DVD burners "failed to calibrate the laser power level" error

Various users have experienced problems occur when trying to burn DVDs and CDs. Upon inserting a blank disk, the system will try to access the disk and then give a warning regarding laser power levels.

Various users have experienced problems occur when trying to burn DVDs and CDs. Upon inserting a blank disk, the system will try to access the disk and then give a warning regarding laser power levels.

Apple Discussions poster JoeyDee writes:

"I [previously] was unable to burn anything [when] I was using toast, now that I deleted toast (thinking that was the cause of it everything) I ran disk utility and got this error: The disk can't be burned, because the device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media"

There are many reasons why an optical drive cannot read or write a disk, and unfortunately many of Apple's error messages are so vague that it is hard to determine the exact problem. Still, users should be able to troubleshoot a few possibilities, including adjusting some system language settings that have helped users who were getting this specific error.

Fixes

Try new media Many times users resort to cheap DVD and CD media which in many cases can just be incompatible with a specific drive. It is recommended to try another brand to see if the problem goes away.

Clean the drive Some users have found this problem to crop up if the drive has collected dirt and grit on the lens and other optic mechanisms of the drive, and have been able to restore functionality by cleaning the drive. There are drive cleaning kits, as well as compressed air canisters that can be used to gently remove dust and other foreign particles from the drive.

Change language settings to English For some reason, the system's language settings seem to be associated with this problem. Users have been able to fix the issue by changing the system's language settings to English. The steps users have taken to do this are the following:

  • Open the "International" system preferences.
  • In the "Languages" tab, drag "English" to the top of the list.
  • In the "Order for sorted lists" drop-down menu, select "English".
  • In the "Word Break" drop-down menu, select "English (United States, Computer).
  • Close the system preferences and restart the computer.

NOTE: If the drive promptly ejects newly inserted media, including application installer disks, movies, and audio CDs, then it is possible the drive is failing and may need to be replaced. If this or the errors occur, even after trying the suggestions here, it is recommended to take the computer in for servicing at an Apple-authorized repair center.

Resources
  • JoeyDee
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