Labelling (US: labeling) recorded CD/DVDs: Manual methods and using LightScribe
Stick-on, print-it-yourself labels often ruin the CDs or DVDs that they’re stuck on, so don’t use stick-on labels – ever – and don’t put a lot of ink on any CD or DVD either. If you want to label a back-up, for example, use a fine-point or medium-point felt-tip pen to write the date, the name of the computer (if you have more than one), and a brief description on the CD. If you need to record more information about what’s on a CD, if the disc’s container doesn’t have an enclosed leaflet that provides space for a description, write it on a piece of paper or a CD storage envelope, which only cost about a penny or two each when purchased in bulk. That simple method of labelling very seldom causes any problems with the CD/DVDs.
If you really want to print on to your CDs and DVDs by using a printer that can handling such a task, which are themselves very affordable now, buy the more expensive brands of blank discs, which often have a protective plastic top coat to help preserve the data-carrying layers. However, cheap CD/DVDs usually have naked foil as the top surface, which is all right for the simple manual labelling method described above, but you should never trust them to any kind of label printer.
CD/DVD writers are now available that can print a label on the label side of a recordable CD/DVD by using LightScribe technology.
CD/DVD writers that support LightScribe technology can etch text and images on to the label side of specially coated LightScribe discs. “The special coating on LightScribe CDs and DVDs is what differentiates it from other media. Look for the LightScribe logo on CDs and DVDs.” The latest LightScribe discs have a LightScribe 1.2 logo on their packaging. A CD/DVD writer that supports LightScribe is required, however you don’t have to buy a new drive that supports LightScribe 1.2, you just need some LightScribe 1.2 discs, some LightScribe labelling software, which is included in packages such as Nero and Roxio Easy Media Creator, and the latest version of the LightScribe host software from lightscribe.com.
Writing a label to a disc can take between 20 and 30 minutes using the older discs, but the job can be done in between 4 to 5 minutes using LightScribe 1.2 discs.
If your DVD writer is not functioning properly, check its manufacturer’s site for a firmware update for that specific model (it must not be for any other model of drive).
The free LightScribe Diagnostics Utility from lightscribe.com can be used to make sure that the latest LightScribe System Software is properly installed.
If the drive can’t etch text or images on to the label side of discs, try using a different brand of LightScribe disc. Also check for updates for your LightScribe labelling program. Ahead Nero and Roxio Easy Media Creator both support that function. Free labelling utilities can be downloaded from the page linked to above.
LightScribe – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LightScribe
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