Optical Drive Flashing FAQ + Recommended Optical Drives

Not open for further replies.


Oct 12, 2001
Flashing your optical drive

Nearly all computers in the world have an optical drive. These are the bog-standard CD-ROM drives, as well as the slightly more exotic CD-RW and DVD+-R/RW drives. There are also the esoteric MO drives, but they are outside the scope of this discussion.
Here,I'll run through the features of CD-R/RW and DVD-+R/RW drive firmware.

Just like a motherboard BIOS, there is a flashable memory section on most optical drives. This flash memory performs a variety of functions:

a) Includes the firmware of the drive, which itself specifies the capabilities of the drive,including:

- Media lookup table, for specifying reading and burning strategies with various recordable media.

- Specifying which hardware features of the drive to enable, eg. Mt Rainier and Smart-Burn.

- Specifies the maximum reading and writing speed of the drive.

b)The flash memory also has some unused space, which can be used to add further features to the drive as and when they are developed.

Why flash your drive?
Once an optical drive is developed, the drive manufacturer may add new features to the drive, such as Mount Rainier compatibility and additional media compatibility. At this time, they will release a new version of the drive firmware,along with a short explanation of what the new firmware will do. If this explanation seems to be solving a problem you are experiencing, it is recommended that you FLASH your drive with this firmware.

Also, in a few cases, most famously with Lite-On, you can flash your drive to a higher maximum write speed. This occurs, because for economies of scale, Lite-On manufactures ONE series of drives, and differentiates them into different write speeds just by applying different firmware! So it becomes easy for us to increase the writing speed of the drive (if possible), just by flashing the firmware.

For a list of upgradeable Lite-On drives, go to:

For a list of Lite-On firmwares in the binary format, go to:



How to flash your drive :
Normally, whenever the drive manufacturer updates the firmware for a particular drive, they release a self-executable file on their website, along with a short description of the updates this gives. Then, if these updates are said to resolve any problems you might be having, you should download the flasher, execute it in Windows, and reboot the computer.

However, flashing in Windows can sometimes lead to errors, due to the fact that at any given time, there will be a multitude of other processes in the background, which may cause an error during the flash. This can lead to your drive being trashed. While this is an absolute worst case scenario, it has been known to happen!

The good news is that there is another program, called MTKFlash, which can be used to flash your drive in pure DOS mode. This works only with the binary (.bin) version of your firmware. These binaries are available at various sites, including:




An excellent guide to using and downloading MTKFlash:


Beware that MTKFlash only works with drives that have MediaTek chipsets.The following link will tell you which drives use Mediatek chipsets:


Similar to MTKFLash is a useful program called MTKWinflash, which,along with a description and usage guide is available from:


This can be used in Windows, and in the Direct IDE mode can even recover dead (badly flashed) drives!
Higly recommended!

The Lite-On drive owners can also use an excellent new program called LTNFlash. It has the ability to flash your drive EEPROM as well, so care must be taken with it's use.
Google it for current download links.

Basically, it can do the following:

LtnFlash lets owners of Lite-ON made optical drives (except the LTD-163 and their CD-ROM drives) backup or flash their firmware right from Windows. It is the first tool able to create firmware backups from Windows. It is also the only way to make backups of the firmwares in external Lite-ON drives. It is not a complete replacement for mtkflash though since LtnFlash doesn't work for drives that weren't made by Lite-ON. Since version 1.1.0, LtnFlash is also able to Enable/Disable/Reset the region counter on Lite-ON DVD Drives.

Recommended Optical Drives :

Plain CDROM drives -
Asus QuietTrack 52X and Lite-On 526.

DVD-ROM drives - Aopen 1648 AAP/Pro, Lite-On 165/166 (discontinued), Toshiba 1712 (discontinued), Asus E616P1/P2/P3.

Combo Drives (DVD-ROM read, CDR/RW write) - basically any Lite-On combo drive is fine..

CDRW drives - Lite-On 5239S, Asus QuietTrack 5232AS, LG 8526

DVDRW drives - Benq 1650/1655, LG H10A, LG H12N, Pioneer 111/D in that order.
Not open for further replies.