenario: you get the whole thing set up and you press “Start Burn” (or whatever your burning software has you do) and nothing happens. How frustrating is that?! Well, below are some of the most common reasons why a CD burn fails. Hopefully you will be able to do some troubleshooting with your software and find out what’s causing your trouble. Then you’ll be able to burn up a storm!

1.) The blank CD you are trying to burn with may have a scratch on it. Even a little dust can cause the burn to fail. Make sure you handle the CD with extreme care when transferring it from its case to your CD ROM drive.

2.) When burning with some programs, the auto insert notification and DMA (direct memory access) come into play. If the software you use has an option for either of these, make sure it is unchecked before you start the burn. You can usually go under the Preferences menu and uncheck the boxes. (You may have to restart your computer after doing so as well). If you don’t do this, you may have trouble with lock ups, buffer under run errors, among others.

3.) Depending on the type of media (CDs) you’re using, you may have too low of quality to get a successful burn. Non-branded media or no name media is usually referred to as a “B grade,” so you’ll want to make sure you don’t buy that type of writeable CD. If you do have this kind, you will more than likely run into some writing errors.

4.) Make sure all other programs are closed out before you start the burning process. You can do this by simply hitting Ctrl + Alt + Del. You will then see a list of all the running programs and you can close them down one by one. This includes your screensaver, virus checkers, uninstallers, etc. All of those will take CPU time away from the writer, causing lock ups and buffer under run errors. The only programs that should be running are your burning software, Explorer and the system tray, if you must.

5.) If you have a power management program set up on your computer to shut down your hard drive every so often, this could be causing the burn to fail. If the power is shut down during the burning process, you will receive the usual errors and you will go nowhere.

6.) If you have a compressed hard drive, you may also run into some problems. Compressed hard drives cause the access time to diminish and this can cause errors. If this is your situation, make sure you turn that option around before starting to burn a CD.

7.) If you’re having continuous burning trouble, you may have some sort of virus on your system. Make sure you run your virus scan before you start burning. Ensure that you have a clean system to start the process with. Update all your virus definitions, etc. before starting as well.

8.) You may have more than one burning software installed on your computer. If so, this may be causing your problem. Sometimes various programs conflict with each other and when they are not compatible during the burn, they can cause system lock ups. This isn’t always the case, but if you’re having trouble, you may want to check this one out.

9.) Last, but not least, there are a couple simple things you can do to try and solve your burning problems if nothing else has worked so far. It is recommended to defrag your system before you start burning. If there is any fragmentation on your hard drive, it can cause slower access time and other errors. You can also try restarting your computer. If yours has been on for a long period of time, sometimes all it needs is a good reboot.

Check out any one of these possibilities to try and fix your CD burning blues. Once you figure out which one is causing the trouble, you’ll be on your way to CD burning heaven!

~ Erin