How to Test for Defective DVDs and CDs

 

Updated 5/17/2011 by SuperMediaStore Staff

Depending on the quality of blank media you buy - from time to time a CD or DVD will not work. The drive either fails to recognize a disc is in place, or it doesn't read it properly. What is the problem? It may be the disc or it may be something else. Here are a few ways to tell if the disc is defective.


Visually Inspect the DVD or CD

 

While not very technologically sophisticated, closely inspecting the disc is a good first step. With a closer look you may be able to spot flaws that indicate disc defects. The illustrations below show a good disc compared to discs with flaws that can be spotted with a careful examination.


A good disc with no visible flaws. A disc with signs of a bad dye spread or dye melting. This is almost guaranteed not to properly burn. A disc with blemishes on the dye, perhaps caused by dirt or lint during pressing. The flaws will prevent a good burn.

 

Testing Discs with Software Utilities

 

There are several free utilities available for testing discs that can tell you if there is a problem - as long as the DVD or CD drive is working properly. A popular and highly rated utility is Nero CD-DVD Speed. It is still available at freeware download sites. The latest utility from the creators of Nero CD-DVD is called Opti-Drive Control and can be downloaded for free at www.cdspeed2000.com. The disc utility will verify functions like write sectors and speed and display the results as shown below. Whether you have a good or bad disc doesn't have to be a mystery. Using a disc testing utility you know the status of the disc - good or bad - removing the doubt and the guesswork. If you have a defective disc there are a few things you can try to get it operational, but most defects are not repairable.

 

    
The Opti Drive Control Display