Recovering An Unreadable DVD

Issue: Customer presents a DVD or mini DVD that cannot be read.  The DVD has bad sectors or the DVD has not been finalized, either way the DVD cannot be read by a burner or player.

Solution Options:

  1. If the DVD has not been finalized, ask the customer for the camcorder that the DVD was recorded with and finalize the DVD with the camcorder.  Generally this takes about 10 - 20 minutes.
  2. If the mini DVD has an error code (such as Hitachi with error code 0280)...then the DVD may have bad sectors and therefore cannot be read or finalized.  See "Disc Recovery" below.
  3. If the customer still has the original recording device, see if they can bring it with them just in case the recording device can read the disc.
  4. Check if the DVD is dirty...a simple cleaning may be all that is needed.  See "Clean DVD or CD Disc" below.

Clean DVD or CD Disc

Just remember that disc media is very delicate and you need to be careful not to damage a customer's DVD's shiney surface.

  • If the DVD surface feels sticky or greasy, mix some baby shampoo in lukewarm water and use a cotton or soft cloth to gently rub the surface.  Make sure it is dry before storing or handling.
  • If there are fingerprint marks on the CD surface, dip a soft cloth in Isopropyl Alcohol/Ethanol/Methanol and gently wipe the surface. Never use a petroleum based solvent like Acetone as that will permanently damage the CD surface.
  • Always wipe the disc surface in a non-radial back-and-forth motion (from the center hole to the outer edge). Don't follow the concentric circles while cleaning.

Disc Recovery

If after cleaning the disc it still cannot be read then the problem may be bad sectors on the disc caused either by the media or the recording device.  No guarantees, but we can try to read the disc onto our harddrive (HDD), then try to recover the files, and finally burn the recovered files back onto a DVD or HDD or whatever.

  1. Place DVD in burner.
  2. Open "isoBuster"
  3. The window "No files systems and/or files found" will display.  Click the "Make It So" button.
  4. The "Work from an IBP image file" window will show.  Click "Yes".
  5. The "for your info" window will show asking to create ibp and ibq files. Click "Ok".
  6. Create a folder and place ibq and ibp files in the folder.
  7. Right click on the resulting vob files and extract them.
  8. Open up "Nero Vision"
  9. Select "Make DVD...", then "DVD-Video"
  10. Select "import", then "import files".  Find the folder where you dumped the vob files via isoBuster.
  11. Select all the vob files.
  12. A box will put up asking if you want top merge all the vob's into one.  Select "Yes" if they are all one movie.
  13. All the vob clips will now be displayed as thumbnails.  On this screen, select the "Next" button.
  14. The next screen, the "Edit Menu" will allow you to change the default title and thumbnail titles.
  15. After changingthe titles, click "Next".
  16. In the "Preview" window, click "Next".
  17. In the "Burn Options" window....put disk in burner and click "Burn" button (make sure the right burner is selected otherwise you'll have to find it).