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  1. Trying to find the best/easiest way to copy a DVD that is starting to fail (on play back, there are some skipping frames and pauses). There may be some damage to the disk which is causing the playback issues?

    This DVD is copy protected, so copying it will be a little difficult.

    Wanting to recover as much data from the DVD as possible (basically just copying it).

    Maybe use AnyDVD running in the background to bypass the DVD protection, and then copy the DVD using a program that will copy all or as much of the DVD data as possible. What would be the most reliable program for copying/recovering DVD data?

    Or maybe use DVDFab which bypasses DVD copy protection, but does DVDFab copy failing data well?

    Are there any other (better or more reliable) copying software? Prefer software that does direct copying without having to "re-author" the entire DVD.
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    First visually inspect the disc. If there are lots of smudges, wash it off, wipe carefully and let dry for a while.
    For scratches, try to find a CD store that might have a polishing system. Manual polishing is possible, just a lot of work.

    If the DVD has no visible surface damage, then the internal disc recording surface could be damaged.
    Look for unevenness or blotches in the aluminum data layer.

    But I agree on trying AnyDVD or Fab to decrypt on the fly.

    Then if you get enough of the video in a backup file of the DVD, try ISOBuster or similar to try to recover the video.
    Others may have some newer recovery software.

    If the disc is badly damaged physically, either through scratches or internal damage, no full recovery is likely.
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  3. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    it's been a long time but iirc the old dvd-decrypter program could be set to re-try reading on errors. also it sometimes helps to try more than one drive to read the disc.
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  4. I've had good luck salvaging funky dvds using the CloneDVD + AnyDVD combination. Has worked for me on many brand-new tv series sets that had minor defects (scratches & marks) straight from the factory. I set CloneDVD to delete useless crap like trailers for unrelated shows and the overheated piracy warnings in ten languages: this causes CloneDVD to slightly restructure the dupe disc, which seems to repair more defects than making a direct 1:1 dupe. Other cloning apps may have similar editing tricks worth trying.

    One of the reasons I was sorry to see SlySoft implode: the damn studios can't even be bothered with the most rudimentary quality control of DVD SETS WE BUY LEGITIMATELY, all but requiring us to use backup software just to get a playable version of material WE PAID THEM FOR. Idiots.
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  5. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    it's been a long time but iirc the old dvd-decrypter program could be set to re-try reading on errors. also it sometimes helps to try more than one drive to read the disc.
    Yeah DVD Decrypter is great, and is very customizable when dealing with hard to read disks. And trying more than on DVD drive really helps. As I remember my desktop DVD drive being unable to completely read a disc after many hours of trying but my old Dell Laptop managed to read it completely after awhile.
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  6. A note about DVD Decryptor: it has settings for both hardware and software retries on read errors. As I recall the defaults are fairly high (something like 20) meaning it spends a long time on each bad block. If you have lots of bad blocks it will take forever to complete. Turn the hardware and software retries down to a reasonable level, say 2 or 3 each. If the drive doesn't get a clean read after that it's very unlikely to get one with further retries.

    Forcing a lower drive speed may help getting clean(er) reads.
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  7. Many thanks for the comments! A lot of good information here!

    A visual inspection of the failing DVD didn't find any scratches, fingerprints etc. The DVD appeared to be fine with no obvious signs of damage.

    Scanned the failing DVD using Nero DiscSpeed, and also used VSO Inspector. Both scanners reported some issues/errors when scanning the 2nd layer of the dual layer DVD. So there are some problems with the DVD unfortunately.

    So I will look at using Clone DVD and DVD Decrypter to see how they cope with this disc.

    I don't have any other optical drives to use to read the DVD apart from the LiteOn iHAS324 in my computer.

    I was also looking at maybe using Blindwrite in combination with AnyDVD.

    Any thoughts on using Blindwrite, or any other programs?
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    It's still possible that you have surface defects which aren't readily visible. One trick I have used is to polish the disc with spray furniture wax.
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  9. People have sent failing DVDs to me on several occasions, so I have some experience with this.

    The most important "trick" is to try different DVD drives. I have over a dozen computers, each of which has a DVD drive. What I have found is that when it comes to DVD drives, they are not created equal. In fact, there is a huge difference in what discs they will play.

    So, after you have carefully cleaned the DVD, and after you have very carefully polished it to remove scratches, try copying it with DVD Decrypter, DVD Fab, or whatever tool you normally use to "backup" your DVDs. If this doesn't work on one computer, try the drive in another computer. Keep trying until you find one that will read the disc.

    In many cases one DVD drive will read some of the VOBs but not others. If you're lucky, another drive may be able to read the files that the first drive couldn't read.

    Older drives are almost always better. I still have one of the original Plextor drives (the Cadillac of drives, back when Plextor actually manufactured them), and it can read just about anything. I even have a few DVD players that are not burners. They often do a better job with funky discs.

    One caution: before you set your software to do dozens of retries (which is a good idea), you should create a "system restore" point (if you're using Windows). Why? Well, most versions of Windows assume that the reason the disc won't read is that your hardware is failing. Windows will attempt to "fix" this non-problem by switching off DMA and instead using PIO. I'm not sure if this is still done with SATA drives, but it sure as heck is what happens with DVD drives connected via IDE. Once switched to PIO, it is a pain to get it back to DMA. If you don't get it switched back to DMA, your DVD burner will be more or less useless after that. The System Restore point will let you undo this stupid Windows "fix."
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  10. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Sata drives don't seem the do the 'Revert to PIO mode'.

    Left over from the PATA drive days:

    To check DMA/PIO mode within Windows:

    Control Panel>System>Hardware>Device Manager>IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.

    From there, right click on one of the channels and choose 'Properties>Advanced Settings'. All drives should be DMA mode. The 'Current Transfer Mode' for Hard drives is usually DMA 4-6 and DVD burners DMA 2-4, DVD ROMs usually DMA 2. If you see any in PIO mode, that can slow things down.

    Changing them back may be easy or complicated. First see if you can change them in that window. If not, I usually uninstall the channel the drive is on and let the OS reinstall it. This will usually take a reboot. This will not damage any files on the computer.
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  11. Cleaning the DVD has not been attempted (yet) as there is no obvious sign of any damage, marks etc. Also, there is the concern that the disc may be damaged (further) if cleaning procedure is not done right.

    Tried DVD Decrypter, but it reported errors and had trouble reading the DVD, so it was aborted.

    Next tried BlindWrite together with AnyDVD. Altogether it took BlindWrite around 6 hours(!) to read and copy the failing DVD. It was extremely slow at reading the corrupt/damaged area of the DVD. Unfortunately the resulting copy of the DVD video still shows some freezing, stuttering, and some picture distortion, although the DVD as a whole is playable.

    Finally tried DVDFab. Took around 2 hours to make a copy, with slow progress through the failing region of the DVD. Again, the resulting DVD copy shows the stuttering, freezing etc, but ultimately the copied DVD freezes and stops playing altogether! A slightly worse result.

    By the results so far, the Lite-On iHAS324 DVD writer I have at present doesn't seem to read the failing DVD very well.

    So different DVD drives may be better at reading and/or creating DVD's than others(?) Actually I vaguely recall reading online some time ago that there was a list of recommended CD/DVD writers/players that were supposed to be good at reading and writing for backup/copying purposes. But I haven't as yet been able to find that site/article.

    Is there at hand a list of recommended DVD writers/players that are particularly suited to reading damaged/corrupted DVD's?

    I might be able to pick up another DVD writer/player for my computer IF there is strong recommendation for a particular make and model.
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  12. ISO Puzzle is able to piece together the good blocks from multiple read attempts, even on different drives and different computers.
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  13. We've all be assuming that your disc is actually failing. Does it in fact not play in a standard set-top DVD player (i.e., a dedicated DVD player attached to your TV set)? Or, is your problem that you are getting errors when you attempt to decrypt it? You haven't yet said what disc this is, but there are some copy protection schemes that are not as easily decrypted and which will give you errors, usually about 20-40 seconds into the attempt to copy them.
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  14. Sorry, I forgot to mention that the DVD is from the Magnum PI series and it doesn't play part of the third episode properly on the stand alone DVD player. That is when I first noticed a problem with the disc. The problem occurs for only 30 seconds or so with stuttering, freezes and slight picture distortion. Then the disc continues to play fine (in the stand alone DVD player). So roughly 97% or so of the disc is fully playable without any issues.

    AnyDVD and DVDFab seem to work OK in decrypting the DVD. The disc copies fine until the copying procedure reaches around 56 ~ 57 %, and then the errors start to occur for awhile, and then copying continues fine again.
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  15. Originally Posted by brispuss View Post
    the DVD is from the Magnum PI series
    Borrow the disc from your local library. Make a copy from that.
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  16. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    And next time you get a new dvd/blu-ray movie/tv disc back it up right away,much easier to make another backup to use when the original disc is stored away.
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    I would give ISO Buster a try.
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  18. Yes. I was considering backing up (more important) videos, but primarily due to limited finance and also difficulty in obtaining high quality (expensive) media, I haven't done any backups. But I hope to do something about that over the next few months or so.

    Unlikely the local libraries here will have Magnum PI DVD's as the libraries are small and have very limited books and DVD's for loan.

    Currently trying ISOPuzzle together with AnyDVD. So far the failing DVD has been copied to 99.9%, but my Lite-On DVD writer is struggling to read the remaining failing data from the DVD. Time spent copying has been more than 21 hours so far!

    ISO Buster is/was also a consideration. However, it is understood that ISO Buster might fill unreadable data with zeros or some other data, which is not really a good thing (I believe) as the DVD copy will be missing the original data and the copy will therefore not play back properly.

    As mentioned previously, is there a recommended DVD writer/player which is best or better at reading failing/faulty DVD's than the Lite-On iHAS324 I have at present?
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  19. The really superb optical drives for reading dodgy DVDs are about as old as Magnum himself at this point: there haven't been any ultra-premium drives made for more than a few years now. Here and there you'll find people recommending a particular Samsung or LG or Pioneer, but the ones available now aren't nearly as consistent in reading performance as the earlier Plextors etc. Current drives are dirt cheap, so it couldn't hurt to try at least one of a different brand for the heck of it, but don't expect miracles.

    From your description, this sounds like a manufacturing defect in the dvd which could very well exist on every such set sold. These annoying defects are more common than you'd hope: dvd sets of older TV series are often riddled with them. They're usually stamper errors, physical defects in the pressing that aren't simple brief disc errors that can be drive-corrected. Sometimes the only way to totally lose such defects is to download a non-dvd version of the problem episode from iTunes or wherever, and make a note to play that source for that episode. Or, rip the glitchy dvd episodes to a different format like .mkv on your PC, use a video editor to snip out the problem sections, and re-author the dvd with a utility like AVStoDVD.
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  20. Thanks for the comments.

    If necessary a copy of the episode might have to be found somewhere and some "editing" done to make the original episode glitch free. But this is more of a 'backup' plan in case the copying procedure using other copying software fails.

    Update.

    Using another computer, which also has a Lite-On iHAS324 DVD writer, the copy process was continued using AnyDVD and ISOPuzzle, but unfortunately I forgot to run AnyDVD initially, so the copied data may not have been "clean". So this copy procedure was aborted and another attempt is currently being run. This time "Cycle Tray" option has been enabled in ISOPuzzle. So far the copy procedure has run for more than 33 hours and is not quite finished. There are 37 sectors of data still missing according to ISOPuzzle.

    The ISO file produced so far by ISOPUzzle has been played and the area of stuttering and picture distortion is almost entirely gone! The result is better than the AnyDVD and Blindwrite produced copy. With a bit of luck ISOPuzzle might be able to finish the copy successfully. But if it doesn't, the copied video is much better than the original on the DVD, and the copied video could be used to make backup copies if necessary. Meantime the Lite-On writer is struggling a bit to finish copying the DVD.
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  21. ISOPuzzle finally finished copying the DVD after more than 36 hours(!). And the resulting ISO plays back perfectly! Now I have to get some dual layer DVD's to burn the ISO to, and to start backing up other discs as well before its too late.
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  22. Originally Posted by brispuss View Post
    ISOPuzzle finally finished copying the DVD after more than 36 hours(!). And the resulting ISO plays back perfectly! Now I have to get some dual layer DVD's to burn the ISO to, and to start backing up other discs as well before its too late.
    That's a great result. I'm glad it worked for you.

    If you use a DL DVD, make sure to use Verbatim. Most of the dual layer blanks produce horrible quality burns.

    Another alternative is to apply DVD Shrink and then burn onto a single-layer DVD. If your goal is longevity, I think that will produce a much more resilient DVD. If you use all the quality options in DVD Shrink, it will actually produce a result that looks as good as the original.
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  23. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. Good to know you got a decent copy.
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  24. I am, or was, looking at getting Verbatim dual layer 8.5 GB DataLife(Plus) media to copy the original DVD's to, but it seems the 8.5 GB DataLife(Plus) discs are difficult to get here at the moment. However, single layer 4.7 GB DataLife(Plus) discs are available here.

    So I was wondering whether it is worth pursuing getting the 8.5 GB dual layer discs further (and maybe importing them if necessary), or try reducing or shrinking the original dual layer discs onto single layer discs? But I might try an experimental copy (with DVD Shrink and/or other programs that also reduce videos) to one single layer disc and see how that goes.

    As mentioned above, the single layer disc is likely to be more resilient (less data to become corrupt or lost) compared to dual layer discs.
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  25. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Don't use dvdshrink to reduce the file size,use a program such as dvdbuilder to re-encode it,i threw out my dvdshrink copies and re-encoded to mkv,you will notice a huge difference on a hdtv between shrinking and re-encoding with discs that are 6gb and higher.
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  26. Originally Posted by johns0 View Post
    Don't use dvdshrink to reduce the file size,use a program such as dvdbuilder to re-encode it,i threw out my dvdshrink copies and re-encoded to mkv,you will notice a huge difference on a hdtv between shrinking and re-encoding with discs that are 6gb and higher.
    Really? I'm not familiar with that program, but I've watched thousands of hours of DVD Shrink DVDs on a big screen. I watch them this way because I put Netflix DVDs onto re-writeable discs and then watch them at my leisure. I have never once seen any artifacts.

    Therefore I'd be interested in knowing what sort of artifacts you were seeing with DVD Shrink?? I'm not defending the program, but merely noting that I have never seen any problems. I do a lot of restoration, so I generally know what to look for.

    I'd be more than happy to change to a better program, but only if I know what defects to look for.
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  27. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    I put Netflix DVDs onto re-writeable discs and then watch them at my leisure.
    ....and that is illegal.
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  28. Member bendixG15's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    Originally Posted by johns0 View Post
    Don't use dvdshrink to reduce the file size,use a program such as dvdbuilder to re-encode it,i threw out my dvdshrink copies and re-encoded to mkv,you will notice a huge difference on a hdtv between shrinking and re-encoding with discs that are 6gb and higher.
    Really? I'm not familiar with that program, but I've watched thousands of hours of DVD Shrink DVDs on a big screen. I watch them this way because I put Netflix DVDs onto re-writeable discs and then watch them at my leisure. I have never once seen any artifacts.

    Therefore I'd be interested in knowing what sort of artifacts you were seeing with DVD Shrink?? I'm not defending the program, but merely noting that I have never seen any problems. I do a lot of restoration, so I generally know what to look for.

    I'd be more than happy to change to a better program, but only if I know what defects to look for.
    Used to be said around here that DVD Shrink was okay to use for small file reductions, like in the magnitude of 10% or so. Much larger file reductions threw out too much resulting in reduced quality.
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  29. Originally Posted by bendixG15 View Post
    Used to be said around here that DVD Shrink was okay to use for small file reductions, like in the magnitude of 10% or so. Much larger file reductions threw out too much resulting in reduced quality.
    I usually re-author the DVD, not only to get rid of all the annoying menus and other flotsam, but also to limit the amount of shrinking. However, I have done quite a few DVDs where I reduced them to 60% of the original size, and still did not see any issues.

    I always use both quality options, so perhaps that is the problem for some people. If you skip either of those, you will definitely be able to see the GOP artifacts, with slight hiccups every 15 frames (or whatever the GOP length may be).

    Back when Shrink was still being developed, the author posted details of how it worked. I saved that explanation and have referred back to it many times since. It was really clever stuff.

    So, if you can explain exactly what artifacts I'm supposed to be seeing, I'll take another look at one of my DVDs. I have about ten R/W DVDs waiting to be viewed and then re-used, so it won't take any time at all to check.
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