Data Recovery for all Optical Discs Such as DVDs CDs and Game Discs

Regardless of what is causing the problem, provided it is not something covered elsewhere on this site, what we first need to do is to get the data off the disc.

We cannot manipulate or change the data while it is still on the disc regardless of type so to begin with we are going to use a software program called Isobuster and the good news is that if you are lucky the free features may be enough to get you out of trouble.

This particular software is suitable for use on DVD discs whether they contain raw data or video, CDs, Game Discs and Blu-ray discs provided you have a Blu-ray reader in your computer.

Click on the link to download the free trial version and install the program.

Click Here to Download Isobuster

Insert the problem disc into your reader and let Isobuster run. If it can it will detect the damaged disc and at least show a file structure of what it can find.

Bear in mind that Isobuster is not a typical menu based program in its layout.

All the functions of the program are contained within the contextual menu which is shown when you “right click” any item on the screen.

Once Isobuster has detected the contents of the disc, if you “right click” on the main folder of the disc , Isobuster will show you what it can do and will have the most likely suggestion shown in bold.

Try to use Isobuster first to make a disc image file of the original.

Using that you can then burn that image to a new disc.

This is the quickest, “down and dirty” repair option but often is enough.

In reading the damaged files Isobuster will offer you three alternate methods of dealing with data corruption before it begins the extraction process:

  • It can replace the corrupted areas with nothing.
  • It can replace the corrupted areas with fake data.
  • It can replace the corrupted areas with a series of zeros.

Just select them in order to try each until one works. Isobuster will not create a disc image file unless it knows it will be successful.

If Isobuster has created the image file (note where it was going to put it first!) you will have to re-name the file extension to .iso.

Use the disc image (.iso) file to burn a new disc using or whatever your disc burning software is. At this point you will now have a new disc but you need to check it carefully.

There is always the possibility that Isobuster has just made a perfect copy of your faulty disc!

So now you have a brand new faulty disc!

If you have still had no luck with the disc repair so far by using the above method then you need to be aware of some expectations at this point regarding video discs specifically.

The reality is that at this point you can be certain that the extent of the damage is such that the internal file structure that holds all the video data together on a disc such as a DVD or VCD is most likely corrupted.

The effect of this will be the loss of things like the menus, special features etc., so do not expect miracles. What we can hopefully retrieve are the underlying video clips themselves.

  • With the disc loaded start Isobuster and allow it to detect it and its contents.
  • Go to “File” and select “Find Missing Files and Folders.

After that has run you will have an entry in the left hand column of “files and folders found by their signature.”

  • Select that, then go to “File,” “Files found via their signature” then, “Extract files found via their signature.” Choose where you want to save the files and let it run.

Now you will have the extracted files where you selected them to go. In the case of a video DVD the ones with the extension .VOB are the MPEG files from your disc wrapped in the VOB container.

They can be imported into a video editing program using the “Import DVD/VR” function or can be read by most DVD burning software.

Any data files should have been saved in their original format so should be easily recognizable.

Well hopefully somewhere along this long and tortured path you found how to effect a DVD disc repair or at least a partial DVD recovery.

If not you can go to the next page in this series where I outline a few other software solutions for data recovery from an optical disc.

View Comments (2)

  • I have Sony DVD player / recorder I have several DVDs if I power off by disconnecting from the outlet the DVD player I might get it to work as long as I leave the draw closed and the power switch to on I can keep playing that as many times as I want multiple days. As soon as I open the drawer or turn off the DVD the same disc will not play again disk error comes up or no disc. I am trying to find out what it would be either the laser itself box that's inside and should I order a new one of them or is it some other part.

    • Hi Frank so from your description it is clearly a problem with the player itself.

      Plugging in directly while the player's switch is already in the "on" position is probably shocking the system with a surge of power.
      For some reason this is kicking it into life!
      If taking it to a service center is not convenient and given the cost of DVD players has come way down, I would just get a new one.
      Either way I am pretty certain that over time your shock therapy strategy will stop working!

Related Post