Monday, March 02, 2009


I think that title is probably the geekiest title I've used. I represents one of the trickiest and most persistent problems I've encountered.

First some background. My DVD burner is an old Sony DW-Q28A. It's a dual-layer +/- burner but old is the operative word. It is pretty picky about the media you use. It likes +Rs more than -Rs.

What I keep running into is write errors. Pitching the coaster disk and just trying the next one from the same cake box usually fixes it.

However, every now and then, it gets where it won't burn at all. I got so frustrated that I went looking for new firmware. I found some but never felt good about the process to reflash it. So I finally just bought a new burner.

But before I got around to installing it, I ran across some information about DMA vs PIO mode. Here's what said:

... if Windows encounters six or more CRC or timeout errors, it will ... slow the Secondary IDE settings to PIO mode.
Trust me, that makes your DVD burner pretty worthless.

So how to correct this? Best to just read the entire post from


I had this problem again today. I used the procedure described above and it DIDN'T correct it.

So I invented my own solution.

From the desktop, right click on My Computer and select Properties. Click on the Hardware tab and click on the Device Manager button. Find the line that says "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers" and expand by clicking on the "+." On my system, the "Secondary IDE Channel" has the DVD drives. Double click on the appropriate channel and click on Advanced Settings. Look for the PIO value under "Current Transfer Mode" to make sure you have the right IDE channel.

When you're sure you have the right IDE channel, back up to the main Device Manager panel and (here comes the fun part) right click on the IDE channel and select "Uninstall." Click Ok. Now go up to the top and click on Actions and select "Scan for hardware changes." This will find the IDE channel and all the devices on it and reinstall them fresh. You shouldn't even have to reboot.

This fixed it for me today.

My experience shows that this fixes the problem, but YMMV. If this doesn't work for you, here's a lot more information. Be warned, it's not for the faint of heart.

By the way, DVDFab HD Decrypter checks this before it runs and offers to fix it. Oh, it's FREE!

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