CD-R and CD Players

© 1995 Incat Systems Software USA, Inc.
Used with permission.

Several sources have reported incompatibility between recordable CDs (gold discs) written with desktop recorders and some CD-ROM players. The matter is complex, as there are several factors that affect the compatibility of recordable CDs with a CD-ROM drive

Laser Calibration

Some CD-ROM readers' lasers were not calibrated to read recordable discs, whose recorded surface is different from that of factory-pressed discs. If your CD-ROM drive reads mass-produced (silver) CDs but not recordable CDs, check with the manufacturer to determine whether this is the problem.

Fast CD-ROM Drives

In order for some models to work as fast as they do, they must perform unconventional operations such as a laser calibration in the lead-out area to determine, by a voltage measurement, the approximate position of several tracks. It occasionally happens with some CD recorders that the session lead-out is not recorded completely correctly, causing problems when this area is used to calibrate the reading laser.

Other Potential Problems

SCSI Cables

Ensure that your SCSI cables are of good quality and working properly, and that the SCSI chain is correctly terminated.

CD Recording Software

Any software can sometimes produce incorrect tracks due to bugs or recording glitches. A good way to check whether the incompatibility problems lie with the originating software or with one of the other causes listed above is to test the same disc on several CD-ROM drives. If one drive is capable of reading the disc back correctly, chances are that the problem was not in the recording, but is one or more of the other factors listed.


Although MSCDEX (the Microsoft extension for reading CD-ROMs) will allow non-ISO legal characters in filenames, versions of MSCDEX prior to 2.23 have a problem in dealing with filenames which contain the hyphen. If a directory contains a filename with a hyphen in it, you will be able to see all the files by doing a DIR from DOS. But any files listed after the file with the illegal name are not accessible; upon trying to open then you would get a "file not found" message.

MSCDEX 2.23 appears to have fixed this bug.

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