Saturday, June 29, 2013

Question about unfinalized DVDs

My DVD player has just declared, I'm pretty sure, that it doesn't want to be a DVD player anymore.  The only way to get the DVD holding part in a non ejected state is to cut the power and then force it shut.  As soon as it turns on it will again eject and act confused about why it's having trouble reading anything.

This probably means that I'll need a new one which I can't afford so all the DVDs in my house just turned into Frisbees well, not quite, I do have a handful of computers that don't work.  Like this one currently sitting in god knows how many pieces while I sit in a very strange and uncomfortable position in order to use a leg rest as a table to type on it while I look into the miscolored screen.  So some of them should in theory work on the broken computers.  Sort of.  After a fashion.

None of that is my primary concern.  I've never been a stickler for high quality so I can fit 3 movies on a DVD if they're two hours.  For what it's worth, I'm historically normal for valuing length over quality.  If people had preferred quality Betamax would have beaten VHS.

So you can't just tape and record and then finalize because there's two more movies left to go on the DVD, and when there's one movie left it isn't always the case you can get that next recording because the time it takes to switch from one DVD to another can be too long for the space between movies so you might have no choice but to record two in a row, and if you're in a hurry then it gets even more problematic because you might not have time to grab the DVD with empty time on it when a completely blank one is more easy to locate and closer at hand.

All of which is to say, recording onto DVDs tends to leave me with a pile of unfinalized DVDs that are waiting to be finalized in a finalizing session.

Finalizing is important because DVD player/recorder making companies are evil.  They could have gotten together and made a standard in process format so that anything could read a DVD recorded by one of their machines whether it is finalized or not.  Instead they collectively decided that no player should be able to read a DVD it has not personally recorded unless said disk is finalized.

Which means that even if I get a new DVD player, or if I get my laptops to start working reliably, a lot of my DVDs are still going to be Frisbees unless I:
1 Find a way to finalize DVDs in general.  I seem to recall that some not-free I-can't-afford-it burning software had done that so it is, in theory at least, possible.
2 Buy the exact same type of DVD player/recorder that I have right now and finalize every unfinalized disk using that.  This is again in the realm of: I can't afford it.

Anyone know of a way to finalize DVDs so you can access their content when you don't have access to a working version of the machine that recorded them?

Pretty sure that I asked this before.


  1. As an update, my DVD player/recorder has started working again, so I can finalize the DVDs in question hopefully before it craps out again (though right now it's tied up recording a four hour marathon) but I've got a stack of unfinalized DVDs from when a previous DVD player died that were movies and are now Frisbees until such time as I can figure out how to finalize the damn things so I'm still interested in any answers.

  2. Oh good! Or half-good, anyway.

    I did not even know that one could have unfinalized DVDs. But I've never owned a DVD recorder (other than a CD/DVD drive on a computer...which I've never done much with.).

    But surely someone's come up with a brilliant solution, as this is obviously a thing that happens not infrequently.

  3. Get wodim (e.g. download/burn a Linux liveCD with wodim on it (e.g. Ubuntu livecd), and get to a command prompt), and run wodim -fix /dev/sr0 (or whatever your DVD drive identifies itself as, but that's most likely unless you have more than one).

    People still pay for burning software?

    1. Ok, Google is useless. I can find all kinds of documentation, but when it comes to downloading anything it seems much more difficult.

      Can you provide a link to get this thing? (Also, I work of of Windows 7, will it still work on this OS.)

    2. Hello - I was just going through your blog archive after some time away. Thanks, Firedrake, for letting me know about this project. I assume you're talking about this website? If so, Chris, I think I might be able to compile it to work under Windows. Unfortunately, the only way to get it without using SVN and a compiler involves using Ubuntu. I know three ways to get Ubuntu, two of which I can personally confirm work with a computer currently running Windows 7 (and it still runs that after!)

      First, you can download Ubuntu, burn it onto a CD or DVD (called a "live CD"), and then boot your computer from that disk. Unfortunately, that leaves your CD drive occupied while it's booted. (Of course, if you have another drive, that'd still work.) I've done this myself.

      Second, after booting from the live CD as above, you can install Ubuntu onto your hard drive from the CD. I've never done this myself, but the documentation says it should install as a dual-boot with your current Windows 7. So, whenever you boot your computer, you'd have a choice of whether to start Ubuntu or Windows 7.

      Third, you can download the Wubi installer, which will look just like the dual boot configuration, but it won't actually partition your hard drive, and it'll install just by running wubi.exe inside Windows 7 without requiring a CD. I've done this myself, and it works perfectly.

      If you have two CD drives, I'd recommend the first option because it's simplest. Otherwise, I'd recommend the third.

  4. People still pay for burning software?

    Apparently, because burning software that you have to pay for still exists. It couldn't very well do that if no one were paying.

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