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  1. Member
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    Hey guys, friend of mine brought over 5 mini Maxell DVD's which had video recordings shot from a camcorder of his kids when they were little. Only one dvd now shows, the 4 others shows up empty on my pc's drives. I tried loading on 2 of my pc's also off a llinux disk. I then tried this mini-tool software here but no files are showing:

    https://www.powerdatarecovery.com/download.html

    Anything else I can try please or does this mean the videos have somehow been deleted?
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    Isobuster is a forensic tool that might work.
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    Do those DVDs have adhesive paper labels? They are known to distort the disc enough to render it unreadable. I've soaked them off with mineral spirits and then the DVD plays perfectly.
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    Isobuster is not showing any files. The dvd's have the branded default labels.
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  5. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Maybe the discs were not 'finalized' by the camera? He probably doesn't have the camcorder any more.
    You might examine the data side of the discs to see if they show anything.
    Compare them with the working one. Sometimes you can see if they have data on them by the darker showing areas.
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  6. Member
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    Believe it or not, all 5 discs are showing differently on the data side, like they are all different variations of Maxell discs
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  7. This might be a long shot, but:

    Have you confirmed all five discs are exactly the same type? Mini camcorder discs came in several versions. Discs marked as DVD-R or +R or RW will usually be recognized by any PC drive. Discs marked DVD-RAM are less compatible, as many drives still in use did not include the RAM feature. If the disc that does play is not DVD-RAM, but the other four are DVD-RAM, that's your answer: buy or borrow a drive that can read DVD-RAM.

    If none of the discs are DVD-RAM, check for other variations in the markings: any that don't match the one that plays OK can tip you off to the problem. In most cases, redwudz' suggestion of "unfinalized discs" turns out to be the culprit. If the discs won't play in a standalone DVD or BluRay player, odds are good they weren't finalized by the camera. That can be extremely difficult to work around: the only solution I've found for unfinalized discs is to play them in Cyberlink PowerDVD, and analog dub them out of the PC into another capture device. VLC Media Player and/or Nero software suite are other possibilities.

    ISObuster is a very popular suggestion, but its never accomplished jack for me. It works miracles for one out of ten who try it in desperation, but the other nine just stare at its arcane interface in frustration (or it simply blackmail$ you with tantalizing hints that it *might* work, but no guarantees).
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    I have seen ISOBuster find deleted files, as long as nothing was recorded afterwards. I have also used ISO-buster to recover data from unfinalized DVDs.

    However, if these are re-writable DVDs, the phase-change material used for re-witable DVD media is less permanent that the dyes used in better write-once DVD media. Given enough time, it returns to its original state. At that point, the data is unreadable.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Have you confirmed all five discs are exactly the same type? Mini camcorder discs came in several versions. Discs marked as DVD-R or +R or RW will usually be recognized by any PC drive. Discs marked DVD-RAM are less compatible, as many drives still in use did not include the RAM feature. If the disc that does play is not DVD-RAM, but the other four are DVD-RAM, that's your answer: buy or borrow a drive that can read DVD-RAM.
    Here's the funny part, the one disc which plays on my pc is DVD-RAM, the other 4 which does not play are all DVD-R and DVD-RW. Does that mean those 4 needs to be played on a standalone DVD player and not on a pc?
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    Originally Posted by mikehende View Post
    Here's the funny part, the one disc which plays on my pc is DVD-RAM, the other 4 which does not play are all DVD-R and DVD-RW. Does that mean those 4 needs to be played on a standalone DVD player and not on a pc?
    DVD-RAM uses phase-change material, but DVD-RAM includes features which make it somewhat more robust than ordinary re-writable DVDs.

    You have nothing to loose by trying to play the others with a standalone DVD player, assuming the player has a tray which accepts mini-dvds. If the player can read them, then it means recovery is possible. Sometimes one DVD drive can read discs that another won't read.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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    Just spoke to my friend, he says he tried them all on a standalone and they were not showing so guess this means, those 4 are toast?
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    ISOBuster can't do any better job than your optical drive is capable of. There have been discussions here about makes and models that are best for reading troublesome discs which you can find by searching.
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  13. You didn't respond to Redwudz' (Orsetto and others) suggestion: check if they are finalized. I'd bet good money that this is the problem. Many PC & Mac programs don't deal well with unfinalized discs, and often show them as blank.
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  14. Originally Posted by mikehende View Post
    Here's the funny part, the one disc which plays on my pc is DVD-RAM, the other 4 which does not play are all DVD-R and DVD-RW. Does that mean those 4 needs to be played on a standalone DVD player and not on a pc?
    No, but it means redwudz was very likely correct that these four "unreadable" discs were not finalized by the camcorder. DVD-RAM and DVD+RW are the only disc types that don't require finalization: unless defective, they will play in any drive that can recognize those disc types. But -R, +R, and -RW all require the recording device to finalize them before they will be recognized or played by 99% of PC drives or standalone players.

    Of course there are other variables. While most PC software players will not play the video from an unfinalized disc, Windows itself should at least recognize the disc is loaded and display the file contents. Those contents can sometimes be parsed by utilities like ISObuster (assuming you live next door to usually-quiet and he shows you how to do it), or played by PowerDVD. If you are getting no reaction whatsoever from your PC drive or Windows, or the drive keeps chugging away with no end, or repeatedly spins up and spins down, then you could be in big trouble. As usually_quiet noted, discs can deteriorate from age or heat exposure (RW is especially vulnerable). If enough defects accrue, the disc becomes unreadable altogether.

    Does your friend remember the brand name of the camcorder? If these discs are that priceless to him, it may be worth picking up another one second-hand just to try finalizing them. At the very least, download ISObuster and see if it can find anything at all on these discs. If not, I'm afraid they're dead.
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  15. Originally Posted by redwudz View Post
    Maybe the discs were not 'finalized' by the camera?

    That would be my guess as well.
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    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    You didn't respond to Redwudz' (Orsetto and others) suggestion: check if they are finalized.
    Yes I did in post #6, as mentioned no 2 discs look identical to me so I can't compare.
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    Isobuster doesn't recognize any file on the disc and I just installed Powerdvd, it doesn't recognize the disc in the drive. I will ask the friend about the camcorder issue and get back to you.
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    [QUOTE=orsetto;2470956]
    Originally Posted by mikehende View Post
    Does your friend remember the brand name of the camcorder? If these discs are that priceless to him, it may be worth picking up another one second-hand just to try finalizing them.
    Do you mean we can put back these discs into the camcorder or one of the same exact brand and model and it can be finalized?
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    Oh, scratch that, just spoke to the friend, he said the discs were finalized and they used to show fine on his pc, just stopped working all of a sudden. The camcorder was stolen but if it's accurate the discs were finalized then no use in him getting a used one?
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    Originally Posted by mikehende View Post
    Oh, scratch that, just spoke to the friend, he said the discs were finalized and they used to show fine on his pc, just stopped working all of a sudden. The camcorder was stolen but if it's accurate the discs were finalized then no use in him getting a used one?
    correct. there's nothing more a camcorder could do.
    --
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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    ok, appreciate the help guys, Happy holidays!
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    Originally Posted by mikehende View Post
    Isobuster doesn't recognize any file on the disc and I just installed Powerdvd, it doesn't recognize the disc in the drive. I will ask the friend about the camcorder issue and get back to you.
    I know your friend says these DVDs were finalized, but after several years, memory may not be reliable.

    After loading an unfinalized DVD, ISOBuster's main program window shows one or more Sessions and one or more Tracks rather than typical DVD files and folders. ISOBuster displays a pop-up window saying
    During mounting of the disk only a session/track layout could be found. Assuming you are looking for certain (missing) files, we suggest you run the option: "Find missing files and folders."
    Running "Find missing files and folders" may or may not find something, and the free version of ISOBuster won't let you run or copy what it finds. However, some of the tracks often contain video data that ISOBuster (free) can extract and copy as an image file. Some programs can work with the tracks extracted as TAO images, if they contain video data.

    So my question is: what do you see when you open one of the unplayable DVDs with ISO buster?
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    After the last post here, I gave back the dvd's to the friend but Isobuster was showing no file or something to that effect.
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    Originally Posted by mikehende View Post
    After the last post here, I gave back the dvd's to the friend but Isobuster was showing no file or something to that effect.
    "no file" doesn't sound familiar to me. ...but since you have already decided that you have spent enough time on this, there is no point in me trying to help you.
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    Something like no file on the disk was showing and nothing I can do since I don't physically have the disks anymore. The friend doesn't seem too worried about it.
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  26. Originally Posted by mikehende View Post
    Something like no file on the disk was showing and nothing I can do since I don't physically have the disks anymore. The friend doesn't seem too worried about it.
    Wow. What a waste of time this thread turned out to be.
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