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by Ray DeCosta

Q. I burned a CD with some files that I gave to a friend but he can't read anything on the disc. He brought the disc back to me and I can read everything without a problem. What happened?

A. Assuming that your friend's CD drive is operating properly, the issue is probably related to the way you created your CD. This problem is more common than you might expect and is caused by the nature of CD burning programs and their default settings which many people never even think about. There are many different CD/DVD burning programs available. Some are free and may be supplied with your computer or are available through a download while others are available for purchase.

Typically, they are all set up for you to use although they might not be set properly depending on the way you want to use your optical disc burner. In addition, the same feature may have different names depending on the software company. So it can be problematic in that there are no "standard" settings applicable to all users.

The majority of burning programs are provided by either Roxio or Nero and many programs already installed on your computer are actually different versions of Roxio. Nero is typically more "geeky" and permits you to select a multitude of options which you'll probably never use. One isn't "better" than the other - they're just "different."

You will need to find the setting for your burning program which deals with "closing" or "finalizing" a disc when you have finished burning it. These two terms are technically different but are often used interchangeably by different programs. Leaving a disc "open" allows you to add additional files to it at a later time. However, that feature often restricts reading an open disc to the drive that created it in the first place.

As you have found out, leaving an optical disc "open" can cause problems. And if you should get a new computer, you might not be able to read your own disc. The solution is to make sure that your burning program "closes" or "finalizes" your disc when it's done creating it.

Published: Courier 8/4/13 - Page 3C