Troubleshoot PC DVR Recording Issues - dummies

By Dan Gookin

Most PCs come with optical drives that allow you to record. When the record function doesn’t work, you need a few troubleshooting tools for checking both the DVR drive and the media that you put in it.

Is the DVR drive creating the problem?

First, make sure that your PC sports an optical drive that lets you record discs. Look for recordable, recorder, R, +R, -R, or RW labels on the drive’s faceplate.

In Windows XP, you need to confirm that recording abilities have been activated for a recordable optical drive.

  1. Open the My Computer window.

  2. Right-click the Optical Drive icon.

  3. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu.

  4. Click the Recording tab.


  5. Place a check mark in the box next to Enable CD Recording on This Drive.

  6. Click OK.

If the drive still doesn’t record discs, the drive itself may have a problem and need to be replaced.

When it’s difficult to tell whether the drive is recordable, you can rely on the Device Manager to confirm it for you. By opening the DVD/CD-ROM Drives category, you can confirm that you have a CD-R/RW or DVD-R/RW by looking at the device’s name.

Or is it the disc that is in the drive?

Optical discs come in many recordable flavors. Always ensure that you get the right disc for your drive. For example, a DL, or Dual Layer, disc cannot be recorded as a DL disc in a non-DL drive. If your recordable drive is older and doesn’t recognize the RW format, don’t buy RW discs.

In some cases, software might be specific about the type of disc you record to. For example, DVD-making software might prefer that you use the more compatible DVD-R format for a video rather than the more efficient DVD+R format.

Some discs are duds. When a disc doesn’t record, toss it out. Try another. If you end up tossing out all the discs, the problem is most likely with the drive.

  • Ensure that any optical disc recording software you’re using is up-to-date. That way, you can eliminate any recording problems with older software.

  • Most television DVD players read the DVD-R format and have trouble reading the DVD+R format. Also note that a DVD must be formatted for playing in a television DVD player; you cannot “play” a DVD with data on it.