Recorded DVD or CD contains data but appears blank in windows xp

by Rohit Khurana on January 24, 2008



Sometimes it happens that when you insert a recorded data DVD or CD into your CD or DVD reader but rather then displaying the data it displays the disc as blank.


Note: It’s not your CD or DVD reader fault at all when it reports the recorded media as blank.


This problem may occur when you use certain third-party Image Mastering API (IMAPI) CD-burning software to record data to a recordable CD or DVD. Lets see how this trouble can be fixed.



The problem mainly occurs because the IMAPI CD-burning software which you use for writing CD or DVD changes the sub-header bits on the disc to a format that Microsoft Windows XP cannot read correctly.



But don’t worry as you can easily fix the issue by installing the latest service pack provided by Microsoft, obtain the latest service pack for Microsoft Windows XP by clicking here.


If you have any other problems related to this one please leave a comment at the end of this post we will be glad to help you out.

Tip: You can refer to this link to troubleshoot the common problems which occur in CD or DVD reading in Windows XP.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashish Mohta January 25, 2008 at 9:41 pm

This is good piece of information. It used to happen with me in college time and Now I know the reason. Thanks for the info

Joe Hill January 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm

I have a couple of DVD with photos and home movies, it worked ok on stand alone DVD player, now it does’nt. Its stored correctly, and handled only by me.
I tried to get “Image Burn” freeware application to read it and convert it into an ISO image. Some of the DVD will read correctly up to 70 or 35%, and Image burn will inform me that sectors contains errors.
These DVDs contain precious family photos and movies, do you know how I can recover the information from the failed DVDs, and or repair it with some application, so I can have it stored in my PC as an ISO Image.
My other question this. When we rent or buy a commercial DVD eg like a movie, the DVD takes a lot of rough handling, and the shiny part shows no visible burnt tracks as the ones I burn on my DVD. How come?

Would appreciate your reply
joe hill

Rohit Khurana January 28, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Hi Joe

Thanks for leaving a comment at
Regarding your question, DVD which we burn ourselves are generally not
that rugged as the ones which are available commercial movie/games DVD
as they are manufactured by slightly different manufacturing processes
as they are to be written only once.

The best way to preserve your personal DVDs is to handle them with
care and keep them in a moisture free and dust free casing when not in
use. Always buy the best quality blank disks available.

Also, there are certain softwares like Virtual CD, which can help you
recover data from a scratched disc, using some error correction
algorithms. But there is no guaranty that it will recover it always,
but its worth giving a try. One more thing you can do is, try reading
the disc using a new DVD ROM/writer, as its lens may be in a better
position to read the data from a scratched disc. From that u can take
the backup.

One more tip: When you are burning important DVDs, write them at less
than maximum supported speed, that also helps.

I hope the information will help you.

Shantanu Goel January 29, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Hey Rohit
I’m plagued by this issue as well. But a few things:
1) You are right about the IMAPI thing but installing SP2 will not help. I have this issue with SP2 installed.
2) This issue occurs on linux as well with me if I install NeroLinux.
3) So far I’ve found that the only solution is to uninstall the offending software (Nero in my case)

Quennie August 28, 2008 at 9:08 am

Hi! I find this info very useful. I uninstalled my ExpressBurn and then I was able to read my data DVD. Now that i uninstalled my burning software, what free burning software would you recommend me? I’ve got Burn4free but it cannot burn movie DVD.

Quennie August 28, 2008 at 9:21 am

Btw, I’m using Windows Vista.

Thommas January 13, 2009 at 3:05 pm

thats not true in the comments.the DVD is playing in other computers

kavk February 24, 2009 at 5:21 am

when the data or files is burn on the dvd or cd for second time it doesnot display the items that is recorded on the first time but it displays the second time burn item only please help me sir

kavk February 24, 2009 at 5:26 am

sir i want to know how to create a resource cd or recovery cd for my windows xp -sp2 version when i bough my pc they didnot given me the resouce cd please help me sir.please send your answer to my mail also sir ..

Karan April 27, 2009 at 6:03 am

When i burn any cd or dvd it shows 100% completed successfully but when i check the cd it shows that cd is blank.

shashidhar July 17, 2009 at 4:08 am

i am unable to read cd after burning in xp.why it happens?

Rich July 31, 2010 at 6:03 pm

I am having this exact same problem. SP3 has been installed for quite some time. The CD issue happened after I installed B’sClip. I could not find an uninstall program for B’sClip so I removed all references to it in the Registry. I still cannot read any CDs even though Device Status says “the device is working properly”. How do I fix this? Should I reinstall SP3? Thank you.

neha joshi November 27, 2010 at 1:48 am


actually i burned a dvd at that time it showed all the contens but now when i tried opening it shows empty… and in properties it shows zero bytes unsused and zero bytes free.
when i insert this dvd it gives me option as if its an empty and to write something.
even i tried some recovery software but in that it shows that no cd/dvd is inserted but its inserted.
please help me. i have very important things in it.. please help me what to do

Mohsin February 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I have data on a CD which I burned on my system. When I try to open the CD it displays that CD is full with red bar, it has a little space free in its properties while rest has data. But on opening CD it does not displays the data. Please help out me how I can copy the data? Its really important for me and there is no alternate of this data. I will be highly grateful to you if you can help me to copy the data from CD.


ritesh chaubey May 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm

i had burned some dvd before 1 years,at that time i was able to read that dvd on my laptop…but not on other computer…..rite now the prob lem is that my dwd rom is now not working. i tried that dvd to read on other computer but it was showing blank….there are some importent documents in it ….

is it possible to recover those data…plz help me

Rene August 8, 2011 at 5:16 am

I too have the same problem,

I received several DVD’s from a friend and they clearly show (to the naked eye) that they have been burned….but when I try to play them, they show as blank!


farhan November 7, 2011 at 3:18 am

i m using win 7 .. what should i do .. plz help …

Dao Anh Vu December 26, 2011 at 8:30 am

Hi, some DVD (not all) of mine shows up as CD Drive. I have service pack 3 installed. Someone can help me?

H.G. January 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I lost all the data I backed up!! It shows up blank!!

Burt March 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm

But don’t worry as you can easily fix the issue by installing the latest service pack provided by Microsoft, obtain the latest service pack for Microsoft Windows XP by clicking here.

First of all it is not windows xp and also what if the service pack does not solve this problem? What to do next? Is there a trick a professional software that can help? I have tried many software including ISOBUSTER, BAD CD/DVD READER, CD DVD RECOVERY, software but so far no help. Please suggest something that will help, I have very important photos in this cd and now no way to get them back.

Andrew June 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Hi, i didnt know how to corectly burn files to DVD so i just copied them to an empty DVD like a normal USB. I found out that that was incorrect, and when i put that DVD into another laptop the files don’t seem to be there. However the disk space is occupied but the files just don’t apear because i didn’t burn the files to the DVD the correct way. Just wonderin if there is any ways to recover the files i saved on my DVDs?

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