Ive found that when a non finalized DVD is moved to another machine, that machine needs to record anything ,even 30 seconds of anything,if there is room on the disc, then THAT machine will finalize the disc, my experience is only with stand alone DVD recorders,not PCs.I bought 2 magnavox DVD recorders with COMPONET video inputsmodel MRV 660. The last machine to record on the disc will be able to finalize it.Thats been my experience, many times. Mike[/QUOTE]
@mikethomas1954 (or any other reader). Nero does that as well, apparently. That is, adding something (even a dummy file) before finalizing a pre-existing multisession disc, assuming there is still empty space. Can anybody confirm?
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Using Nero to finalize orphaned recorder discs an old old trick: sometimes it works, sometimes not. If it fails, you may completely destroy the disc.
As far as using a different recorder (brand) to finalize a disc made on another brand recorder, via the trick of adding another small recording first: no, this won't usually work. Different recorder models from the same brand, or different brands of the same recorder design (i.e. Phillips, Magnavox, Sylvania, Sanyo, Funai, later Toshiba) can finalize each others' discs (no need to add another recording first). But if you put an unfinalized disc from one brand recorder into a completely different recorder design (say a Sony disc into a Panasonic), that recorder will usually refuse to read it at all, displaying "Cannot Play This Disc" or "Cannot Use This Disc" or "Disc Not Recognized", etc. If a recorder displays such an alert, it will not engage record mode to make the "tiny extra recording" you describe above. If you do not have another unit from the same brand of recorder that made the unfinalized disc available, you'll need to try tools like Nero (or preferably salvage the contents with a utility like ISObuster).
Some software players like PowerDVD and VLC can play many unfinalized discs on your Windows PC: if no other option is available you can do a screen cap from that (or perhaps play the video out from the PC into another recorder or capture device).
Last edited by orsetto; 13th Jan 2021 at 11:30.
Thanks to Cornucopia and orsetto for the replies! The reason why I am interested in this topic is just to learn how a software (or perhaps any software) works at it pertains to finalizing a previously unfinalized multi-session disc. If I understand correctly, the way to achieve this is to add an empty session and then finalizing the disc. In other words, it is not possible to finalize a disc without actually being in the burning step, or, I should say, finalizing a disc is only possible while burning something (even an empty session). Am I correct in my assumption? Please note that I am talking about softwares only; I am not sure about standalone recorders, though probably they work the same.
When burning in sessions or packets (aka incrementally, and not all at once) and not finalizing, there are "linking" sectors that the recorder/burner uses with which to connect back up to for continuing the burn later. These linking sectors (which use up a very small amount of space and aren't available for userdata) vary in their length and in the data that is put in them to signify their identity. Since they vary, only the recorder/burner that created them knows intimately what the information should be expecting and would know where they left off and how to connect back up. Kind of like a ragged tail end of a DNA that needs the same (or complementary) lead end to connect to it.
Note: this is INTERNAL to the workings of the recorder/burner, and is not available to be programmed, so don't even try to go down that route.
If the different burner/recorder can RECOGNIZE the unfinalized disc, it may or may not be able to add to it (depending on if its writing strategy is similar enough). And depending upon the programming, it may or may not be able to "carry forward" the TOC contents from the previous packets/sessions into the new section. If all 3 of those things are true, then when it finalizes, whether you add an empty session or fill it, it should work. But that's a LOT of ifs.
On the original burner/recorder, finalizing ought to be possible without needing a subsequent session. As a general rule - YMMV.
You are saying (the most important discovery for me): "On the original burner/recorder, finalizing ought to be possible without needing a subsequent session. As a general rule - YMMV."
I didn't know that, Scott. And, yes, I understand we are talking in general terms here, and there are exceptions, but I thought that it was "always necessary" (and in "any scenario") to add something like a session (or empty session) to a pre-existing unfinalized disc in order to finalize it.
A number of past recorders I have used have had a separate "finalize" function option apart from other options like "new session", and if memory serves, they did not generate new sessions to achieve that. But it has been a decade or more, so maybe memory doesn't serve any more. That's one of the reasons I said YMMV.
Your memory is still good, Cornucopia: standalone dvd recorders always had a distinct "Finalize" function but never "Add Session" as a prerequisite or named function. Some recorders could be set to automatically finalize a disc when the first recording ended, but typically you would keep adding recordings to the disc until you either filled it or did not want to add anything more, then manually invoke the "Finalize" function.
Mfrs tried to make dvd recorders work as much as possible like VCRs. So "Add Session" was never seen as a named function, Disco Makberto, as it was unnecessary: adding a session was automatic each time the physical "record" button was pressed. But a recorder could not know when you were ready to finalize until you went into the function menu and chose that option.
Many, many consumers just could not understand the necessity to finalize: the concept was foreign to their experience with VCRs. Since a dvd recorder is able to play its own unfinaliized discs, owners assumed such discs were properly made. If they owned only the recorder, did not own a separate standalone player attached to a second TV, and did not share dvds with other people, often years could go by before they noticed their unfinalized discs were a problem that would not play on anything else (sadly, usually after the recorder that made them was broken /discarded).
Mfrs share some responsibility for this: every recorder should have displayed an on-screen prompt to finalize each time the stop button was pressed after each recording. But unfinalized discs would still have been a problem anyway: we humans can be remarkably stubborn or resistant. A large number of threads I've seen over the years asking how to fix unfinalized discs came from owners of recorder models that DID constantly remind them to finalize after each recording.
This is a somewhat different subject, but I did not notice another relevant thread (preferably containing some semi-recent replies) in which to put it.
As a fellow longtime Pioneer DVDR fan, I probably should have remembered about this, but it's been quite some time since I dealt with the particular function. The recorder in one location has just 10 hours of space remaining -- at the default MN21 or SP setting -- and I've not had time to offload material from it to clear some space. I needed to capture a program from the sat box at around MN30, so I thought why not do this directly to a RW DVD, thereby not further encumbering the overly full recorder HDD. This went O.K. -- at which point I rediscovered that you cannot then do any edits to the recorded disc; all you can do is maybe change the Title and finalize. And I'm kind of wondering Why, and was that pretty standard among DVDRs ? I vaguely seem to recall a time before I got into the Pioneer DVDRs, with a couple other (no HDD) recorders (like the Polariod 2001 ?), that maybe had no such limitation ? Or am I mistaken ?
It ultimately did not matter: I needed to turn this disc into a single .MKV file anyway, which I did on the computer, after making a few small but necessary trims.
One other, unrelated item. Prior to taking care of this job, I had a very brief power failure on that electrical circuit. When next turned on, the Pio DVDR came up with an "Errors have been corrected" message. What's up with that ? Did this have something to do with the power event, or was it to do with the unit's HDD being relatively full ? If anything occurred that I should be concerned about, it has not become apparent yet.
I can see what you mean, orsetto, and thank you for your explanation! But I was mainly referring to softwares and not standalone recorders. I have almost zero experience with standalone recorders. Regardless, now I understand that this is a "hit or miss" (with softwares), and some softwares may allow finalization without adding a session (or empty session) if the unfinalized disc was burned with the same software; if the unfinalized disc was burned with a different software, then most likely the different software will add a session (or empty session) in order to finalize the disc, and that is if it works, for it might fail altogether.
All the best,
Seeker47, sorry for delay in responding: I've been offline for a few weeks tending to some projects.
Re the Pioneer handling of DVD-RW: yes, what you experienced is normal operation with Pioneers if the DVD-RW is formatted in the default Video mode (i.e., compatible to be finalized for playback in other devices). Indeed all other DVD recorders will have the same limitations in DVD Video mode. The reason your non-HDD Polaroid recorders had more flexible editing options with -RW was likely their default format of VR mode instead of Video mode when loading -RW media. VR mode is proprietary for each recorder brand and cannot be finalized to play in other devices, however -RW discs in VR format offer more editing options. You can obtain the same added options with your Pioneer by manually invoking Disc Setup>Initialize>VR Mode before recording on the disc. As I've noted previously, with the Pioneers you can also back up and restore HDD contents losslessly with discs formatted in Pioneer VR mode. (+RW media by default has its own standardized +VR format which is across the board compatible without requiring finalization).
The "errors have been corrected" alert was likely triggered by the power outage, if that Pioneer happened to be powered on or timer recording when the outage occurred. I have not seen the specific "errors have been corrected" wording in years: the last time was with a DVR-520 with a failing HDD which repeated that alert after every power down (if the alert does not repeat each time you turn the unit on, the HDD should be OK). My newer 540, 550 and 560 Pioneers use the wording "Please wait a moment: repairing HDD" followed by "HDD repair complete" upon startup sometimes. Usually this only happens when I cross over to the danger zone of less than 10 hours free space and insist on making a lot of edits within that buffer zone.
I've been experiencing this a lot recently as I push one of my DVR-460s to the limit recording the daily Looney Tunes/Fleischer/MGM vintage cartoon broadcasts on the ME-TV channel: each hour has 34 mins of cartoons and 26 mins of commercials and some inane host + puppet nonsense. This entails a lot of editing that skated well into the 10 hour buffer zone, and these recorders start balking if you persist in such fragmentary "record - edit - add new recording sucking up those fragments - edit again - repeat" workflow within the 10 hour zone. I got lazy about burning discs because the material piled up so fast, but yesterday burned it off and caught up so the HDD Repair alert has ceased.
Last edited by orsetto; 13th Feb 2021 at 13:07.
Re the question of using software like Nero to finalize "open" discs from either standalone recorders or other software packages: I don't think there is a consistent answer to whether this always involves Nero etc needing to "add an empty session" in the process. As Cornucopia explained, each burner in combination with each software burning utility (or the burning firmware in a recorder) will have a slightly different writing strategy. So the best/proper way to finalize an open disc is to use the finalize function of the same software/burner combo (or similar compatible recorder model).
Using a utility like Nero to finalize random open DVD video discs is a hack, not a guaranteed function: Nero makes a generic guess as to how the pieces can be tied together into a TOC or menu structure. Maybe it adds an empty session, maybe not. If the open disc was originally burned in a PC, chances are better generic Nero finalization will succeed than with discs burned in standalone recorders (recorders tend to have more proprietary structures). Rather than risk a finalization failure with Nero, it is better to try and salvage the independent video files off the disc using a utility like ISObuster. One would need to pay a license fee for the software, but if the videos are important it is well worth the modest cost.
Thanks orsetto for another detailed answer in post #11 above. When I haven't dealt with a particular issue in quite some time, it becomes easier to lose track of what I might possibly have once known. It is true that on a couple of these Pioneers (460 or 560, as any 520 has not been in service for a long time) I have also been flirting with the "10 Hours Left" danger zone, well over 225 recorded items (some of them just a few minutes long, though with edits), so I surely need to do some work as you did.
Does this triggered, HDD auto-repair equate to much the same thing as one of those voluntary HDD optimization runs ? I think you have previously certified that procedure as very likely being safe, although I have never chosen to risk it, even if the risk is low. If the recorder ever did it on its own, this was out of my hands. I'm very glad that the IsoBuster "safety net" now exists, but I have not had an occasion to try it. While I realize that the IsoBuster method probably would not work with this, I would probably try it out first on one of the DirecTV receivers that failed, taking a lot of recorded material along with it. Presuming of course that its HDD did not also croak and can still be mounted. There would then almost certainly be a final and total barrier of encryption, but jwillis never provided a definitive answer on that.
The post-DVR-520 Pioneer "Repairing HDD..." alert on startup is predictable in some scenarios but in most cases is triggered by whatever unknown contexts Pioneer embedded in OS firmware. There is also a difference between EIDE and SATA based models: the EIDE 540-543-640 recorders rarely deploy "Repairing HDD..." unless deliberately provoked by the scenario I described above (maxing out HDD capacity into the 10 hour danger zone, while repeatedly editing snippet material like cartoons or music videos that leave multiple brief gaps in HDD space). The SATA 550 and 560 series seem much more prone to randomly performing HDD repairs on startup for no apparent reason: perhaps Pioneer programmed them to do this more often as a precaution.
As best I can determine, a repair is usually triggered by snippet editing of some sort, where you edit out/delete multiple brief pieces from a recording, or isolate one short bit from a much larger recording that you then delete (say keeping just a single short sketch from a 90 min SNL episode). The SATA Pioneers often attempt to "repair" the HDD after such edits even if there is plenty of free space remaining on the HDD. The alert is scary as hell the first few times it happens, but after years of ownership you begin to realize it is not a harbinger of imminent HDD demise. Rather, it is a simple notification that you will not be able to operate the unit for a minute or two while it does some HDD housekeeping (which I assume to be local defrag or sector remapping).
Re the manual "Optimize HDD" function, I've only ever invoked that once, and it was after I'd backed up any critical video to a few VR mode RWs so they could be restored in case of HDD loss. The optimization went smoothly but did take about four hours on a half-full 160GB drive. Occasionally when I know I'm really pushing my luck I'll perform local optimization the slow tedious dvd way to ensure the OS/HDD is not overly stressed. As earlier this week after I burned off many but not all of the cartoons culled from several hours of broadcasts: I knew the two dozen cartoons I left on the HDD for future compiling were scattered widely enough to annoy the unit. To ward off any potential issues, I copied those short cartoons to a couple VR mode backup dvds, deleted the originals from the HDD, then restored them back to the HDD from the VR dvds as a contiguous block (freeing the remaining open space for the recorder to manage more easily).
I rarely go to that effort unless I'm dancing on the edge of HDD capacity, which I frequently am with this Looney Tunes project (free space varies from 20 hours to 4 hours week to week depending how fast I can author archive DVDs and delete them from HDD). Unfortunately I've backed myself into a corner with this particular Pioneer and cartoon project: normally I would empty the HDD in such cases but this recorder is also hosting a couple other long-term projects so I can't. My other Pioneers are tied up with long-term VHS conversion projects. Amazing how quickly you can fill 160GB with source material for compilations.
Last edited by orsetto; 15th Feb 2021 at 01:49.