Optical disc drive

From Wikipedia:

In computing, an optical disc drive (ODD) is a disc drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves within or near the visible light spectrum as part of the process of reading or writing data to or from optical discs. Some drives can only read from discs, but recent drives are commonly both readers and recorders, also called burners or writers. Compact discs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs are common types of optical media which can be read and recorded by such drives. Optical drive is the generic name; drives are usually described as "CD" "DVD", or "Blu-ray", followed by "drive", "writer", etc.


Warning: The quality of optical drives and the discs themselves varies greatly. Generally, using a slow burn speed is recommended for reliable burns. If you are experiencing unexpected behaviour from the disc, try burning at the lowest speed supported by your burner.

The burning process of optical disc drives consists of creating or obtaining an image and writing it to an optical medium. The image may in principle be any data file. If you want to mount the resulting medium, then it is usually an ISO 9660 file system image file. Audio and multi-media CDs are often burned from a .bin file, under control of a .toc file or a .cue file which tell the desired track layout.

Install burning utilities

If you want to use programs with graphical user interface, then follow #Burning CD/DVD/BD with a GUI.

The programs listed here are command line oriented. They are the back ends which are used by most free GUI programs for CD, DVD, and BD. GUI users might get to them when it comes to troubleshooting or to scripting of burn activities.

You need at least one program for creation of file system images and one program that is able to burn data onto your desired media type.

Available programs for ISO 9660 image creation are:

The traditional choice is mkisofs, because it is the older one.

Available programs for burning to media are:

  • cdrdao(1) from (CD only, TOC/CUE/BIN only)
  • from
  • from
  • from (DVD and BD only)
  • and from libisoburn

The traditional choices are cdrecord for CD and growisofs for DVD and Blu-ray Disc, because cdrecord was first to offer CD writing without description file and growisofs was first to offer writing to DVD and BD without artificial restrictions by the burn program. For writing TOC/CUE/BIN files to CD, install .

The free GUI programs for CD, DVD, and BD burning depend on at least one of the above packages.

xorrisofs supports the mkisofs options which are shown in this document.

cdrskin supports the shown cdrecord options; xorrecord also supports those which do not deal with audio CD.

Making an ISO image from existing files

The simplest way to create an ISO image is to first copy the needed files to one directory, for example: ./for_iso.

Then generate the image file with mkisofs:

$ mkisofs -V "ARCHIVE_2013_07_27" -J -r -o isoimage.iso ./for_iso

Each of those options are explained in the following sections.

Basic options

Specifies the name (that is assigned to) of the file system. The ISO 9660 standard specs impose the limitations of 32-character string length, as well as limiting the characters allowed to sets of: "A" to "Z", "0" to "9", and "_". This volume label will probably show up as mount point if the medium is mounted automatically.
Enables Joliet extension, which allocates special space to store file names in Unicode (up to 64 UTF-16 characters for each file).
Increases maximum length of file names from 64 to 103 UTF-16 characters in Joliet table. Non-compliant to Joliet specs and not commonly supported.
Enables Rock Ridge extension, which adds POSIX file system semantics to an image, including support of long 255-character filenames and Unix-style file permissions.
Sets the file path for the resulting ISO image.


It is also possible to let mkisofs to collect files and directories from various paths

$ mkisofs -V "BACKUP_2013_07_27" -J -r -o backup_2013_07_27.iso \
  -graft-points \
  /photos=/home/user/photos \
  /mail=/home/user/mail \
enables the recognition of pathspecs which consist of a target address in the ISO file system (e.g. ) and a source address (e.g. ). Both are separated by a "=" character.

So this example puts the directories , and , respectively in the ISO image as , /mail and .

Programs mkisofs and xorrisofs accept the same options. For secure backups, consider using xorrisofs with option --for_backup, which records eventual ACLs and stores an MD5 checksum for each data file.

See the and man pages for more info about their options.

Mounting an ISO image

You can mount an ISO image if you want to browse its files. To mount the ISO image, we can use:

# mount -t iso9660 -o ro,loop /path/to/file.iso /mount-point

Do not forget to unmount the image when your inspection of the image is done:

# umount /mount-point

See also Mounting images as user for mounting without root privileges.

Converting img/ccd to an ISO image

To convert an / image, you can use :

$ ccd2iso ~/image.img ~/image.iso

Learning the name of your optical drive

For the remainder of this section the name of your recording device is assumed to be .

Check this by

$ cdrecord dev=/dev/sr0 -checkdrive

which should report and fields of the drive.

If no drive is found, check whether any exist and whether they offer read/write permission (wr-) to you or your group. If no exists then try loading module manually.

Reading the volume label of a CD or DVD

If you want to get the name/label of the media, use dd:

$ dd if=/dev/sr0 bs=1 skip=32808 count=32

Creating an ISO image from a CD, DVD, or BD

In order to only copy actual data from the disc and not the empty blocks filling it up, first retrieve its block/sector count and size (2048 most of the time):

or alternatively:

$ isoinfo -d -i /dev/sr0 | awk '/block size|Volume size/'
Logical block size is: 2048
Volume size is: 2041796

Then use dd to copy the data using the obtained values:

$ dd if=/dev/sr0 of=discmage.iso bs=sector_size count=sector_count status=progress

If the original medium was bootable, then the copy will be a bootable image. You may use it as a pseudo CD for a virtual machine or burn it onto an optical medium which should then become bootable.

Erasing CD-RW and DVD-RW

Used CD-RW media need to be erased before you can write over the previously recorded data. This is done by

$ cdrecord -v dev=/dev/sr0 blank=fast

There are two options for blanking: and . Full blanking lasts as long as a full write run. It overwrites the payload data on the CD. Nevertheless this should not be considered as securely making those data unreadable. For that purpose, several full write runs with random data are advised.

Alternative commands are:

$ cdrskin -v dev=/dev/sr0 blank=fast
$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -blank as_needed

To erase the DVD-RW use the dvd+rw-format utility from :

$ dvd+rw-format -blank=fast /dev/sr0

Alternative commands are:

$ cdrecord -v dev=/dev/sr0 blank=fast
$ cdrskin -v dev=/dev/sr0 blank=deformat_sequential_quickest
$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -blank deformat_quickest

Such fastly blanked DVD-RW are not suitable for multi-session and cannot take input streams of unpredicted length. For that purpose one has to use one of:

$ cdrecord -v dev=/dev/sr0 blank=all
$ dvd+rw-format -blank=full /dev/sr0
$ cdrskin -v dev=/dev/sr0 blank=as_needed
$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -blank as_needed

The other media types are either write-once (CD-R, DVD-R, DVD+R, BD-R) or are overwritable without the need for erasing (DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, BD-RE).

Formatting DVD-RW

Formatted DVD-RW media can be overwritten without previous erasure. So consider to apply once in their life time

$ dvd+rw-format -force /dev/sr0
$ cdrskin -v dev=/dev/sr0 blank=format_if_needed
$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -format as_needed

Unlike DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, and BD-RE, formatted DVD-RW cannot be used as (slow) hard disk directly, but rather need the mediation of driver pktcdvd. See .

Formatting BD-RE and BD-R

BD-RE need formatting before first use. This is done automatically by the burn programs when they detect the unformatted state. Nevertheless the size of the payload area can be influenced by expert versions of the format commands shown above for DVD-RW.

BD-R can be used unformatted or formatted. Unformatted they are written with full nominal speed and offer maximum storage capacity. Formatted they get checkread during write operations and bad blocks get replaced by blocks from the Spare Area. This reduces write speed to a half or less of nominal speed. The default sized Spare Area reduces the storage capacity by 768 MiB.

growisofs formats BD-R by default. The others do not. growisofs can be kept from formatting. cdrskin and xorriso can write with full nominal speed on formatted BD-RE or BD-R:

 $ growisofs -use-the-force-luke=spare:none ...growisofs.or.mkisofs.options...
 $ cdrskin stream_recording=on ...cdrecord.options...
 $ xorriso -stream_recording on ...xorriso.commands...

Burning an ISO image to CD, DVD, or BD

To burn a readily prepared ISO image file onto an optical medium, run for CD:

$ cdrecord -v -sao dev=/dev/sr0 isoimage.iso

and for DVD or BD:

$ growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/sr0=isoimage.iso

and for CD, DVD or BD:

$ xorriso -as cdrecord -v -sao dev=/dev/sr0 isoimage.iso

Verifying the burnt ISO image

You can verify the integrity of the burnt medium to make sure it contains no errors. Always eject the medium and reinsert it before verifying. It will guarantee that any kernel cache will not be used to read the data.

First calculate the MD5 checksum of the original ISO image:

$ md5sum isoimage.iso
 e5643e18e05f5646046bb2e4236986d8 isoimage.iso

Next calculate the MD5 checksum of the ISO file system on the medium. Although some media types deliver exactly the same amount of data as have been submitted to the burn program, many others append trailing garbage when being read. So you should restrict reading to the size of the ISO image file.

$ blocks=$(expr $(du -b isoimage.iso | awk '{print $1}') / 2048)

Both runs should yield the same MD5 checksum (here: ). If they do not, you will probably also get an I/O error message from the run. dmesg might then tell about SCSI errors and block numbers, if you are interested.

ISO 9660 and burning on-the-fly

It is not necessary to store an emerging ISO file system on hard disk before writing it to optical media. Only very old CD drives in very old computers could suffer failed burns due to an empty drive buffer.

If you omit option from mkisofs then it writes the ISO image to standard output. This can be piped into the standard input of burn programs.

$ mkisofs -V "ARCHIVE_2013_07_27" -J -r ./for_iso | \
  cdrecord -v dev=/dev/sr0 -waiti -

Option is not really needed here. It prevents cdrecord from writing to the medium before mkisofs starts its output. This would allow mkisofs to read the medium without disturbing an already started burn run. See next section about multi-session.

On DVD and BD, you may let growisofs operate mkisofs for you and burn its output on-the-fly:

$ growisofs -Z /dev/sr0 -V "ARCHIVE_2013_07_27" -r -J ./for_iso


ISO 9660 multi-session means that a medium with readable file system is still writable at its first unused block address, and that a new ISO directory tree gets written to this unused part. The new tree is accompanied by the content blocks of newly added or overwritten data files. The blocks of data files, which shall stay as in the old ISO tree, will not be written again.

Linux and many other operating systems will mount the directory tree in the last session on the medium. This youngest tree will normally show the files of the older sessions, too.

Multi-session by cdrecord

CD-R and CD-RW stay writable (aka "appendable") if cdrecord option was used

$ cdrecord -v -multi dev=/dev/sr0 isoimage.iso

Then the medium can be inquired for the parameters of the next session

$ m=$(cdrecord dev=/dev/sr0 -msinfo)

By help of these parameters and of the readable medium in the drive you can produce the add-on ISO session

$ mkisofs -M /dev/sr0 -C "$m" \
   -V "ARCHIVE_2013_07_28" -J -r -o session2.iso ./more_for_iso

Finally append the session to the medium and keep it appendable again

$ cdrecord -v -multi dev=/dev/sr0 session2.iso

Programs cdrskin and xorrecord do this too with DVD-R, DVD+R, BD-R and unformatted DVD-RW. Program cdrecord does multi-session with at least DVD-R and DVD-RW. They all do with CD-R and CD-RW, of course.

Most re-usable media types do not record a session history that would be recognizable for a mounting kernel. But with ISO 9660 it is possible to achieve the multi-session effect even on those media.

growisofs and xorriso can do this and hide most of the complexity.

Multi-session by growisofs

By default, growisofs uses mkisofs as a backend for creating ISO images forwards most of its program arguments to . See above examples of mkisofs. It bans option and deprecates option . By default it uses the mkisofs. You may specify to use one of the others compatible backend program by setting environment variable MKISOFS:

$ export MKISOFS="xorrisofs"

The wish to begin with a new ISO file system on the optical medium is expressed by option

$ growisofs -Z /dev/sr0 -V "ARCHIVE_2013_07_27" -r -J ./for_iso

The wish to append more files as new session to an existing ISO file system is expressed by option

$ growisofs -M /dev/sr0 -V "ARCHIVE_2013_07_28" -r -J ./more_for_iso

For details see the manual and the manuals of mkisofs and xorrisofs.

Multi-session by xorriso

xorriso learns the wish to begin with a new ISO file system from the blank state of the medium. So it is appropriate to blank it if it contains data. The command applies to all kinds of re-usable media and even to ISO images in data files on hard disk. It does not cause error if applied to a blank write-once medium.

$ xorriso -outdev /dev/sr0 -blank as_needed \
          -volid "ARCHIVE_2013_07_27" -joliet on -add ./for_iso --

On non-blank writable media xorriso appends the newly given disc files if command -dev is used rather than . Of course, no command should be given here

$ xorriso -dev /dev/sr0 \
          -volid "ARCHIVE_2013_07_28" -joliet on -add ./more_for_iso --

For details see the man page and especially its examples.

BD Defect Management

BD-RE and formatted BD-R media are normally written with enabled Defect Management. This feature reads the written blocks while they are still stored in the drive buffer. In case of poor read quality the blocks get written again or redirected to the Spare Area where the data get stored in replacement blocks.

This checkreading reduces write speed to at most half of the nominal speed of drive and BD medium. Sometimes it is even worse. Heavy use of the Spare Area causes long delays during read operations. So Defect Management is not always desirable.

cdrecord does not format BD-R. It has no means to prevent Defect Management on BD-RE media, though.

growisofs formats BD-R by default. The Defect Management can be prevented by option . It has no means to prevent Defect Management on BD-RE media, though.

cdrskin, xorriso and xorrecord do not format BD-R by default. They do with , resp. , resp. xorrecord blank=format_overwrite. These three programs can disable Defect Management with BD-RE and already formatted BD-R by , resp. , resp. xorrecord stream_recording=on.

Burning an audio CD

Create your audio tracks and store them as uncompressed, 16-bit, 44100-Hz, stereo WAV files. To convert MP3 to WAV, ensure is installed, cd to the directory with your MP3 files, and run:

$ for i in *.mp3; do lame --decode "$i" "$(basename "$i" .mp3)".wav; done

In case you get an error when trying to burn WAV files converted with LAME, try decoding with :

$ for i in *.mp3; do mpg123 --rate 44100 --stereo --buffer 3072 --resync -w $(basename "$i" .mp3).wav $i; done

To convert AAC to WAV ensure is installed and run:

$ for i in *.m4a; do faad $i; done

To fix the bitrate of an already existing WAV file (or many other formats), try using :

$ for i in *.wav; do sox "$i" -c 2 -r 44100 "$(basename "$i" .wav)"-ok.wav; done

Name the audio files in a manner that will cause them to be listed in the desired track order when listed alphabetically, such as , , 03.wav, etc. Use the following command to simulate burning the WAV files as an audio CD:

$ cdrecord -dummy -v -pad speed=1 dev=/dev/sr0 -dao -swab *.wav

If everything worked, you can remove the flag to actually burn the CD.

To test the new audio CD, use MPlayer:

$ mplayer cdda://

Burning a BIN/CUE

To burn a BIN/CUE image run:

$ cdrdao write --device /dev/sr0 image.cue

TOC/CUE/BIN for mixed-mode discs

ISO images only store a single data track. If you want to create an image of a mixed-mode disc (data track with multiple audio tracks) then you need to make a TOC/BIN pair:

$ cdrdao read-cd --read-raw --datafile image.bin --driver generic-mmc:0x20000 --device /dev/cdrom image.toc

Some software only likes CUE/BIN pair, you can make a CUE sheet with toc2cue (part of ):

$ toc2cue image.toc image.cue

Burn backend problems

If you are experiencing problems, you may ask for advise at mailing list cdwrite@other.debian.org, or try to write to the one of support mail addresses if some are listed near the end of the program's man page.

Tell the command lines you tried, the medium type (e.g. CD-R, DVD+RW, ...), and the symptoms of failure (program messages, disappointed user expectation, ...). You will possibly get asked to obtain the newest release or development version of the affected program and to make test runs. But the answer might as well be, that your drive dislikes the particular medium.

Burning CD/DVD/BD with a GUI

There are several applications available to burn CDs in a graphical environment.

See also Wikipedia:Comparison of disc authoring software.

  • AcetoneISO All-in-one ISO tool (supports BIN, MDF, NRG, IMG, DAA, DMG, CDI, B5I, BWI, PDI and ISO).
https://sourceforge.net/projects/acetoneiso || acetoneiso2AUR
  • K3b Feature-rich and easy to handle CD burning and ripping application based on KDElibs.
https://userbase.kde.org/K3b || k3b



Playback of audio CDs requires the libcdio package. To enable KDE Applications like Dolphin to read audio CDs install .


If you wish to play encrypted DVDs, you must install the libdvd* packages:

Additionally, you must install player software. Popular DVD players are MPlayer, xine and VLC. See the video players list and the specific instructions for MPlayer.


See Blu-ray#Playback.


Ripping is the process of copying audio or video content to a hard disk, typically from removable media or media streams.


  • ripright Minimal CD ripper modeled on autorip.
https://www.mcternan.me.uk/ripright/ || riprightAUR


  • Asunder GTK-based CD ripping program.
http://littlesvr.ca/asunder/ || asunder
  • .
  • ripperX GTK program to rip CD audio tracks and encode them to the Ogg, MP3, or FLAC formats.
https://sourceforge.net/projects/ripperx/ || ripperxAUR


See also Wikipedia:Comparison of DVD ripper software.

Often, the process of ripping a DVD can be broken down into two subtasks:

  1. Data extraction — Copying the audio and/or video data to a hard disk,
  2. Transcoding — Converting the extracted data into a suitable format.

Some utilities perform both tasks, whilst others focus on one aspect or the other.


  • FFmpeg Complete and free Internet live audio and video broadcasting solution for Linux/Unix, capable to do a direct rip in any format (audio/video) from a DVD-Video ISO image, just select the input as the ISO image and proceed with the desired options. It also allows to downmixing, shrinking, spliting, selecting streams among other features.
https://ffmpeg.org/ || ffmpeg


  • dvd::rip Front-end to transcode, used to extract DVD's to the hard disk and transcode or extract and transcode on-the-fly.
https://www.exit1.org/dvdrip/ || dvdripAUR




      Brasero fails to normalize audio CD

      If you try to burn it may stop at the first step called Normalization.

      As a workaround you can disable the normalization plugin using the Edit > Plugins menu

      VLC: Error "... could not open the disc /dev/dvd"

      If you get an error like

      vlc dvdread could not open the disc "/dev/dvd"

      it may be because there is no device node on your system. Udev no longer creates and instead uses . To fix this, edit the VLC configuration file (~/.config/vlc/vlcrc):

      # DVD device (string)

      DVD drive is noisy

      If playing DVD videos causes the system to be very loud, it may be because the disc is spinning faster than it needs to. To temporarily change the speed of the drive, run:

      # eject -x 12 /dev/dvd


      # hdparm -E12 /dev/dvd

      Any speed that is supported by the drive can be used, or 0 for the maximum speed.

      Setting CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drive speed

      Playback does not work with new computer (new DVD-Drive)

      If playback does not work and you have a new computer (new DVD-Drive) the reason might be that the region code is not set. You can read and set the region code with the package.

      None of the above programs are able to rip/encode a DVD to my hard disk!

      Make sure the region of your DVD reader is set correctly; otherwise, you will get loads of inexplicable CSS-related errors. Use the package to do so.

      If ripping still does not work with the correct region set, refer to the libdvdcss developer documentation for enabling log messages and setting other relevant options.

      GUI program log indicates problems with backend program

      If you use a GUI program and experience problems which the program's log blames on some backend program, then try to reproduce the problem by the logged backend program arguments. Whether you succeed with reproducing or not, you may report the logged lines and your own findings to the places mentioned in #Burn backend problems section.

      Special case: medium error / write error

      Here are some typical messages about the drive disliking the medium. This can only be solved by using a different drive or a different medium. A different program will hardly help.

      Brasero with backend growisofs:

      BraseroGrowisofs stderr: :-[ WRITE@LBA=0h failed with SK=3h/ASC=0Ch/ACQ=00h]: Input/output error

      Brasero with backend libburn:

      BraseroLibburn Libburn reported an error SCSI error on write(16976,16): [3 0C 00] Write error

      BD-R DL 50GB errors on trying to burn second layer

      Using growisofs from for burning 50GB BD-R DL discs might result in a fatal error and damaged media, such as:

      This happened at the 25GB boundary when starting to write the second layer. Using cdrecord from works with no problems. Tested with a 'HL-DT-ST BD-RE WH16NS40' LG burner, and Verbatim BD-R DL 6x discs (#96911). FS#47797

      Disc tray autocloses

      If after ejecting a cd, either by using the command, or pushing the drive button, the drive disc tray autocloses before being able to remove the disc, try the following command:

      # sysctl -w dev.cdrom.autoclose=0

      If that solves the problem, make the change permanent:

      If the above does not work and as a last resort measure, you can unload the disc module from the kernel via:

      # rmmod sr_mod

      the disc drive should now behave as expected but will not mount disc anymore. After putting a disc into the drive, reactivate the module via:

      # modprobe sr_mod

      the disc should now mount.

      See also

      This article is issued from Archlinux. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.