How to check if your burn is a good one
Note: This test works just as well on original DVDs as on burned ones - it is great to see if your original DVD is damaged!
There are essentially 2 very good freeware tools out there:
1. DVDInfoPro (available at here) and
2. Nero CD-DVD Speed (get it here). If you already have Nero installed, it will be in the Nero Toolkit, accessible either from the Start Menu or Nero Start Smart.
I use Nero but many others prefer DVDInfoPro (although the free version is supported by advertising popups). They essentially work the same and this FAQ will (for the time being) focus on Nero.
First, load up the program and insert your DVD that is being tested.
Pressing the little disk icon to the left of the Start button will give you the Media Identification Code and available speeds (often folks on this forum will want to know this info in order to assist you). Here, you can see I use Ritek +R with the media code of R03.
Now, close out of that screen and go to Extra - -> ScanDisc
Tick both File Test and Surface Scan and then click Start. The process will take about 15 minutes (depending on the speed of your drive).
Now, if your disk is OK, there will be 2 things:
1. The boxes will all be green and the readout will say 100% good; and
2. The results of the file test (in the output dialogue) will say Errors: 0 (you will need to scroll up to see this)
Anything else, and you probably have a bad burn (especially if there are lots of yellow and red boxes). You can try it on your standalone DVD player to see, but don't be surprised if there's pixelation/freezing etc. where you've got the yellow/red boxes (the end of the scan - where these reds typically appear on poor media - represents the outer edge of the disk - usually the end of the movie and the "extras").
Another test which is very useful, is the transfer rate test, which measures the data transfer rate and shows a graphical output.
Close out of the scandisc test and you will be back at the main screen. Now press F2.
The test will take about 10 minutes on a full DVD-5.
The green line shows the transfer rate, while the yellow line shows the drive's rotation speed in RPM (x1000). My drive shows a typical graph for a "constant angular velocity" drive - increasing from the start till a peak at the end of a DVD-5. A nice smooth line is what is wanted. Any major dips can mean a poor read.
Note: Even if your burn "passes" these tests, it does not mean it will play on your DVD player. For player/media compatibility, please see here.
There are plenty of other things you can do with this tool. Play around with it and check out the help file to see.
Last update: 08:40 PM Friday, July 28, 2006