CD Burning is inconsistent resulting in many dud CDs

Asked by Mario T. Lanza

I sometimes use Brasero to burn CDs from ISOs. The experience has a lot to be desired. The biggest problem is that the CDs it produces don't always work. As a result I experiment with options (like burn rate) and try several times. Eventually, I usually do get a working CD. The trouble is that CD comes at the cost of 2 or 3 other wasted discs.

Last night, I burned the Ubuntu 11.10 desktop ISO after downloading it. I was using it to format a Dell Windows laptop and start fresh with Ubuntu. When I attempted to boot from that disc it makes it so far before it hangs indefinitely. I can only assume: bad disc. I tried burning it again and that disc hung at an earlier point. I burned again and this time I was able to fully boot from the CD, but after trying to do the install, it failed about 75% in. This kind of thing is disheartening. I tried one last time with similar problems. I wouldn't have tried and retried except that I remember how inconsistent CD burning has always been. In the past, if I just kept at it, I eventually got a working disc.

After these many failures I decided to try an alternative. I created a startup disc using the utility that copies ISOs to USB jump drives. This ultimately succeeded and now I've decided this will be my new approach.

I know the ISO that I downloaded is good. I verified the md5 checksum. Plus, it eventually worked when written to and installed from the USB drive.

At one point, I thought the issue dealt with Brasero's checksum operation, the one occurring after the write to disc. It takes forever and seems to just hang. Sometimes I abandon that because after 15 or so minutes you can't tell it's doing anything. If it's such a slow operation, it should at least offer continual feedback to the user that it's making some progress. Something more useful than a status bar that only periodically advances. I turned off the checksum plugins during my last attempt, but that disc didn't work either.

One thing I like about Gnome software is that it generally favors simplicity. The interfaces are usually easy. But working software is more desirable than simple software. It's terrible how many discs I've wasted over the years. This is a long-time issue with ISO burning. If the plugins interfere with a good user experience, they should not be active by default. Advanced users can activate them if they want.

Plus, what kind of decision is write speed? Why does a typical user even have to make that choice? Of course, I want the fastest option that works. Why would I choose slow if fast is equally reliable? This decision could be dropped altogether if it just wrote working discs. Users shouldn't have to guess at configuration settings like this, especially ones that shouldn't matter.

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

No you don't always want fastest at all. Bootable media and media to be played in older devices as well as ordinary audio CDs benefit from being burnt slowly as it aids with compatibility.

Have you trued xfburn or gnome-baker? See if they are better for you...

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Mario T. Lanza (mlanza) said :

Thanks. I will try Gnome Baker next time (I think I've used it before).

I didn't know that a slower burn aided with compatibility. Good to know. Is it safe to say that a slow burn will always be more reliable?

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

It makes a darker image on the surface which some older systems need. It also reduces the effects of jitter as less data will be written during the same amount of time. Some BIOSes don't like booting fast burned media.

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