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I have a Gateway E-4100 desktop computer with Ubuntu 12.04 installed. I'm trying to burn files to a blank DVD using the internal DVD/CD burner (of which I'm sure is the original that came with the PC).

I would expect Ubuntu to pop up a message whenever I insert a blank DVD in the drive, as that happens with blank CDs. Read-only or non-blank DVDs are working properly, however, for my blank DVD it seems that the drive or Ubuntu doesn't recognize it.

Burning applications Brasero and K3b report as if there's no disc present.

dmesg output for my CD/DVD drive:

[ 2.528310] ata2.00: ATAPI: HL-DT-STDVD-ROM GDR8161B, 0040, max UDMA/66
[ 2.528319] ata2.01: ATAPI: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GMA-4020B, A105, max UDMA/66
[ 2.569345] scsi 1:0:0:0: CD-ROM HL-DT-ST DVD-ROM GDR8161B 0040 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5
[ 2.580569] cdrom: Uniform CD-ROM driver Revision: 3.20
[ 2.580785] sr 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr0
[ 2.586841] scsi 1:0:1:0: CD-ROM HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GMA-4020B A105 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5
[ 2.592719] sr 1:0:1:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr1

How can I burn to this DVD in Ubuntu?

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What makes you think it's not recognized? What application are you using to burn? What exactly did you expect to happen and what happens instead? –  gertvdijk Jan 1 '13 at 20:00
    
Whenever I put in a CD, either a blank or a full one, or a DVD that isn't a blank (sorry I'm not better with terminology), I get a screen asking what to do with the CD or DVD. But when I put a blank DVD in the drive, nothing happens. I've tried burning with both Brasero Disk Burner or K3B disk burner. In both burners it says there is no disk in the drive to burn to (or something like that) –  John Hill Jan 1 '13 at 21:00
    
Things to check: 1) is it a DVD burner or just CD/DVD combo for only CD-recording? The E-4100 seems to be very old and I think DVD burners were not mainstream at that time. Please post the output of dmesg | egrep '(CD|DVD)' from a terminal. 2) not all blank media is compatible with all drives. Did you try another type of blank media? 3) Does the same blank disc work in another burner? 4) Is there a firmware update available for you drive to support more media? –  gertvdijk Jan 1 '13 at 21:22
    
Here are the results you asked for: –  John Hill Jan 1 '13 at 22:37
    
john-hill@john-hill-E-4100:~$ dmesg | egrep '(CD|DVD)' [ 2.528310] ata2.00: ATAPI: HL-DT-STDVD-ROM GDR8161B, 0040, max UDMA/66 [ 2.528319] ata2.01: ATAPI: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GMA-4020B, A105, max UDMA/66 [ 2.569345] scsi 1:0:0:0: CD-ROM HL-DT-ST DVD-ROM GDR8161B 0040 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5 [ 2.580569] cdrom: Uniform CD-ROM driver Revision: 3.20 [ 2.580785] sr 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr0 [ 2.586841] scsi 1:0:1:0: CD-ROM HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GMA-4020B A105 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5 [ 2.592719] sr 1:0:1:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr1 john-hill@john-hill-E-4100:~$ –  John Hill Jan 1 '13 at 22:38

1 Answer 1

You seem to have a really old optical drive there. It's one of the first DVD burners introduced. I believe this the reason for why your drive isn't recognizing the blank media, is that it's incompatible with your drive. I also believe it's not related to Ubuntu, unless you can state it works in another operating system.

Here are some options:

  • Make sure you have a blank DVD-R (minus sign), not DVD+R.

    It's hard to retrieve the 'official' specifications of this drive nowadays, but it seems it's only capable of writing DVD-R, and only reading +R, according to this site.

  • Try upgrading the firmware.

    The firmware A105 seems not to be the latest one available. The official download site seems not to be available anymore, but I see traces of A109 versions on the web. Try to upgrade the firmware if you can still find an official source and tool to do so.

  • Try buying media rated for lower speeds.

    Media rated for lower speeds may have older, traditional dye types that your drive support better.

  • Consider buying a newer drive.

    Newer types, second hand, should be fairly cheap and will save you a lot of headache.

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OK thanks so much for the help! –  John Hill Jan 2 '13 at 0:11

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