Windows Explorer Corrupted CD-R - How to Recover?


  • I keep backups of my data on CD-R,  by simply copying files or directories to a CD-R.

    I needed to go back a couple of years to pull off a backup - so the disc copy was probably created using Windows XP.

    Using Windows 7,  I stuck in the disc opened the directory in WIndows Explorer,  couldn't find the file I was after,  so ejected the disk and tried another,  then another.  There was no problems at this point,  the directories on the CD-R's were perfectly readable.

    When I re-inserted a disk to to check again for the file,  Roxio fired up asking me if I wanted to burn a file to the disk (a system config file).   The whole of the directory structure had gone and Windows would not read it.    Same for all the other disks  I'd cycled through.

    If I read the disks with ISOBuster,  the directory structure and files are still available on the disc's,  it's just that Roxio fires up ready to write a file and Windows Explorer can't read the directory structure  on the disc.  It's as though the disk is blank.

    A) What went wrong? 

    B) How do I fix it so Windows can read the directories (that are clearly still there!)

    I really don't want to have to use ISO buster to recover the files - 



    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 7:30 PM

All replies

  • As far as I know you have no choice but to use ISO buster.  Windows has no inherent capability to fix CD-Rs.  They are Write Once/Read Many.  You will have to rely on a 3rd party utility to extract your data.

    The only recommendation I can think of is to replace your optical drive.

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    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 8:18 PM
  • Hi Steve,


    Have you tried read those discs on another computer?


    If this issue only occurred on this computer, here are some solutions we could have a try.

    Fix problems with CD or DVD drives that can’t read or write media

    Try to uninstall the DVD/CD-ROM driver from the Device Manger, then restart computer and reinstall it again to have a test.


    If the issue persists, we may have to use ISO buster to recover the files.


    Best regards.


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    Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:54 AM
  • Looks like it's ISO buster then!

    I thought more about this issue and it's identical to a windows problem with floppy disks going back a loooong time.  Windows 3.x if you opened the directory on a floppy,  but swapped the floppy without closing the directory (Windows explorer) then windows would overwrite the directory block of the second disk with the directory block of the first one,  with the same result,  lost access to the data. 

    What I can't work out is the mechanism by which reading a CD-R could repeatedly corrupt the directory block - puzzle is I was doing a read not a write.

    Anyway,  looks like it's ISObuster time.



    Friday, March 18, 2016 2:12 PM