Recover (reuse) data on DVD-R, DVD+R media?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Fran K. writes:

" Dear Dennis, I have used some of my DVD-R disks to copy some of my old family movies, a couple I messed up on and won't let me copy anything else to them. Is there any kind of program that will let you recover or reuse the DVDs? "

My response:

Good question.

The simple answer is that it is not possible to reclaim space on DVD-R or DVD+R media. However, providing that the disc you made is multi-session (IE: you specified that you can write more than once to the disc the first time you wrote to it) *and* you have a considerable amount of space remaining on the disc, you can write a second session that essentially erases the "table of contents" of the previous session.

This would essentially start you on a "clean slate", but doing so won't reclaim any of the space you already saved to the disc. DVD-R and DVD+R media are "write once read many" (or "WORM") media -- in other words: you cannot re-write over top of the same area more than once, but you can read it as many times as you want.

Side note: Reportedly, some [all?] DVD players cannot read multi-session DVDs (they must be burned as "disc at once" or choose "no multi-session" at the time of creating the disc). Therefore, any DVD-R or DVD+R disc created in multi-session mode may only be readable on your computer.

RE: DVD-RAM and DVD-RW media

Compared to DVD+R or DVD-R, both DVD-RAM or DVD-RW media allow you to erase the *entire* contents of the disc. The major difference is that DVD-RAM is much more versatile than DVD-RW (rewritable) media; DVD-RAM can be rewritten to 100,000+ times whereas RW is only rated for 1,000+ rewrites.

Keep in mind that either of these media types will most likely not play in your DVD Player depending on the make / model of your player -- but will work fine on the computer. If your drive supports DVD-RAM or DVD-RW media, you might want to take a trip down to your local computer store and pick up one or the other and use it as a "tester" for future compilations.

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