CD Burner won't write at maximum recording speed?, Part 2

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week, Ben M. from Australia wrote about a problem he was having with his 40x CD burner not being able to write at maximum speed under Windows XP.

Ben's main problem: both Roxio Easy CD Creator and Nero Burning ROM (CD burning software) only allow the burner to write at 16x instead of 40x write speed.

Ben's computer is running Windows XP with 256 meg RAM on a 1.7 GHz machine and a 40 gig [7200 RPM] hard drive. In short, here's what Ben has already tried:

  • Replaced the burner with another (same model / brand);
  • Changed the buffer size for CDFS (CD File System) under Windows XP;
  • Updated both Nero Easy CD Creator to latest versions, including latest patches;
  • Disabled the [internal] Windows XP CD burning feature;
  • Set the burner on a separate I/O [input / output] channel;
  • Used both ATA 33 and 66 IDE cables;
  • Checked for an updated motherboard BIOS (none available);
  • Installed the latest IDE Controller Drivers for my motherboard;
  • Used 1x - 40x Acer and Verbatim brand-name CD media;
  • Tried all of the above in a completely different PC running XP Pro -- same thing happens.

In addition to what Ben has already tried, I suggested:

Try to burn a CD using another recordable brand [Sony recommended];

  • Read the CD Burning manual to make sure nothing is being overlooked. Verify that the correct interface cable is being used (ATA 33 / 66);
  • Try enabling / disabling DMA mode for the CD Burner (Device Manager);
  • Install the latest ASPI layer (software required for most CD burning applications); Many sites on the Internet recommend using Force ASPI. Here's a link I found floating on Google:
  • Use the burner software that came with the writer / ensure that Nero or Easy CD Creator fully support the burner (check the compatibility list on their web sites);
  • Check to see if the CD burner has an updated BIOS / firmware;
  • Enable / Disable CD buffer under-run protection;
  • Try the burner in another machine (not using Windows XP).

I also asked readers to send in their suggestions.

Mike G. writes:

" My local repair shop simply replaced my burner from an older model (lg8320b to an lg8481b). It appeared that the older model was not compatible with Windows XP or today's burning software ... the newer model made a world of difference. "

Jim U. suggested disabling the "test burn" function to increase the overall write time:

" Make sure that the 'verify' and /or 'test' function is disabled in [the CD Burning] software ... [the burn process is] quite a bit faster because it doesn't have to check and verify each track. "

Gordo from Australia suggested uninstalling the acceleration drivers (for Intel motherboards):

" Having the same problem ... I proceeded to uninstall the Intel disk acceleration driver that comes bundled with some motherboards.

I then set XP to activate DMA mode for the HD primary and secondary controllers. XP does not set DMA when installed on a system (may have changed since SP1). I then set DMA to the HD and CD drives, one 48x24x48 CD-RW and one DVD reader.

I was then able to burn (using Nero) 32x on the 40x media and 40x on 48x media. "

Ken K. provided me with some excellent suggestions from a PC hardware troubleshooting book:

" It is ironic that you start [your last] article with the phrase, 'In a nutshell', because the tips I give below are from a most excellent book, 'PC Hardware in a Nutshell'.

Below, I have copied snippets from 'Writable CD Troubleshooting' (page 356). Many of the tips [on this page were] the same as [what you already suggested]:

If the system has been overclocked, set things back to standard.

In Win95/98, '\windows\system\iosubsys\scsi1hlp.vxd' supports legacy SCSI devices, but sometimes affects CD writers. Rename or delete it, restart, and try again.

Eliminate any software that creates virtual disk volumes.

If an ATAPI CD writer, check the IDE configuration. Most IDE CD writers are happiest as the Master (or sole) device on the secondary ATA channel. "

Rev. William A. also made an important point about programs running in the background (although it does not pertain to this Ben's problem since he can't write at 40x from the get-go):

" In your checklist for checking the slow burning CD-Writer, I would also suggest that you disable all running programs, such as your antivirus program. If you have a direct connection to the Internet, simply unplug it temporarily until the burn is finished.* "

Side note: End-It-All is an excellent program for disabling programs / services running in the background. While searching Google for a download link, I came across End-It-All2 which was written by Neil J. Rubenking (a Contributing Technical Editor for Ziff-Davis' PC Magazine):

Aqua Man had a very interesting comment concerning Nero Burning ROM:

" There may be a program on the user's XP machine that is using up a lot of resources. I can't comment on Roxio, but Nero's latest burning program comes with 'detect max speed automatically' enabled by default.

If it senses that system resources are low, it may signal the burner to burn at the fastest speed if deems safe. Granted, the user's system (1.7G, etc.) should have plenty of resources, but ya never know... "

And, Jake T. had an excellent suggestion concerning system memory:

" I noticed that Ben also has only 256 meg on [his machine with Windows XP]. Could this lack of RAM have something to do with it?

A techie friend of mine [told me to get more memory for my computer to fix my burner problems] ... at the time, I had 256 meg. I doubled it [to 512 meg] and low and behold, my CD burner worked just fine! "

And, I have one final suggestion:

Assuming that all of the above possibilities have been exhausted and the burner still won't write at maximum speed, my final suggestion would be to try a different brand name CD recorder. Not all burners use the same burning technology, and the end result will vary from machine to machine.

Thanks to all who provided their wonderful suggestions!

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