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  1. Member
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    Windows 10 with Nero, BurnAware --

    I primarily use CD disc burning for audio files, mostly flac and mp3.

    I limit my burning to one session disc-at-a-time and test all content for playability before putting the disc away. Content always below disc capacity.

    Yet returning to the disc (usually months) I periodically find some files not playable, along with being unable to read them via Windows Explorer (i.e., can't copy from the CD). I have never had this issue with video burning, same software.

    Anyone know what's happening? Is this bitrot? Am I better off archiving on a flash drive?

    Thanks all.
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  2. Member
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    possible bad/cheap media ??
    might also try burning with imgburn.
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  3. 1) You're still burning CD-Rs on a regular basis in 2020 ? Ô_Ô
    2) Are you recording up to the limit of the disc's capacity, and are those unreadable files located near the end of the discs ? Normally files are recorded in alphabetic sequence of file name and folder name. With ISOBuster you can check at which percentage errors start to appear. Optical discs tend to degrade at the outer edge first, i.e. at the end of the recording surface. That's why it was advised by some wise people not to fill them to the brim, and let at least 3-5% empty (20-30MB for CDs, 150-250MB for DVDs). As for why videos are seemingly not affected : perhaps because video files are bigger, it's more difficult to fill a disc to the brim with them, so perhaps those discs with video files have been burned with a safety margin ; and depending on the format, a video file which is corrupted / unreadable at the end may be readable anyway up until errors start to appear (MPG files for sure, incomplete MKVs usually play fine, for AVI files VLC Media Player issues a warning if the index located at the end is incomplete or missing but can still read them, for MP4 files it depends if the index is located at the beginning or at the end, if it's at the end and incomplete / missing the file is totally unreadable, if it's at the beginning the file is readable even if it's missing a large chunk at the end).
    3) Optical drives are becoming a thing of the past, those still produced and sold for the price of a few kilos of tomatoes are probably far behind in terms of manufacturing quality compared to those that were sold in the early 2000s at a triple-digit price.
    4) If you smoke, or have a cat's poop-box in the same room, that could be a part of the issue. (No kidding : my neighbour was having trouble with his CD player, turns out that he has two big cats and two poop-boxes in the living room, where the CD player is. I cleaned the CD player's lens and it worked again, but the cats are still pooping like crazy in the immediate vicinity, so I wouldn't be surprised if the CDs start popping again. Sometimes he asks me to feed them while he's absent — it's incredible how much those two bastards eat and poop, like it's their sacred duty on Earth. And the neighbour in question who's been working in a bank for 30+ years apparently can't afford better than a ca. 50 sq. meters apartment with a small balcony for himself, his boyfriend, their two massive felines and their two birds, how saddening that is.)
    5) Flash drives can fail, too, and when they do they often become totally unreadable right away with no warning. There's unfortunately no perfectly reliable long-term storage solution, as was discussed here.
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  4. Member
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    Don't smoke, no cats. I have tried saving audio files to DVD, same result -- some success some corruption.

    The conundrum is why will the file play from a newly burned disc but not later. I've copied video using the same hardware/software without experiencing down the road failure. I never burn any disc to capacity; perhaps it would be better to leave 100 mb free when compiling?

    Or maybe something about the nature of audio files?
    Last edited by henry_l; 12th Dec 2020 at 00:35.
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  5. Content always below disc capacity.
    Sorry, I hadn't paid attention to that sentence in your inital post, which makes my second point above mostly moot.

    The conundrum is why will the file play from a newly burned disc but not later. I've copied video using the same hardware/software without experiencing down the road failure. I never burn any disc to capacity; perhaps it would be better to leave 100 mb free when compiling?
    Or maybe something about the nature of audio files?
    You need a reference about the integrity of those files, like a list of checksums (see the aforementioned thread, several options for that are cited). For those already burned which have readability issues, perhaps you can re-download some of them, for comparison. Or at least you can open those unreadable files in a hexadecimal editor (HxD simple and free, WinHex not free but more advanced, allows to view files with no license), to check if the header looks valid.
    When you “test for playability”, does it mean that you 1) verify the data with the disc burning software, 2) check some random files with a media player, 3) compare all files with the source using another software ? If you do only 1) and the source file (on a HDD presumably) is already corrupted, even if the data integrity is flawless, problems are going to arise when actually trying to play the files in question. If you do 2), and check, say, 10 files out of 100, you can't be sure that the other 90 are fine right after the disc was burned.
    If you try to copy those files from the disc, what happens precisely, is there an error warning, saying what ?
    Are those files also unreadable on another computer ?
    Could it be related to Windows 10 preventing access to certain files for “security” reasons ? (Very little experience with W10, one thing that seems to be very troublesome is the frequency of updates and the tendency of some updates to break things that used to work fine.) Could be related to the “ZoneIdentifier” alternate data stream (don't know much about that, it is used by the O.S. to determine if a file “came from another computer”, and grant access to it or block it depending on the User Account Control settings and whatnot, don't know what happens when a file with that ADS gets burned to a CD/DVD, I would guess that it loses the ADS since it's specific to the NTFS filesystem, but then how the O.S. reacts, no clue). To rule that out without immediate access to another computer, you could run a Linux live system from a USB thingy or a SD card, and test those same files.

    Something else entirely : I had an issue long ago with a folder synchronization software called SynchronizeIt (or Synchronize It!), some files it copied ended up corrupted, in a peculiar way : exactly 25000 bytes were correct on the copied files, then the rest was completely blank ; it always happened with the same files, in exactly the same way, while those same files could be copied flawlessly from the Windows Explorer. When I first reported it to the author back in 2010, he didn't have a clue and figured that the problem was on my computer. I became wary about using it, started checking everything (which is certainly a good habit when it comes to computer data), and using Robocopy instead (Robocopy and SynchronizeIt being among the very few file transfer / synchronization softwares on Windows that preserve all timestamps, including folders' creation and modification timestamps). Then, years later, in 2015, I finally noticed a pattern : files which ended up corrupted when copied with SynchronizeIt were files downloaded with specific download managers (Orbit Downloader, FlashGet, JDownloader if I recall, but that's irrelevant, they all used the same filesystem feature). So I re-reported the issue to the author, with added context, then he made some tests, and found out that his software had a bug causing a corruption when copying files with the “sparse” attribute. It's a little known NTFS feature which allows to save space by actually allocating only non-empty clusters, and many downloading softwares activate this by default. As I mentioned here or here, the author provided me with a fixed version, which I've used since then with no issue, but for some reason never released it publicly.
    SO there would be a possibility that the “BurnAware” software might not be aware of that “sparse” subtlety.
    To check if a file has the “sparse” attribute, enable the “attributes” column in Windows Explorer, and check if there is a “P” letter. (That's how it's indicated in Windows 7, not sure if it's the same on later versions. It can also be checked with the native Windows command line tool fsutil (which can do a lot of other useful things) with the command [without quotation marks] : « fsutil sparse queryflag "X:\path to the file\name of the file.ext" ».)

    (BUT I realize just now that the above hypothesis could not account for the fact that the problematic files are played fine right after being burned, looks like once again I got carried away... but it could be useful to someone, someday, so let's keep it there anyway...)
    Last edited by abolibibelot; 12th Dec 2020 at 16:16.
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  6. Member
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    For now I'll try ImgBurn limiting cd content to 600mb. For archiving it looks as if external hard drive is the way to go.

    Why cds? Don't think I'm crypto-luddite but the portability of a cd for playing music in a vehicle is useful -- most automotive players will read mp3 now. Newer ones--I'm told--have usb capacity which adds another option.

    Abolibibelot, do you think flash drives are more stable than cds? Thanks much for your time on this.
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  7. Indeed, for playing music in a car it can still make sense, although I haven't seen anyone still using CDs in their car in recent years — don't have one myself, only do a few car sharing rides a year, even old fellas now have a fancy system which plays files from their phones on the car's audio system — I don't even have a so-called “smart” phone, must be a crypto-luddite myself ! I would totally understand that you don't feel the urge to get a brand new audio system if the current one works fine, just for the sake of being technologically up-to-date. (40-50 years ago, people were sent to the Moon and probes to the confines of the Solar System with laughably underpowered computers, while all the wonderful technology available now is mostly used to dramatically decrease the world's signal-to-noise ratio and add a shitload of garbage to the future “anthropocene” geological layer which will be studied by evolved dogs a few million years from now. So those who think — like Mr. Macron — that moar technology will necessarily solve the ills of the world are seriously deluded.)

    As for CDs vs. flash drives : CDs degrade over time, but slowly (unless they're exposed to very unfavorable conditions, like hot temperatures and/or humidity, or are carelessly manipulated) and gradually (again, degradation usually starts at the outer edge), while a flash drive can work fine for many years but can fail all of a sudden and lose all of its contents. So the drawbacks are different. In any case, whatever media is kept in a car should be considered disposable, it should not be the only copy archived, if the files are remotely important.

    As for your readability issues, have you tried anything among the above suggestions ?
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    Most of my audio files are ones I've ripped/encoded myself and the occasional itunes download. Before burning any such file I've sampled / listened to it so I know it's good to go.

    Windows 10 might be an issue but I have no way of testing it.

    I've also had dvds I've archived non-video files on fail more than the same with cds. Whole discs that worked fine when originally burned just spin unread in any optical drive I try. Guess it's just a life lesson in entropy
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  9. Windows 10 might be an issue but I have no way of testing it.
    Again, on the same computer, you could run a Linux ISO in “live” mode (no install) from a CD or flash USB device or memory card (flash based devices being significantly faster. I use that one, which is light (Lubuntu based) and has extra tools readily installed for data recovery purposes. Common media files should be recognized by whatever media player comes pre-installed.

    Or attempt to open problematic files in a hex editor, and (if it works) post a screenshot of the header (beginning), and/or describe what you see.

    What about ISOBuster, does it report read errors when extracting the concerned discs, if so, starting from what % ?
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