Photos archived to DVD are "lost"

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by, May 29, 2009.

  1. I've been trying to copy a number of folders containing jpeg, tiff and raw images to a DVD-R for archive purposes without any success. My computer runs Vista, and it came with Roxio "Easy Media Creator 9". So far, I tried both Roxio and Vista's DVD burn utility, with the same result: When I put the DVD back in the drive to verify the files are there, the files are not recognized or there not there at all.
    Either with Roxio or Windows, I start by putting a fresh DVD-R in the drive. I'm then prompted to select a format - I select Mastered - then drag the folders to the DVD. Then I start the burn process. The process completes normally and the system ejects the DVD. I can tell that something has been written to the DVD because the bottom surface of the DVD has a band that is colored differently from the rest of the surface.
    But when I check the DVD by putting back in the drive (as if I was going to pull files from it) Windows apparently thinks the DVD is blank because it displays the prompt to format the DVD, just like it did when I first loaded the fresh DVD. Just for grins I clicked to format the DVD as Mastered, and I got a message stating that the DVD was write protected.
    So, is DVD-R an appropriate media for this? Should I use DVD-RW or something else? Can I drag entire folders to the DVD or do I need to drag each individual file? And yes, I do have a CD/DVD RW drive.
    What should be a simple task is driving me nuts. I've spent many hours and wasted a number of DVDs trying to solve this. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
  2. DVD-R and DVD+R are quite suitable media. Do NOT however use DVD-RW, as the information you burn on these will fade away in quite a short time.
    Have you remembered to finalize the burn process? If not, there is a possibility that the information is burnt on the DVD, but cannot be seen by different software.
  3. By the way, isn't there another way of burning than drag and drop? If you have something called an ISO or Joillet (or something like that) format, you can also try that.
  4. rnt


    Does the DVD burner/software combination burn -anything- to the disk that can be retrieved? Also try reading the disk on a different computer in case the problem is with the read functionality.
    Also, the fact that Vista wants to format the DVD when you insert it may mean that some other software is running that treats the DVD like it was a mounted drive. This might be getting in the way of the writing process you're trying to perform.
  5. The operating system can't read a DVD (or CD) unless the disc is properly finallized. This terminates the data area and locks in the directory. Since DVD's hold so much data (it seems like a lot if you don't take digital pictures), burning programs like Roxio and Nero allow an open-ended data structure, often as the default.
    There are other fatal problems too - bad discs and writing speed too high, for example. It's good practice to "verify" after every burn, which compares files read from the disc to the originals, or between CRC check sums. Packet writing is used to emulate the operation and convenience of HDDs and floppy discs on CDs and DVDs. Unfortunately, this process is usually proprietary and requires special software to extract the data.
    I burn hundreds of DVDs every year, and have no difficulty reading them afterward, even years afterward. I use "disc at once" writing to maximize compatibility between computers and operating systems. Look at your process and identify any errors you might be creating yourself.
  6. Maybe you're using the wrong component of Roxio? You are wanting simply to copy files, not create a movie or music DVD. I haven't used Roxio in quite a while, but I do know I had a hard time finding the simple file copying functions, both in Roxio and Nero.
  7. Also DVD-R's don't need any formatting. If it's asking you to format it and you do that it might be assuming you want to use the DVD for something else, or it's not recognizing it as a DVD-R. Maybe look into the settings more.
  8. Phil,
    after reading the other posts on this thread, I think that you are using the burner software so that it tries to operate the DVD as a ordinary disk. It is a while since I used Roxio, but try to find the function in which there is no "drag and drop" of files. What other formats do you have than Mastered?
  9. Need to tell Roxio you want to make a Data Disk....then add your files..then finalize....
  10. Thanks for your responses. I've read in several places about finalizing. The problem is, I never get the opportunity to do it. When I use the Windows utility - just dragging files to the DVD drive - the entire process completes, and the system ejects the disk. With Roxio, pretty much the same thing happens. Oh, in Roxio, I am selecting data disk. But there's never a step called "finalize."
    Brad, you ask an interesting question. But in Roxio, when I insert the blank DVD, the screen does show 4.7 gig available. (It decrements down from there as I add files.)
    The only two formatting options are "Live File" and Mastered. The former is a proprietary MS format which allows you to use -+RW DVDs as normal hard drives. But all I want to do is to store data, and the Mastered format is the recommended method.
  11. Windows formatting? Sounds to me like Mt Rainier, AKA Easywrite. In this case a packet-writing system is built into both Windows and the drive itself allowing you to drag files immediately to disk and let Windows finish formatting the file system in the background. That wouldn't entirely explain why you can't read the results, unless of course you're ejecting the disk early.
  12. If it's not a software problem then it's hardware (drive or disc). Do you have a spare drive to test this?
  13. In Roxio Creator Premier, after the writing process is finished and the drive ejects the CD/DVD, close the drive again, go to the Tools menu, and select Finalize Disk.
  14. Brad, you ask an interesting question. But in Roxio, when I insert the blank DVD, the screen does show 4.7 gig available. (It decrements down from there as I add files.)
    This statement indicates you are using packet-writing software. The directory is preformatted to establish a proprietary data structure then updated as data is added. Unlike a floppy or hard drive, you can't really erase or write over anything, so the data structures consist of pointers. All operations are sequential and cumulative.
    'Nuff said about the details. It's simply not something you should be using to archive or backup up images. For one thing, you need proprietary software to read the results. For another, if an operation fails for any reason, everything recorded up to that point is lost.
  15. I'll tell you, I do not trust archiving files on a DVD. Seen too many of them that become unreadable for no reason. Until something better comes along I have them on my computer, and on 2 external hard drives that are kept disconnected from the computer until I need them. Every 2 years or so I replace the hard drives w/ new ones and sell the older ones.
  16. Download trial version of Nero 9
    When choosing compilation type select Create Data DVD and you should be fine.
    If you will not be able to read disc burned with this software, it's likely there is some problem with your DVD burner.
  17. To copy files to DVD+/-R, use Vista, not Roxio or anything else. You don't need to finalize before you've filled the DVD unless you want some non-Windows device to be able to read it.
  18. Phil,
    A quote from the excellent second edition (may-2009) of The Dam Book, the bible for archiving digital photographs:
    'With proper handling, a quality optical disk that is burned well should be a valuable backup to a hard drive-based archive for 5 to 10 years'.
    The author Peter Krogh gives the next tips:
    - Use quality disks
    - Burn at slow speeds
    - Don't use a solvent-based pen to mark the disk. Mark only in the center area of the disk.
    - Do not put label stickers on your disks.
    - Don't print with inkjet printers.
    - Immediately store your disks in a way that protects them from scratches.
    - Protect disks from UV light, excessive heat and humidity as well as frequent changes in temperature.
    - Validate the data on the disks from time to time.
    Peter Krogh advises to use the DVD+R format, but states that manufacturing defects and poor storage conditions can result in data loss.
    He recommends two brands of DVD that are considered particularly stable: Delkin Gold and Taiyo Yuden.
    And of course: a single burned DVD should not be your only backup of your valuable photographs.
  19. This was the subject of a recent Australian Photography magazine where they interviewed someone from the National Archives picture division. She was not at all keen on CD or DVD. Sobering. Printing on acid free paper and storing in archival boxes is the only solution for your most precious images. After that, external hard drives, at least two and preferably four, regularly accessed and replaced as per Steve Mareno's post, with some off-site back up. The manual for my business software lays down the law: extreme paranoia is the appropriate mindset for preserving data. Of course, some of us are also still shooting with film with some archival advantages.
  20. Try CD's not DVD's. I'm told by the pro's that the default technology in the software for CDs is data file based, whereas DVDs are expecting a video type file and have to be tricked by software to accept data files.
  21. If you're having trouble with Roxio, there are some excellent free applications that can burn standard, finalised DVDs or CDs from your data:
  22. I use for online backups. It runs every night, and it only costs $5/month. You do need a fast connection, though.
  23. I'm told by the pro's that the default technology in the software for CDs is data file based, whereas DVDs are expecting a video type file and have to be tricked by software to accept data files.​
    DVD Video IS a bunch of data files.
  24. Phil,
    When Burning, I've found much better success making an .iso disc image first and then burning and finalizing that image to the dvd. You'll have to look up how to do that with your software. You do not need to do the whole process twice, just the final burn from iso twice to get two copies. Quality of blank dvd's can vary quite a bit. You may have a bad batch. Or it may be that you have a bum dvd reader.
    To answer your questions more directly. . .
    DVD when appropriate precautions are taken, can be an appropriate media, however there are many caveats.
    There should be no difference in dragging a folder vs dragging individual files. However, I would not recommend dragging and dropping using the windows explorer interface. I would recommend building a project in roxio.
    Do you know that your DVD writer can write ok? and can read OK? Do you know that the DVD's you are using perform acceptably with the particular writer you have?
    This is one area where windows tries to be everything to everybody, and in doing so has failed to make this an easy project.
    Since I think it is relevant here I'll explain the backup solution I use. After years and years, and many failed restores, what I've settled on is a backup solution where i have three external drives. One firewire, and two usb. They are all the same size. I store all of my pictures on the firewire drive, and that is where I edit them in lightroom. On a mac, I use cron to synchronize one usb to my firewire drive nightly. This protects me against drive failure. Once a week or so, I take the USB drive at home to work with me, store it in a file cabinet, and bring the other one home, it will then be synchronized to the firewire. It leaves me with a copy in at least two locations all the time. It is constantly updated and verified. It is in the same directory structure as my 'live' drive, so if I need to restore something I know right where to go. It is universal, I can access these files on any computer any time. Costs are not very much, as large usb disks are quite cheap.
    This setup protects against these things:
    failed hard drive, I never lose more than one day of work due to hard drive failure.
    Catastrophic environmental disaster. If there is a fire, or a tornado, or a flood, There is always an offsite copy with everything current to within one week. Everything short of a nuclear disaster.
    It protects me for up to one week against computer virus' as they can't possibly infect something that isn't plugged in.
    It is easy to manage, I don't have to fool around with individual disks. and worry about which picture is on which one.
    Once I configure the computer to synchronize my picture folders nightly, all I have to do, is remember to change the two usb disks out regularly. I could actually do this every night, but I am lazy, and once a week suffices.
    Over the years I've used just about every dvd burning program with numerous drives, and numerous programs. Though many do I no longer used DVD as an archival medium. Blank DVD's seem to vary quite a bit by quality particularly long term archival applications. I've had many that failed to read properly after 3 - 5 years. I was never perfect in how I stored them, i.e. I might've left doors open where they might get exposed to sunlight, and I might not have kept them at a uniform temperature and humidity.
    On the other hand I know many people who do use DVD and it seems to work well for them. I suggest burning the same content to two discs made by two manufacturers. You can tell the manufacturer by looking on the clear plastic part at the center of the spindle. The name brands may be different but that doesn't mean the manufacturer is.
  25. Try finding a setting that says "Close the disk" (or says something about not being able to write to it anymore). Sometimes "open" disks behave funny. That said, from your description it sounds like you're on target otherwise.
    I do wonder if you're getting "Drag-to-Disk" B.S., which never seems to work right ("Drag-to-Disk" sort of just copies files on the fly, as if it were another hard disk, and not all systems can read it, though you'd think the original could!).
    You might also try different media. Sometimes some burners don't like all media. Also check for firmware updates to your DVD burner. That often fixes incompatibilities.
    Even if you do backup to DVD, personally I'd suggest having the data on at least 2 (separate) hard drives. Any media can fail you and you want multiple copies.
    I'm actually hoping to get a Blue-Ray burner because at 25 gig/disk it would be much more tenable to do backups. As it stands I'm at like 25 DVDs of photos for a full set.
    Have a great one.
  26. I didnt finish reading the whole thread, so forgive me if some of this is restated. imgburn (software) is free and MUCH faster to write files to dvd than windows itself. I would try that, as its free.
    The whole problem, though, is very similar to a problem that I had with a DVD drive. I think the hardware is defective and most likely needs to be replaced. I had a drive that did the same thing: pretended to burn but wrote nothing readable.
  27. Windows XP and (probably) Vista include disc burning utilities which allow you to drag-and-drop files to a burner in Windows Explorer. While that seems to work OK at least part of the time, you have no control over the format used for the burning. Specifically, you should burn a DVD-ROM in ISO or UDF format, DAO (disc-at-once rather than packet or track-at-once) for best readability.
    Roxio and Nero are among the programs which give you complete control over this format. In Roxio, it is necessary to burrow through several layers of menus to record DAO. Roxio also loads DLLs into the Windows directory and overwrites system libraries - a bad think leading to DLL-Hell. There don't seem to be any reasonable shortcuts in Roxio.
    Nero is my program of choice (I burn thousands of CDs and DVDs as part of my recording business). It has the typical candy-coated "Easy" procedures, but all you really need is "Burning ROM" for drag-and-drop recording.
    A company called "Infinadyne" has a program called "CD/DVD Diagnostic", as well as more powerful forensic tools. While not as comprehensive as Plextor's "Plextools", it can be used with any burner and gives a good indication of the burn quality. File verification alone will only detect the most aggregious errors, and is prone to false alarms. "CD/DVD Diagnistic" will easily detect problems with a burner or brand/lot of CDs and DVDs.
    If you can't burn a disc at the rated speed, using a slower rate seldom helps. The error rate is usually higher at 2x than at 8x. However, try to limit the speed to the maximum CLV (constant linear velocity) speed, typically 8-16x for CDs. It helps to make an image file for streaming data (sound or video) or disc copying, but not for making a DVD-ROM. There is ample time for error checking/correction in that case.
  28. I just had an experience with the Nero system I had installed a couple of years ago. I wanted to make copies of a video I shot last year with my camcorder, a Hi 8 tape from which I made a DVD copy, using a panasonic outboard machine having its own hard drive storage- a wonderful machine. The DVD was finalized, and plays fine on my computer's media player. But the Nero system starts to copy, then mid-way it quits, with a message: "your buring process failed- glunk".
    I am using XP.
    So I had to run all my copies using the trusty Panasonic machine. It has an SD card slot and can burn images too. Weird that a little outboard machine can do things easily that an expensive, powerful PC cannot. The Nero I have is unreliable. You should be able to burn images, not finalize, and add more later I would think! The Panasonic can burn an entire movie, leave not finalized, then add another to the same disc later!
  29. As Ken said, "You need to tell Roxio you want to make a Data Disk...then add your files...then finalize..."
    Expanded: ignore Vista prompting. From the Start Program menu, select Roxio Creator. Choose Data Disk. Click Add Data and select files for writing to DVD. If you see the option, select Verify After Writing. Do not select Make Bootable. Do not select Appendable. Insert a writable DVD and click the orange button. Wait.
  30. Dear Phil Winter.
    The solution is very simple! BUY A MAC, and you never going to have such a problem or no problem at all. Used to have a PC, 8-9 years ago, then bought a MAC, a G4 Desktop and a iBook G4 ( I righting this comments to you) and last year a MAC Pro, All thee computer working with out any hick-up, and I have CD's DVD's burned on a PC, and on my first desktop G4, .jpgs, .TIF and never had a problem to see them on the computer, and excess to print or re edit, etc. It is terrible, eh? Ohhhh! I'm total idiot to computers. The iBook G4 extremely abused with internet by me and specially my grand daughter, and it is running continuously since I get from the store. Because of that, I don't have a chance to practice the software, etc., and the reason, I'm so uneducated to massaging a computer. Oh! I'm 70 years young guy.
  31. See if you have any option - other than drag and dropp. I have recordnow that came with my dell and works really fine. It does have a drag and drop option, I somehow never used it, I always use 'select folder' option and works fine. I used many CDs so far to store my pictures and sometimes I had bad disk - as soon as I start burning, it spits out disk saying it is full - eventhough it is absolutely blank, so I put in another disk. But other than that, I did not have this kind of problem. I never burnt the DVDs so far, though. However, I think it would work same way.
    By the way, I always user RW disks so I don't have to wait till I have diskfull images. I go on packing up as and when I want to ...
  32. DVD's are a great backup solution, but...
    ...use high quality (not carp like memorex) Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden (sp?) are the best.
    use the OS to burn a disc. Using software (which is normally junk (which is why it came free)) is a bad idea. Just creat a burnable folder, insert a disc, and click burn.
    don't fill the disk! If you use Verbatim DVD's this doesnt matter as much, but still, the outer edge is the most likely place to have errors. Dont write on this part and you will avoid this problem completely.
    Check each disc when its done. and Keep a copy on an external HDD.
  33. Try making a data DVD rather than a photo dvd. for whatever reason I always have better luck with data rather than photo.
    Regards Glenn
  34. Vista some times will not recognize a drive as being accessible, I had to go in to administration and give myself permission to access the drive. This normally happens when when using an external drive. Other then that I have never had problems burning to disks using either windows or Roxio. Most computers will have the type of DVDs that can be written to make sure that your computer accepts the DVD-R.
  35. All the talk about finalizing etc is confusing for the non experts and really not needed to save your photos on DVD. What you need to do is choose "Make a data DVD" in Nero Roxio or any other similar software, drag the files and folders you need to backup into the window, choose the drive your blank DVD is in and instruct your PC to "burn" the disk.
    Now if you have done so and there is no info in the DVD after you burned it - there is a problem with your hatdware or software and a tech may be needed.
    If you need further help (even by phone) I would gladly assist you free of charge. Just look up my info in, send me an email and I'll call you back and try my best to walk you through the necessary steps to burn your files or to identify the problem.
  36. I have and use very easily Nero 8 express essentials. I back up all photos to DVD with this regularly with no problems. For photos use and you are backing up use "DATA" as it will save it safer and double check the back up before it is finished.
    I back up ALL photos to my terabyte external hard drive and to my DVD disks. The photos I edit and like I do save to my Computer terabyte hard drive for further editing and use. By doing it this way may seem time consuming and a pain, however, I have 2 back ups and can sleep at night.
    Now the key to back up to DVD is that you must use a quality DVD disk. The cheapo disks WILL go bad after time and you WILL loose photos on them. I only use a good quality DVD disk, such as memorex Gold etc. There are also 2 DVD disks to use and that may determine on youir computer. Be sure you are obtaining the newer disks.
  37. Having been responsible for data backups for systems ranging from single PCs to enormous servers, my advice is to just ditch the DVD idea completely.
    A safe data backup strategy requires that the data be redundant (multiple copies), and that those copies be spread across different devices (preferably in different physical locations).
    There are essentially two ways to accomplish that goal, either using a proven archival medium, like magnetic tape (yes, it is still in use, and yes, it is still the standard other media are measured against.), or by having 'live' copies of the data spread across other devices.
    Good, high capacity tape drives are very expensive, and require continual maintenance.
    The more (much) economical option is to build a NAS (network attached storage) or USB/firewire box that supports RAID 1 (mirroring). This is by far the safest option, since it means your data is complete on multiple individual hard drives. If one fails, the other half of the pair is still immediately available.
    This can be accomplished as simply as buying something like this: (I own one and like it a lot, but feel free to peruse their competitors. :) ), or you can build/purchase your own setup to whatever capacity you can afford.
    Heck, in a pinch, just making sure your data is copied to a separate computer is better than nothing and likely much more reliable than burning DVDs.
  38. Well, does your burner burn anything else at all? Have you tried just burning other data files to a disk to see what happens, say a few text documents?
    I use a primative Nero OEM pack to burn archive copies. I have used Roxio too. Cut and paste works in both of them. Dragging files? Well I suppose, but it turns it into a mouse exercise.
    Do the empirical tests first of the hardware first.
  39. Just a comment to the mirror drive. In its self it is not a backup it just hardware redunentcy. If the data becomes corrupt on a mirrored or raid drive that data is corrupt irrelevant if one physical drive in the mirror or raid breaks or not. A back up is a separate copy regardless of what media it is on. Tape drives are very good as long but the risk for the layman is that the tape gets overwrite and tape solutions are very expensive. A DVD is very good but the media can get easily damaged or scratch. 2 x DVD would be the ideal solution. If the system is two complicated then the backups often get pushed out and when the breakdown happens then the data is lost.
    I think a shelf full of DVD is a very good solution for most people as you have a copy separate from the computer copy and regardless of hard where and break downs ect you see what you have. It is probably the most cost effect sollution.
  40. Michael,
    I just had an experience with the Nero system I had installed a couple of years ago. I wanted to make copies of a video I shot last year with my camcorder
    You were probably trying to make a disc-to-disc copy, which is dicey at best. The biggest problem is that the reader drive can't keep up with the writer. It could be a simple matter of drive speed, but there could be excessive read errors in the disc or a problem with the way the DVD was compiled (the latter is a key ingredient in "protecting" commercial DVDs). Tape to DVD recorders use a packet writing technique which is not a very robust video DVD format.
    When using Nero to copy DVDs (or CDs), first make an image of the source disc (copy to "image recorder"), then make subsequent copies from that file. Any read errors in the source disc get corrected, and everything is located in a single, tight HDD file. The HDD is probably 2x to 3x as fast as the DVD burner, which eliminates the speed issue.
  41. Backup for business systems is primarily concerned with short-term data recovery, not long-term storage. One year would be considered long-term in this context. The long-term issue is handled by using redundant HDD systems with continual maintenance. I suppose if something like the Verizon Team, seen in their commercials, really followed you around, you'd be OK with the HDD solution for personal use. That leaves DVDs and CDs for most of us, because they last a long time and can't be accidently erased (it takes a shredder).
    Most problems with long-term readibility stems from poor recordings at the get-go. That's why it's important (essential!) to follow each burn with verification against the original file. It's also important to buy good discs (Verbatim are the best, IMO), and to periodically check the burn quality with an independent program (q.v., Infinadyne or Plextools). No manufacturer is immune from problems. I have 1200 Taiyo Yuden DVDs on hand which cannot be consistently burned on any equipment, including my Microboards duplicator (is a subsidiary of Taiyo-Yuden, or vice versa). Verbatim discs work without an hitch (for now, anyway).
  42. Edward,
    I have some Taiyo Yuden DVDs with issues, too. If I burn them using Toast on my Mac Pro they're fine but won't read in XP on my Dell.
    So as a test I purchased some Memorex DVDs, burned them using my normal routine, and they read in XP just fine. Think I'll use the TYs just for the Mac.
  43. Dan,
    You can download a free 30 day trial of "CD/DVD Diagnostic" from Some of the features are disabled, but the ones you need to check disc quality are good to go. I suggest you run tests on T-Y and Memorex discs you have written. I've had major problems with Memorex in the past (which is why I standardized on Taiyo Yuden until recently). There may be problems even if the T-Y's run in certain drives or on your Mac computer. You can have 600 errors/second on a DVD and still read it half the time. A good disc has less than 15 soft errors/second and no hard errors. A failure to read is just the part of the iceberg you can see ;-)
  44. Thank you all for such great advice! I really appreciate your time in effort and your many suggestions. After reading your responses, I'm thinking the problem might be with the DVD hardware or software. Particularly in light of the fact that neither Roxio or Windows would work.
    Edward, thanks for the info on infinadyne. I'll give that a shot.
    Bela, I'm with you on the Macs - if I could afford one. I actually do own a Mac - a 1984 Mac Plus I purchased with printer for $2200. I later go a "steal" on a 30 MEGA byte external drive for $500. If anyone knows of a technology museum, I'll be glad to donate it. Still works, AFAIK.
    I just looked - my DVDs say, "Is it live or is it Memorex?" in the center. Ooops!
    I do nightly backups to a USB hard drive, and I just checked - my latest files are there. I just wanted to backup my files again to DVD, but with storage so cheap, probably another HD is the way to go.
    Thanks again!
  45. Within Roxio, I use drag-and-drop (sounds like you're doing it the same way). On the lower right corner of the screen is the "burn" button. Just next to it (or above or below, can't remember right now) is a clickable "Options" text. Click on the word "Options" to open another menu - that's where you should be able to select the disc format. Just make sure you select the "Finalize" or "Close the disc" option - you do not want to make a multi-session disc.
  46. Thanks, Edward. I'll run the software and see what shows.

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