Standards are standards except when standards are not standards

I am currently in the process of dumping large amounts of data from a hard drive onto DVD+R discs, and I bought a 25 pack of DVD+R discs, labeled “eProformance”. All is not well in the land of writable optical media.

To my utter amazement, I kept getting “Illegal disc” errors when trying to burn the discs. Thinking that perhaps one, or two of the discs were faulty, I picked some from the middle of the stack of the discs, and some from the end.
All of them gave me the same non-helpful “Illegal disc” error.
Next step, I was thinking this might have been caused by buggy firmware for the drive, I located a newer version of the firmware from the producers web site (the drive was a Ricoh DVD+RW8165 drive), and flashed the hardware without any problems.
Somewhat puzzled, since I didn’t get any sensible results when searching the web for this error, I contacted Ricoh support, to ask if there was any remedy for this. I got the following – slightly unhelpful – response:
bq.. Dear sir,
We recommend to use following media´s:
CD-R (74min./80min.): RICOH, Mitsubishi, Verbatim, TDK, Maxell, Taiyo Yuden, Mitsui
CD-RW (74min./80min.): RICOH, Mitsubishi,
DVD+R: Ricoh,Ritek,MMCC, Verbatim,Philips,Sony
DVD+RW:Ricoh,Ritek,MMCC, Verbatim,Philips,Sony
In case of further problem, please contact your PC manufacturer.
p. Seriously? The media I bought conforms to the DVD+R standard, and I fully expect it to work with a DVD writer that conforms to the DVD+R standard. _I don’t expect a DVD writer to reject media that conforms to the same standard as the DVD writer._
People and organizations invest a great deal of time, money, ingenuity and intellectual capacity to create these standards, precisely to avoid problems like the ones I’ve encountered.
If you don’t wish to conform to a standard, please don’t claim to conform to it. Please remove that fancy “DVR+R” or “DVD+RW” logo off your product if it really isn’t and doesn’t do DVD+R(W).
Note: I don’t know who’s to blame here, eProformance or Ricoh – the only thing I _do_ know, is that the manufacturer of my PC is _not_ to blame, unless they, of course mangled the DVD writer in some way.

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  1. Wow – that’s quite surprising… Worthwhile you trying your eProformance at someone else’s DVD bruners just to see if it’s a problem with them you the burner. Also worth chasing the customer service dept of the disc manufacturer / getting a refund frmo where you bought them as the discs are “defective” on your machine?

  2. Tollef Fog Heen

     /  2004-11-18

    FWIW, Proformance discs work perfectly with my NEC-3500 DVD writer. (I’ve burnt and verified about 20 of them so far.) So it might be your burner.
    Yes, and hi Arve. 🙂

  3. A “friend of mine”: – who has spent some time investigating the inner workings of DVD Writers suggested that certain writers may have lists of media brands they “approve” of embedded in their firmware, and only accept these “approved” media.
    If that is the case, I’m fetching popcorn and beer, awaiting the first class-action lawsuit against manufacturers.

  4. Oh, and hi, Tollef. Long time, no see!

  5. Angelos

     /  2004-12-06

    I have EXACTLY the same issue with the RW8165, but surprise-surprise, it’s with SONY DVD+R media which are meant to be compatible!! I have the feeling the drive is faulty, as it makes strange noise as soon as it gets to about 35% and then it says: Illegal disc
    Anyone else has the same problem??

  6. Marco

     /  2004-12-08

    Same kind of problem for me with TDK DVD+R 8x (Fujitsu-Siemens AMILO D1840 feat. Ricoh RW8165). With other dvd writers (at least a couple of friends of mine) a firmware update was enough to solve the problem, but with RW8165 the last firmware still doesn’t work. (1.03 taken from

  7. Richard

     /  2004-12-09

    I am also experiencing similar problems with my RW8165 in an AMilo M. I have tried Datasafe, Ritek, Philips and Verbatim without success. Ricoh’s only input was a rather unhelpfull list of recommended media, which covers all the ones I tried. Something unusual I have found is that it will burn an RW disc ok every time, but it does burn them at 2.4x, don’t know whether that is significant.

  8. Richard

     /  2004-12-09

    Update. Bought some TDK DVD+R’s and they work fine. Quite annoying really cos all the emails I get from Ricoh bleat on about using recommended discs and after trying most of them on that list I finally get one that is not on the list to work. The other disc I have had success with in the past was Maxell, also not on the list. Go figure.

  9. Jose Luis

     /  2004-12-12

    I have an unusual problem. With the eproformance 4x it works fine. But with an 8x, says illegible disk. Yes I obtain the same answer from ricoh. With philips 8x, it says can’t read several blocks.

  10. Per

     /  2004-12-13

    Got this problem with my Fujitsu-Siemens AMILO D1840 feat. Ricoh RW8165 aswell tryed with RiData witout any luck..

  11. Just to add some more info:
    # I’ve now tried one of their recommended medias, Verbatim, and I have a failure rate of around 33%, something I don’t find too encouraging.
    # I emailed Ricoh’s customer service department, asking whether their DVD burner rejects media based on the disc brand. Not surprisingly, they have declined to answer.

  12. DM

     /  2004-12-30

    I have an LG4016 supermulti, got it as soon as it was released. first batch of TDK DVD+R 4.7GB 8x, worked flawlessly. The firmware was 301. I noticed that the burn speed was 12x, even though the DVD+R media was 8x. I tried a cheaper brand of DVD media (QP DVD+R 4.7GB 4x)from, I had a 50% fail rate. The burn speed was 4x, (I tried slower, but still same fail rate). I sent the new LG 4016 back to LG service. They gave it back after 2 weeks and said no problem. I went to LG website and applied firmware 302. No change in fail rate. I recently purchased the more expensive TDK DVD+R 4.7GB 8x again, they look the same, but now only burn at 8x and have a fail rate of 50%.
    I have contacted a person that purchased the same DVD burner and media on the same day as me. His first batch of TDK DVD+R 4.7GB 8x working 100%, he tried QP media and is having identical problem. He tried his original batch TDK DVD+R 4.7GB 8x, works 100%. He then tried new batch of TDK DVD+R 4.7GB 8x, now has a 50% fail rate. He did not change firmware from 301 to 302 yet. He just purchase Imation DVD+R 8x and working 100%.
    I have now tried the TDK DVD+R 4.7GB 8x, on the older Iomega Dual DVD (format not layer) it is a 2.4x, but new firmware 121 makes it pretend to be 4x burning. (The stopwatch burn-time is slower than 2.4x). the TDK DVD+R 4.7GB 8x is 100%.
    _So is it the burner or the media?_
    (Ed. note: Typographical edits performed)

  13. karol

     /  2005-01-07

    I own FSC M7400 and RW8165 1.03. The only media working (among DVD+Rs) with default settings is Verbatim x4. But I few put others to work by turning JustSpeed off and setting DVD+R book type. It disables automatic media/laser calibration by burner. All my DVD+Rs are very poor according to KProbe.
    This is my third (yes 3rd) RW8165 – I’m able to proove its inoperability to FSC service and they changed my burner TWICE and said they would do it till the end of warranty period. The third one is as bad as the first one.
    The issue is that with FW 1.01 it was CLV x2.4 DVD+R, and worked ‘fine’, but with FW 1.03 they enabled it to speed up to x4 at about 33% of disk size and continue with this speed till the end. Now it is x4 Z-CLV (x3.2 medium), but laser remains the same and is incapable of burning at x4 most of the disks available. This “changing speed point” is a cause for errors itself.
    Well, I asked Ricoh for a FW 1.01, which is neither available to download from their site nor to backup from your burner and got response that they see no use in downgrading a FW.
    Now I’m waiting for FW 1.04 to be released and hoping it will fix the issue or enable x2.4 speed again.
    IMHO: If RW8165 was a car’s wheel or something, the car maker would be sued for a lot of money.

  14. Smo0ke

     /  2005-01-08

    I am having the same problem with an Amilo D7850 inc the Ricoh RW8165 with Philips DVD-R x8 anyone know some compatible disc’s? I have some Imation DVD-RW’s which work fine..

  15. Dan

     /  2005-01-10

    I have similar problems with RW8165 on an AMILO L notebook. I had written 5 eProformance DVD+R 4x discs, but now I have problems with eProformance DVD+R 1-8X and Traxdata 4x. At first they stopped at about 1.4G data written, but now after the firmware update for writer and usign nero, it not starts at all the writing and just give an error at the beginning. On the desktop writer, ASUS, I have no problems writing the DVDs.

  16. Pier

     /  2005-10-03

    Some issues with Amildo D7850 and DVD RW8165, with all DVD @8x and firmware 1.03.
    With firmware 1.01 I was capable to burn DVD @4x. Now neither 4x nor 8x.
    I am wondering to buy an external DVD recorder. Of course I don’t want to deal with Ricoh…
    If anyone has solved the problem pls let us know in order to avoid wasting money

  17. When 1-8x DVD+R where available at stores I updated my Ricoh RW8165 firmware (from built in 1.01 to downloaded 1.03) and didn’t have any problem with Philips brand.
    Now 16x are out. No warning in the package to update the firmware, no warning on Ricoh website, no new firmware upgrade available. I give a try to a Verbatim spindle, but discs are considered wrong by Nero and DiscJuggler. Nice. Supposedly, Verbatim is one of the recommended disc brands.

  18. craig marshall

     /  2005-10-21

    hi am having problems burning dvds-i have a stand alone burner and all woz working fine but suddenly im getting read data error(sorry its a fujitsu siemens amilo m7400) im trying to find out if there are any firmware updates i mite need as ive not changed anything within my system and any help will be greatly received many thanx craig marshall

  19. Rodrigo Gonzalez

     /  2005-11-11

    I hope this can help.
    I also got a lot of compatibility media problems with my Ricoh RW8165 combo drive (laptop). I thrown many dvd’s to the wastebasket till I found this page (is a german one, select “brenner” and then look for your drive, it should’n be a problem):
    you can update the site as well. For the discs, the manufacturer ID can be found with the Nero CD-DVD Speed Tool, for example.

  20. Jon

     /  2005-12-06

    It would appear as though Ricoh simply cant be bothered releasing another firmware upgrade for this hideous drive, which doesnt even READ (yes . . READ. . ) most -r format dvds i put in the drive, and around 50% of retail dvds.
    This is a shocking drive which i hate with great passion.
    Someone reease a hacked firmware for this peice of garbage please !!!

  21. Patrix

     /  2006-01-07

    Hi, I have same problem with RW8165 on Amilo L6185 laptop. I´m fed up with it but there´s nothing to do. The only one kind of medias that work fine and are burned successfully are memorex 8x dvd+r. I tried verbatim, sony, phillips, intenso, memorex 16x.If there was not an error “Illegal disc” than burn process failed at 33%. When you can get it, try the memorex 8x dvds and if they are ok, buy hundreds of them like me for worse times.They won´t be here forever 🙂
    see you

  22. OK..
    No news except this firmware sucks (3.01)
    It doesn’t read at all most of the CD’s available.
    I only was able to record DVD with HIUNDAY DVD+R (not all) and Maxell (or Maxwel?) brands.
    Any way, the recording speed was 2.4
    And although I have another DVD+-RW that writes on other brands and my DVD Player (a simple one) can read them, with this &#$)/&%#! drive only the Maxwel DVDs work…
    Gonna try that page you mentioned (.de) to see.
    Thanks for the tip, Rodrigo!