Join Date: Dec 2000
Depending on which DVD drive is in your Xbox, some media may not work, meaning your Xbox might not be able to read the contents of a disc, let a lone play a backed up game. To make matters worse, it's not just the format of disc that may determine whether it will work (DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW etc.), but the brand as well (TDK, Sony etc.). To save you time and money spent buying blank DVDs that probably won't work, we offer you a summary below of the current collective thoughts of Xbox users around the world regarding which DVD drives handle which types of discs.
How can I tell which DVD drive I have?
Eject the DVD tray on your Xbox and pick the image below which most closely resembles the tray you see.
How the different brands of Xbox DVD drives compare
When the Xbox first became available it came with a Thomson DVD drive. Unfortunately, these drives are notorious for being unable to read most CDR media, and are generally regarded as the worst drives in terms of the variety of media that they can read.
Philips DVD drives started appearing in Xboxs in mid 2002. The consensus seems to be that these drives can read more disc formats than the Thomson drives but not as many as the Samsung.
This drive is widely regarded as being the drive that reads the greatest variety of media. It can be identified by two circular wholes in the DVD tray. Used in Xbox consoles manufactured since September 2002.
What disc format should I use? When in doubt, use CDRW
If only one tip can be offered regarding whole disc compatibility problem, it's use CDRW when possible. Although this format is obviously not suitable for most game backups (due to size constraints) CDRW definitely seems to be the disc format best supported by the three current Xbox DVD drives. So, if you're needing to flash your BIOS, or just wanting to copy files onto an Xbox that's not networked, CDRWs are your best bet.
My Xbox DVD drive doesn't work, can I replace it with a PC DVD drive?
Unfortunately, no. The DVD drives found in Xboxs use custom firmware to enable them to read Xbox DVDs. This is also why you can't simply put an Xbox game in your PC and burn a backup of it.