How to Read Microsoft "Confidential" Burnlab Discs

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ReflectiaX
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How to Read Microsoft "Confidential" Burnlab Discs

Post by ReflectiaX »

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If you've ever tried to read one of those types of Microsoft Confidential burnlab discs to no avail, instead of the data being corrupt, chances are, the disc has a gold alloy layer (instead of silver) and you're trying to read it from a DVD or Blu-ray drive.

The problem has to do with the reflectivity of the gold metal layer of the disc. Long story short, most DVD drives and likely all Blu-ray drives simply cannot read the information on gold alloy discs due to the disc surface not being reflective enough to have its information read. DVD drives tend to yield the most deceptive results, because they can sometimes read some of the information, thus making it appear as though the drive works fine but the disc has corrupted data in spots.

Solution? Pick up an old CD-R/CD-RW drive! The model I use is the HLDS GCE-8400B. There are usually plenty of them on eBay which you can nab for between $10-$20 (including shipping).

I realize this is a fairly niche "problem," but figured I would share in the event that it helps someone! :cool:
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JustZisGuy
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Re: How to Read Microsoft "Confidential" Burnlab Discs

Post by JustZisGuy »

That is some good information. I had some similar gold colored CD-Rs I had written around 1996, and then around 2006 or so it seemed like suddenly most newly produced commonly available CD/DVD drives would not read them. Of course, just copied them to some fresh new disks using an older drive and everything was fine.

For some reason I had always blamed the Windows 3.1 burning software rather than the disks themselves. (Personal ROM Maker, I believe). Out of curiosity, can you tell what software they used to master and write these CDs?

louisw3
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Re: How to Read Microsoft "Confidential" Burnlab Discs

Post by louisw3 »

I have a bad feeling that many of these gold discs have been thrown out as being no longer readable, when it turns out that you need a legacy drive

I faced this issue a year ago, it was just foolish sentiment I held onto a gold disc (it was my own stuff) and sure enough nothing could read it, but the audio track worked fine in an old player..

These old gold discs were super expensive back in the single speed and dedicated burn machine days. Maybe they really did last but I fear many were dumped as being bad media.
"Those who don't understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it, poorly." – Henry Spencer

Krytus
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Re: How to Read Microsoft "Confidential" Burnlab Discs

Post by Krytus »

Now this is something interesting I can rant about. I always find joy in the easter-eggs of eBay and various other places that we all know as NFR (not for resale) media. Anything NFR is extremely rare but seldom has value. Most of what can be found is old and probably useless though.

I've seen a few programs and even devices that are NFR, but I've almost never seen anything so special from Microsoft save for the occasional MSDN/Technet exclusive discs. Let me ask everyone something, how many legit NFR or "confidential" Microsoft discs do we collectively actually know about? I ask because this is the first time I've heard of or in any way seen a real confidential MS disc... Also, thanks ReflectiaX, for providing a picture of one of the few MS confidential discs we know about.

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