CD / DVD / Blu-ray Drives / Writers

Cleaning discs and drives – reading, writing and re-writing speeds – DVD regions and codes

Cleaning CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs and drives

Cleaning a CD or DVD disc with a cloth by using a circular motion can create a curved scratch that might fool the laser that reads the disc. The laser can follow a circular scratch instead of the data track. Skips or misreads can result.

The correct method is to wipe across the CD or DVD from its centre out to the circumference so that any accidental scratches are less likely to cause read errors. Of course any kind of scratching of the disc should be avoided.

Only soft cleaning cloth should be used, and take care run to rub the surface too hard. Note that DVD RAM discs use sectors like a hard drive, not a circular spiral, to record data, so can be cleaned using a circular motion.

How CDs Work:

How to Clean DVD Drives –

How to Clean Your DVD Drive

Reading, writing, and rewriting speeds

CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives can only read CDs and DVDs respectively, so they only have a reading speed. A reading speed given as 52x in the specifications means that it is capable of reading 52 times faster than the original CD-ROM drives, which could read at 1x. It’s not really important to know how fast the reading speed is, it’s just important to know that the higher the number in front of the x is, the faster that particular activity is.

CD and DVD writers have read and write specifications such as this: 52x24x52. The MSI CR52-A2 52x24x52x CD-RW drive has this specification. The first 52x is the speed at which the drive writes to recordable CD/DVDs, the 24x in this case is the rewrite speed, which is how fast the drive can write to rewritable (RW) discs, and the last 52x is how fast the drive can read CD discs.

The MSI 52x24x52 CD-RW offers a 52x write, a 24x rewrite (but 24x RW discs are almost impossible to find), and a 52x read, which is comparable to the other 52x CD-RW’s currently being marketed.

Understanding CD-R and CD-RW Recording Speed –

Understanding DVD Recording Speed –

CD and DVD writing speed –

DVD regions – Regional codes

When you start using a DVD player, including the DVD drive in a computer, you are asked to enter the regional origin of the DVDs that you want to play. The idea of this is to prevent purchasers from buying and playing DVDs that come from another region. The regions are US, Europe, Japan, etc., The strategy is aimed at overcoming copyright issues, and at preventing purchasers from buying DVDs from countries in which they are cheaper. For instance, CDs and DVDs are much more expensive in the UK than they are in the US.

You are only allowed a certain number of attempts at entering the region. If the player’s programming determines that you’re changing the region, it will suddenly lock on one region. So, if you have entered US as the region to play an American DVD in the UK, and the player locks on to it, you won’t be able to play DVDs made in the UK.

Once the player is locked on the wrong region, there is no way to get it to change the region other than by getting the manufacturer of the player to replace one of its parts. Otherwise you’ll have to buy another DVD drive/player – or just have to keep buying your DVDs from the region that the player is locked into. However, there are hardware and software solutions that get around DVD regions. Read all about them on these pages:

How to unlock the region for a DVD or Blu-ray drive/writer

Is there software that can unlock the region on a DVD drive or a region-free DVD drive? is a Q&A on this website that addresses that problem.

DVD region code –

What Blu-ray and DVD Region Codes Are –

Software DVD Players –

“Most freeware and open source DVD players, such as VLC, ignore region coding.” –

DVD Region Codes – What You Need To Know –

DVD regions – options in the UK – “My Niece is crazy over some Horse show that is only available on Region1 DVDs and with her birthday coming up I’d love to be able to give her some! I can’t ‘unblock’ our DVD players because we will void the warranties and was trying to find if there was any other way to let her watch them. Is there any chance of a laptop DVD being able to play region 1 (it’s a Sony Vaio if that makes any difference) or if there is any way of copying a Region1 DVD to the laptop and then somehow converting it to Region 2 and copying it to a DVD so she can watch them?” –,92328.0.html

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