LightScribe - How to Make It Work.

With LightScribe You Can Do This...

With LightScribe Labeling you can create great DVD and CD labels
With LightScribe Labeling you can create great DVD and CD labels

How LightScribe All Began

LightScribe was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2004.

It was the brainchild of Daryl Anderson, a Hewlett Packard engineer in Corvallis, Oregon, and brought to market through the joint design efforts of HP's imaging and optical storage divisions.

Anderson also notes that the direct-burn method avoids label clutter.

"There are no consumables like ink or ink jet cartridges; the only consumable is the disc itself, Anderson says. "The discs have a thin, laser-sensitive layer on the label side of the disc."

So, will this out-of-the-box solution to disc labeling mark the end to the sticky labels forever?

Well, its three years since that initial launch and while LightScribe has been adopted by a forward thinking few, it is still to be recognized by the majority as the best way to label your discs.

The reasons for this I believe are fourfold and they are:

1: LightScribe images are only mono, not colored.

2: LightScribe media is many times more expensive than standard blank DVDs and CDs.

3: Getting the LightScribe software to work has proven for many, myself included, a great problem. Understandably, people want technology that is easy to use and we have become accustomed to things being ‘plug and play’.

LightScribe unfortunately does not fit this category. This I am sure has put off all but the most determined.

Please Note:

Five years ago when I first started using LightScribe, there was little or no information available outside HP’s official LightScribe site; Consequently the process was frustratingly difficult to understand and use.

This lack of information prompted me to put together an out-of-the-box software solution called The LightScribe Kit.

This undergone 9 upgrades finalizing on January 2015 in The LightScribe Toolbox 2015 the Best LightScribe Software

4: LightScribe Labeling technology, although standard in HP and Compaq systems, is not promoted by computer retailers such as PC World, Comet, etc.

Until this situation changes the majority of computer users will remain unfamiliar with the great benefits of LightScribe and how to use LightScribe.

You, however, because you are reading this, are one of those forward thinking few and for this I congratulate you.

I have spent the last 9 years trying to promote the benefits of the LightScribe labeling technology. I believe it to be vastly superior to the alternative, namely sticky labels. I also feel that it is just a matter of time before the present drawbacks will be overcome, then LightScribe will then assume its rightful place as the world’s leading labeling technology.

The LightScribe Toolbox 2015

ARE YOU READY FOR LIGHTSCRIBE?

So you are ready to trash your nasty sticky labels and want a piece of the LightScribe action, are you?

STOP RIGHT THERE!

Just before you throw your labels to the shredder, will your computer be up to the task of running LightScribe?

“But”, I hear you say, “my PC has a DVD writer and it’s not that old, so surely it will be up to the job, won’t it?”

Not so fast, I’m afraid. If you remember from the introduction, LightScribe was invented in 2004, and I know that’s three years ago now but HP being a forward looking company did not concern themselves with operating systems that far pre-dated that time.

Having said that, in the last 8 years I have had very few people who want to use LightScribe who were running Windows 98, for instance.

With no further ado, what exactly do you need to have to be able to consider using LightScribe?

Although Mr Gates and friends would like us all to be using a PC and running Vista there are alternatives and we shall look at the three main platforms/operating systems in turn.

1: A Windows based PC.

Windows 8, 7, Vista or XP (32-bit & 64-bit)

2: A Mac.

Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

3: A Linux based PC.

x86 (requires kernel 2.6 and RPM, validated on SuSE 9.x, 10.0)

There you have it; as long as you have a machine with a reasonably recent OS for the type of system you are using then you have successfully passed Step One.

Now we can move on to putting together the remaining parts of your LightScribe System.

This will be covered in the next four steps.

LightScribe Hardware - Get the Right Kit!

One of the questions I have been repeatedly asked is:

“Can I use my existing DVD Drive to print LightScribe labels?”

I’m sorry to say, no you can’t.

There are basically four components to a LightScribe installation and they are:

1: A LightScribe Enabled Drive.

2: LightScribe System Software.

3: LightScribe Labeling Software.

4: LightScribe Media.

The first requirement is a DVD drive that has been specifically designed to use LightScribe Labeling Technology.

Nearly all DVD drive manufacturers now produce at least one LightScribe Enabled drive; these include:

Asus, Benq, Candy, Freecom, Gericom, HP, I/OMagic, Lacie, LG, LiteOn, Maddog, Philips, Samsung.

By way of an example, my first LightScribe drive was a LITEON.

Adding a LightScribe Drive to an existing system.

External/Internal CD/DVD Drives.

If you've already got a computer, you can add LightScribe capabilities in two ways:

1: Get an external LightScribe-enabled DVD drive that connects to your computer.

These can connect via USB or Firewire; both are supported.

2: Get an internal drive that will replace your current CD/DVD drive.

This is by far the most popular method, and the cheapest.

A relevant question I have been asked, in fact the question I have been asked most of all, is:

“How can I tell if my drive is a LightScribe Enabled Drive?”

1: Desktop PC.

Printed on the front of the drive (on the drive tray) will be the LightScribe Logo.

2: Laptop PC.

Slimline drives do not have enough space for a LightScribe logo on the drive tray, but a LightScribe logo sticker should be affixed to all LightScribe-enabled notebooks.

To make sure, the presence of the disc encoder sensor can verify that a drive is LightScribe-enabled.

Looking straight down on the spindle after the drive tray is opened, look for the presence of a LightScribe disc encoder sensor as an indicator of LightScribe capability.

Up to this point the problems are few, however that cannot be said of what follows. Hang on to your hat; it’s time to tackle the software.

LightScribe Software - Now the Fun Begins!

So why the dire warning?

Is the software required to make LightScribe work so really difficult install and use?

The answer lies in the fact that no operating system, even the ones that allow LightScribe to work, have built within them drivers that recognize you have a LightScribe enabled drive installed on your computer.

Herein lies the problem. Unlike upgrading one DVD writer with another comparable drive, upgrading to LightScribe is a different matter entirely.

We have covered the easy bit, namely choosing and installing a new physical drive. What we will now be covering in the next two steps will be choosing, installing and configuring the various parts that make up the necessary LightScribe software installation.

LightScribe System Software

This is the software that allows your computer to 'talk' to your LightScribe drive.

LightScribe Labeling Software.

We shall now cover the relatively easy selection of labeling software. I say relatively easily, because not all proprietary LightScribe labeling software works out of the box as the manufacturers would have us believe.

As in the case of hardware, there are a number of manufacturers who produce software to enable LightScribe labels to be printed. These include:

Acoustica, Cyberlink, Droppix, Intervideo, Lacie, Nero, NTI

Roxio, Smile, Sonic, SureThing, Targetcast

Please Note:

Some names you will recognize and some you may not. HP also produces two simple labeling programs which we will come back to a little later.

It is the very fact that this can be so difficult that led me to produce The LightScribe Toolbox

When I started, I was sent Nero 6.6 with my drive. Armed with this software, I had no reason to doubt that I would have my LightScribe drive working within minutes of installation.

The reality couldn't have been further from the truth.

I spent the next 72 hours searching the web for a solution, after installing and uninstalling various updates. I came to the conclusion that Nero 6.6, on its own at least, was not up to the job.

I eventually discovered the need to have installed prior to the labeling software, what is called LightScribe System Software, or what we may call LightScribe system drivers.

I subsequently found, as many others have, that Nero is notoriously difficult to configure for LightScribe label printing. I found in the end that I needed a different labeling solution.

Please do not misunderstand me; I happily use Nero to burn all my data and music.

However, even after upgrading to Nero 7 Premium I have still not been able to get Nero cover designer, which is the labeling part of the program, to recognize my LightScribe Drive as a LightScribe Drive!

My personal solution, the aforementioned LightScribe Toolbox that I put together, and use myself, includes all the necessary system software and allows someone to install and be printing labels in less than 10 minutes.

The ease of use has been remarked upon by many who have purchased it.

With that said and done, let us look in Step Four at all the components necessary for a successful LightScribe installation.

Installation - Putting the Pieces Together.

As said previously, there are four basic components to a successful LightScribe installation

1: A LightScribe Enabled Drive.

2: LightScribe System Software.

3: LightScribe Labeling Software.

4: LightScribe Media.

We are now going to look at order in which these parts should be installed/used.

Although it might seen obvious because some hardware needs its associated software installed first, nothing here is assumed or taken for granted.

1: However, the first thing to do is in fact to install your new LightScribe Drive.

2: The second thing, and this is most important, is the installation of the system software.

This is required to enable the LightScribe Drive to be recognized not only as a DVD/CD writer, but also as a labeling device by the LightScribe software you choose to install.

2a: Although not specifically mentioned above, incorporated in the system software is a facility to enhance the contrast of your finished labels.

This goes a long way to address the issues of poor contrast in the finished LightScribe label.

3: Now you can install your choice of labeling software.

4: You are now ready to print your first LightScribe labels. LightScribe Media is unlike ordinary blank media.

Remember you can’t print LightScribe images onto normal blank DVDs/CDs

That neatly brings us to Step Five, LightScribe Media.

LightScribe Media - Not All Discs are Created Equal.

When is a DVD not a DVD, when it’s a LightScribe DVD?

These are available in:

CDR, DVD+R, DVD-R and DVD+R DL

So what are the difference between an ordinary Disc and a LightScribe Disc?

1: A thin dye coating on the label side of LightScribe discs absorbs laser light, which triggers a chemical reaction to give you a silkscreen-quality reproduction of your artwork, text or photos.

2: The discs are Gold in color, and the image formed is like a greyscale or sepia photograph.

The manufacturers of LightScribe Media include:

Aleratec, Benq, HP, Imitation, Infiniti, Memorex, Omega, Philips, Platinet, Primeon, SmartTrack, TDK, Verbatim

LightScribe Media Version 1.2

Second generation discs are now available from most manufacturers and the advantages are:

1: Faster Labeling.

Full CD label now approximately 16 minutes vs. 23 minutes for media version 1.1.

2: Lighter Gold Background.

Allowing a higher contrast image

But just remember, if you want maximum storage and are not so concerned about GREAT Labeling, you will have to stick with ordinary Dual Layer discs.

However, if you wish a great image on your label and don’t have the need to Max your storage go for LightScribe discs every time.

What about COLOR? I hear you ask. - Now, that’s a great question.

The Future’s Bright - The Future’s COLOR

The LightScribe story so far.

1: LightScribe Technology (now with the advent of 1.2 second generation media) will produce a full face label (covering the entire surface of the disc) in approximately 16 minutes.

2: LightScribe Media is now available in Color.

These are Single Color discs and produce labels that are still MONO. The image is still a greyscale image; it is just that the background colour is now not limited to Gold.

What does the future hold for LightScribe?

Well, for what its worth, here is my wish list:

1: Faster Labeling - I would like the speed to label a disc to be comparable to the time taken to burn the data.

2: Cheaper Discs - The present cost of discs is prohibitive. I know manufacturers have got to recover their R&D costs but until the cost comes down, the take-up by the general public will be very slow. The cost of a LightScribe Drive is comparable to a Non-LightScribe one – so come on manufacturers and sellers, let’s see some serious reduction in prices!

3: FULL COLOR Labeling – This is the Holy Grail of LightScribe.

When this is accomplished (and I believe not UNTIL this is accomplished), LightScribe will finally become the method of choice, not just among the likes of us (early adopters, I think we are called!) but among everyone wishing to have a fantastic professional looking label to accompany the data on their discs.

Help and Support.

Although I have been called “A LightScribe Guru” in the past, the only difference between me and you (if you are new to LightScribe) is that I have now 9 years experience in using this technology that’s all.

In that time I have solved all the problems that have stood between me and successful LightScribe Labeling.

I hope you have enjoyed, but more importantly benefited from reading this introductory guide to the world of LightScribe.

If you still have any LightScribe related questions please email me.

And as always, may the LightScribe be with you....

Steve Nelson.

HP Stop Supporting LightScribe

Things have moved on a lot since I first wrote this Hub...

In December 2013 Hp closed their LightScribe.com support site and with it any possibility of the System Software or for that matter, the free Simple and Template Labeler's ever being updated.

In fact the last updates we have are from March 2013...

Because of this, Windows 8.1 has proven a real problem for LightScribe users and the reason is simple...

The last update of the software was prior to it's release...

That said I have done my best to find workarounds for may of the problems and you can find them at my LightScribeSoftware.org and my new LightScribe.TV websites.

I will put links for them below...

I hope this has helped in explaining the current state of LightScribe (as of Feb 2015) I post new info on my websites...

As always... Enjoy LightScribe...

Steve

Comments 32 comments

kenbellis@cox.net 6 years ago

Your article above states "LightScribe Technology (now with the advent of 1.2 second generation media) will produce a full face label (covering the entire surface of the disc) in approximately 16 minutes." My understanding of the terminology "full face" is that the printing will go all the way to the center hole, but I can find no LightScribe discs with that description. Is there such a thing?


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

First time I've heard of it - very sophisticated software.

Thanks for the info.


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 6 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Thanks for your thoughts Lady_E

If you are interested please do take a look at my website there is loads more info there...

I'm always on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Take care,

Steve


Pedro Matos Rito 6 years ago

My girlfriend have an HP 530 laptop with a DVD drive that doesn't have lightscribe facilities.

When I recorded an Audio CD using a lighscribe disc, her PC simply doesn't recognize the disk.

When I insert it in my HP DV6-2160ep (lightscribe enabled), it reads it without a problem. So my question is, what can be done for her PC to be able to read lightscribe discs (either CD-R or DVD-R)? Is there any driver update anywhere? Because on HP site there isn't any.


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 6 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi Pedro

Thanks for your question...

It strikes me that if your girlfriends drive reads 'normal' CDs alright then the problem is a firmware one as there is no intrinsic difference between The data side of a lightscribe and normal disc.

I have researched HP for you and found this page of downloads, you will just need to input the correct OS to get the right ones.

Go to:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/D...

Please let me know how you get on - And of course if you need any further help please contact me again.

All the best,

Steve


seanbhoy31 6 years ago

i still can't get my light scribe burning images all i can do is burn a light small line of words tried all types of software but to no avail what am i to do short of selling the drive and just getting a label printer?

kind regards sean


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 6 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi Sean

It will be difficult to help you properly by posting on here because I will need more info on what you have done, what software you have tried, discs you are using, and your PC setup etc...

So I am going to suggest you email me directly at:

questions(at)lightscribetoolbox(dot)com

I look forward to helping you solve this problem..

All the best

Steve


Pat 6 years ago

Great site! Very informative. Are there any issues with playing LS discs in non-LS drives, once the data's been burned?


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 6 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi Pat

Thanks for your great comment, I try to do my best ;)

In answer to your question - Not at all, I have burned in excess of 5000 LightScribe discs and have never had a problem using them in non-LightScribe drives.

In fact as i produce as part of my business Audio books these are most often used in Non LightScribe drives by the people who buy them.

Have fun with LightScribe Pat, but watch it that you don't become an 'addict' like me...;)


kevin 5 years ago

nov 2010 is there any updates/newer things happening i am new to burning &also in melbourne australia


Jeremy 5 years ago

honestly I think this lightscribe is a joke i bought all the stuff and it will not print a label at all nothing i have done works


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 5 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Jeremy I understand your frustration.

That's what prompted me over 5 years ago to create my LightScribe Toolbox as a solution to mine and others continued problems with LightScribe and getting it to work.

I will be please to help you sort out your problems but we will need to communicate via email to do it.

Go to my LightScribe Software site:

http://LightScribeToolbox.com and contact me via the contact page - I look forward to your email.

All the best

Steve


James Bullard 5 years ago

How do I reload Lightscribe Toolbox


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 5 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi James...

I sent an email yesterday to the address you used when you bought the LightScribe Toolbox.

If you have not received this please contact me at:

steve(at)lightscribetoolbox(dot)com

Thanks

Steve


John Skinner 4 years ago

I used Lightscribe several years ago on my Presario and was impressed. I'm trying to use it again now, and it won't recognize any of the Memorex Lightscribe cds I am trying to label. This is the second pack that I've tried. Has there been a problem with discs?


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 4 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi John

No there is nothing intrinsic wrong with Memorex discs. The problem you are having maybe something else.

Contact me directly at: steve(at)lightscribetoolbox(dot)com and I will go through with you a systematic method I use to get to the bottom of lightscribe issues.

All my best,

Steve


paul3157 4 years ago

I recently installed Nero 11. When I went to play a regular DVD on my computer I received the following error message - "Windows Media Player cannot play this DVD because there is a problem with digital copy protection between your DVD drive, decoder, and video card. Try installing an updated driver for your video card."

There were no new driver available. I then went to msconfig and under "services" saw Lightscribe which I had never heard of before and therefore disabled it. Voila! The DVD played as normal. Why is it that Lightscribe would not allow me to play a commercial DVD?


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 4 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi Paul

It's not that LightScribe would cause this problem it is just that there was a conflict between it and Nero (not unusual...)

You see I guess before installing Nero 11 you could play DVDs and LightScribe had been there all along...

Lightscribe is not unfortunately, even after all this time, a simple plug n play technology.

If you ever wanted to use it, there are ways to isolate and fix such problems - Learned from painful experience, both mine and the 10,000 or so customers I've had...

Thanks again Paul for your question, I’m sorry there is no simple answer.

All my best,

Steve


acesrun 4 years ago

hi i was just wanting to clarify there is specific discs to bur color images


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 4 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi, and thanks for your question...

Firstly just to clarify, you can't actually burn colour images with Lightscribe.

The technology only allows burning in greyscale.

What you can do however is use coloured lightscribe discs so instead of the regular gold colour you can have:

Yellow (similar to the gold)

Green

Blue

Red

Orange

The best colour discs for Lightscribe (in my opinion...) are Verbatim.

Take a look at:

http://lightscribetoolbox.com/LightScribe-Media.ht...

for more information about LightScribe discs.

I hope that explains everything about LightScribe colour labeling.

Thanks again,

Steve


Gofaster1000 4 years ago

Hi Steve -

Great article. I am relatively new to lightscribe however I really prefer it over non-LS DVD's. Question I have is this, what could cause the label to be a group of swirled lines instead of the image I was trying to burn? Out of the 100 I started with, I had a fail rate on the label side of about 10%. The media side worked fine.

Thanks!


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 4 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Thanks Gofaster1000...

The swirling lines you mention occur for a number of reasons.

1: Media

Make sure you are using the best lightscribe discs possible - I always recommend Verbatim.

2: Image

If you have large blocks of black on your label image this can result in swirling, it is best to keep the label design open... without large areas of single 'colour'.

DVDs are more prone to this than CDs as the burning pigment is thicker...

Software:

Some labeling software is better than others...

The software I have in my Lightscribe Toolbox works very well http://LightScribeToolbox.com

Finally...

LightScribe Drives:

Again not all are as good as each other...

Sorry this is not a... simple fix, Lightscribe is like that :)

However the fist and best thing to try is a redesign of your label, but as you are saying you are getting this on only about 10% I think maybe a look at your discs and software may help.

Thanks again for a great comment...

All my best,

Steve


sandra 2 years ago

Do I need to purchase an external drive for our hp windows 8 desktop?

(We don't know how to install an internal one). If so where can we get it and what kind is best that will work with the Lightscribe toolbox?


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 2 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi Sandra,

I suggest you try Amazon.com and get an LG External drive. I use one on my Win 8 Laptop (and XP and Win 7 desktops...)

Also get Verbatim LightScribe discs as well... (they are the best...)

Any External LightScribe drive will work with my LightScribe Toolbox...

If you have any other questions, post them here or go to my site: http://LightScribeSoftware.org and contact me via the contact me page...

Thanks Sandra...

Best regards.

Steve


Hi Steve 2 years ago

I purchased the toolbox yesterday for my employer Marlow Peterson. However, I did not download it because I don't have the LG external drive and I wasn't sure if I needed it first before I downloaded the toolbox. Now I do not know how to download the toolbox since the computer got turned off. I don't have a link or an email to get me back to the download button. Can you please tell me if I need to wait for the drive to get her before I download or do I download after you tell me how to go about downloading the toolbox since it has already been paid for but the button is gone?

Thanks

Sandra


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 2 years ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi Sandra

I sent an email to the address used for the payment "DEANNA2....." so that will be in the inbox for that email account.

If you want me to send another to a different email contact me through the website not here as it will be private that way :)

You can install the software and add your drive later it does not matter...

Hope that helps Sandra...

Let me know (via my site please... ) if you need any further help...

All my best

Steve


Barry 22 months ago

I have a LG GGW-H20L burner with lightscribe. I have used both the lightscribe labeling system and a free trial of audiolabel and was able to lightscribe on quite a few DVD disks. Since the trial edition has expired, I cannot lightscribe on any labeling program including the lightscribe labeling program that worked before. I am going crazy with spending days trying to find the solution by surfing the internet to fix the problem. So far no luck. What you know what the problem would be. I would appreciate any help that you could give me. Thanks, Barry


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 22 months ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi Barry,

Thanks for your question.

It is difficult to diagnose the problem without a little more information but as a first step I'm going to suggest you go to my website http://lightscribesoftware.org and download the LightScribe diagnostic tool.

HP created this to find and fix configuration issues.

http://lightscribesoftware.org/lightscribesupport/...

Have you tried uninstalling Audio Label now that it has stopped working?

Give that a go first, if that does not work, try the diagnostic tool.

If that does not work contact me directly via the contact me page on my site...

All my best.

Steve


Colleen 13 months ago

I found an old light scribe drive on amazon. 8x if you can believe it. It didn't come with the light scribe software but an old dvd authoring software package. Useless!

The drive seems to be connecting to my windows 10 laptop well enough. Is your package working with windows 10, do you know?


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 13 months ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

Hi Colleen,

Just so you don't feel let down, none of the LightScribe drives come with LightScribe Software - For some reason nobody thinks of that :)

My LightScribe Toolbox 2015 will work with Win 10 and has all the software you need to create some great LightScribe Labels.

For up to date info on LightScribe and Windows 10 as well as to take a look at my LightScribe Toolbox 2015 take a look at my LightScribe Software website: http://lightscribesoftware.org

All my best.

Steve


Colleen 13 months ago

Thanks! That looks just like what I need.


Steve Nelson profile image

Steve Nelson 13 months ago from Holt, Norfolk in England Author

My pleasure Colleen, and thank you for getting a copy of the LS Toolbox 2015.

Have fun...

Steve

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