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Creating Disc Labels with LightScribe

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This document pertains to HP Desktop computers with a LightScribe-enabled DVD drive.
LightScribe is a direct disc-labeling technology that provides a simple way to create precise silkscreen-quality labels for discs. All you have to do is burn, flip the disc, and then burn again.
Figure 1: Examples of discs labeled using the LightScribe process
LightScribe discs
Creating a label uses the LightScribe-enabled DVD drive of your computer with enhanced disc-labeling software, and specially coated CD or DVD discs (sold separately).
A LightScribe-enabled DVD drive uses an optical laser to burn an image into the thin dye coating on the label side of a LightScribe disc. The LightScribe labeling system has no ink to smear, no paper to curl, and no sticky adhesive to cause problems.
LightScribe discs are identified by the LightScribe logo on the retail packaging and on the inner area of the disc itself.
Figure 2: LightScribe logo
 LightScribe logo
NOTE:Hewlett-Packard's LightScribe website is no longer active. LightScribe software and disc utilities may be found on a number of public websites. Search the Internet for LightScribe to find these pages.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my computer has a LightScribe drive?
If the drive door has the LightScribe name or logo on it, your drive is LightScribe capable. If the logo or name is missing, your drive is not LightScribe capable.
Some LightScribe-enabled slimline drives do not have enough space for a LightScribe logo or name on the drive tray cover, but a LightScribe logo sticker (see above) should be affixed to all LightScribe enabled computers. In addition, the presence of the disc encoder sensor indicates that a slimline drive is LightScribe enabled.
Can I upgrade my current non-LightScribe DVD drive to work with LightScribe media?
You cannot upgrade your current optical drive to be LightScribe capable.
What do I need for LightScribe labeling?
Creating a LightScribe label requires the following four things:
  • A LightScribe enabled drive.
  • LightScribe system software. This is pre-installed on your LightScribe-enabled computer.
  • Labeling software - this is software to create your label content and to send the label image to the LightScribe drive for burning. Examples include Sonic Express and Intervideo DiscLabel that are shipped with some systems.
  • LightScribe media - CDs and DVDs with a coating designed to respond to the laser from LightScribe-enabled drives.
How long does it take to burn a LightScribe label?
The time required varies according to the image mode (Draft, Normal, and Best) and the surface area setting (narrow band with curved text, medium band with curved text, or the full disc surface). Using Draft or Normal imaging modes provides a shorter burn time, but also results in a lighter label. In most cases, the less area you use, the less time it takes to finish burning the label.
When beginning the burning of the label, the LightScribe software provides the estimated amount of time it takes to complete the label. A progress bar shows the remaining time during the burning process.
Where are LightScribe discs sold?
Lightscribe media can be purchased from many online shopping sites and from local computer and office supply stores.
Are LightScribe compatible Dual layer high capacity DVDs available?
Although most LightScribe enabled drives can read and write data to Dual Layer (DL) DVDs, there are no LightScribe enabled DL DVDs available at the time of this writing.
Can LightScribe burn a color label?
Currently, LightScribe technology creates a grayscale image, similar to a black-and-white photograph.
Can I use my computer for other things while I am burning a LightScribe label?
Yes. LightScribe does not require your attention during the label burning process. You can continue using your computer for other tasks while the label is being burned.
Will the LightScribe image fade or darken over time or with exposure to light?
LightScribe discs are optimized to ensure that the label surface lasts. Some minor fading may occur over time. To ensure the longest life for both the label and data, keep optical discs out of direct light.
Is the LightScribe surface/coating safe to handle?
Yes, LightScribe discs are safe to handle, like other optical discs.
Can I re-do a LightScribe label?
The LightScribe label is permanent and not erasable. While you cannot replace a LightScribe label with a new design, you can add more content to a label that has already been burned.
Why does my LightScribe drive not recognize the LightScribe discs I purchased?
If you are not using a LightScribe disc, if the LightScribe disc is dirty, or if the LightScribe disc contains updated burning capabilities, you may receive an error when attempting to create a label:
This is not a LightScribe disc.
Cannot create LightScribe label.
LightScribe Engine Error: A communication error has occurred with the LightScribe drive. Please restart your PC and try the label again.
Make sure that you are burning labels with gold discs containing the LightScribe logo.
The disc must have a clean surface and be free of smudges (especially around the center of the disc).
Make sure that you are burning labels with gold discs containing the LightScribe logo.
Figure 3: LightScribe logo
 LightScribe logo
What happens if I forget to flip the disc over before burning the label?
The LightScribe software notifies you that the disc is not recognized and prompts you to flip the disc over. The disc must be placed label side down in the optical disc tray.
What is generic mode printing?
Generic printing is a labeling mode you can use to create a label when new LightScribe media is being used without updating the LightScribe system software. The LightScribe system software can be updated at a later, more convenient time. When using generic mode printing, speed and image quality may not be best.
My DVD labels appear faded. Is there a way to increase Contrast?
There is an Extended Label Contrast Utility built into the Lightscribe software. Using this utility can result in higher contrast, but with longer label burning times. You can also burn the label again. Each successive labeling will darken the blacks and generally produce a better image.
When attempting to download the LightScribe system software, nothing happened when I clicked the "update" or "download." What do I do?
You must have administrator privileges before making system changes to your computer. If you do not have administrative privileges, log onto an account that does have these privileges, or contact someone with administrator privileges to your computer to help you.
In some cases, the settings in security software or the Internet browser may interfere when downloading and installing the update. Temporarily disable anti-virus, spyware, or pop-up blocker programs. Make sure to accept and proceed with any messages that appear. Security software programs typically have small icons in the lower right corner of your desktop, next to the time. Temporarily disabling security software may help. Right-click the security icon for firewall or antivirus software and select disabled. Remember to re-enable these settings after the update is complete. If the computer is behind a Firewall, check your Firewall security settings before attempting the download or contact the system administrator for directions.

Tips & Tricks

Before you begin, take a moment to review these helpful suggestions.
Choose a design that fits your needs. The LightScribe software that came with your computer has a number of pre-designed templates for any occasion.
Use your own text, photos, or designs. Open your favorite graphic design application, create your artwork, and save it in .bmp, .tif, or .jpg format. From your LightScribe software, select the file as a background and complete your label by adding any desired text.
Make each CD or DVD a work in progress. You can add new text and pictures (for example, more song names or file names) to a previously burned label. Simply load the label design you originally used to burn the label, clear the existing text and graphics to avoid duplicate information being burned, then add the new label information and burn again.
Preview your label. To make sure the label is exactly the way you want it, use the Print Preview function (if available) or print the label out on paper to see it before burning.
Cut down on your label burning time. Switch from Best to Normal mode: you’ll burn fewer tracks per inch which takes less burn time but creates a lighter image. Or use the Title or Content templates instead of Full Disc. Because LightScribe burns from the center of the disc to the outside edge in concentric rings, Title and Content templates save time by confining your label to a narrower band. For the same reason, using circular text instead of straight text can also speed up burn times.
Go for contrast. A high-contrast photo or graphic stands out better than a picture in mostly soft middle tones. Use your software’s preview feature to see how the graphics you use look on disc.
Keep using your computer. While the label is being created, you can continue to use your computer for other activities. LightScribe software indicates the time remaining to burn the design.
Avoid sudden shock or vibration. While the disc is labeling, avoid any sudden shock or vibration to the computer.

Creating a LightScribe label

Burning a label with LightScribe is a separate process from burning data, music, or pictures onto a disc. Depending on the LightScribe software you use, you can create a label before or after you burn files onto the disc.
NOTE:To burn the label after burning disc content, you must flip the disc over and place it label-side down in the optical drive tray.
Labels can be a simple title with a contents list, or you can get more creative by adding backgrounds and images.
You can design and create the label with InterVideo Disc Labeler, Sonic Express Labeler, or iTunes (available with select versions of LightScribe software only). The following sections provide instructions for creating LightScribe labels.

Using LightScribe Template Labeler to create a LightScribe label

For instructions to create disc labels with LightScribe Template Labeler, go to Using LightScribe Template Labeler to Label Your Discs .

Using CyberLink LabelPrint to create a LightScribe label

  1. Click Start , All Programs , CyberLink DVD Suite , CyberLink LabelPrint , and then click LabelPrint .
  2. Select LightScribe as the type of label to print, and then click the green next arrow on the lower right.
  3. Enter information for the playlist:
    • Double-click to enter or edit text in the Title, Author, and Time fields.
      Or
    • Click the Import button on the lower right to browse to and import a playlist, which can then edit be edited.
  4. Click the green next arrow .
  5. Edit the layout of the text:
    • Use the arrow buttons to edit the position of the title, author, and other information.
      Or
    • Click the Select button in the right pane to browse to an existing layout.
      NOTE:To change font size or style, or insert a picture, double-click the text and graphic buttons.
      Figure 4: Text and graphic buttons
  6. Click the green next arrow .
    NOTE:Click the green back arrow any time to return to a previous window, to edit elements.
  7. To create a background image:
    • Use the arrow buttons to navigate to an image.
      Or
    • Click the Select button to select a preinstalled picture.
      Or
    • Browse to and select a personal file from your computer.
  8. Click the green next arrow .
  9. Click the Burn button in the lower right to start the printing process.
    The LightScribe print wizard opens.
  10. Insert a LightScribe-compatible disc, label-side down, into the disc drive.
  11. Click Preview to view the printed design.
    NOTE:LightScribe prints in grayscale (black and white) only, not in color, so it is important to view the design as it will actually print.
  12. Click Next to print the label.

Using InterVideo DiscLabel to create a LightScribe label

  1. Click Start , All Programs , InterVideo DiscLabel , and then click InterVideo DiscLabel again.
  2. Select a template style from the Template menu and click Apply .
  3. Double-click the title text box, if present, or click Add Text .
  4. Type the text into the Edit window and then click OK .
  5. With the text box selected (click the box once), use the Text toolbar to modify the font, color, and other text properties.
  6. Double-click the list text box, if present, or click Add List to add a list of contents to the label.
  7. Click Add to add a row to the list.
  8. To enter text for a list item, move the cursor over one of the item boxes (Title, Artist, or Length); click the box; and then enter text.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for each item you want to add to the list of contents.
  10. Click OK when you are finished with the list.
  11. Select a background for the disc label:
    • Click the Theme menu and choose one of the provided theme images. Click Apply .
      Or
    • Click Edit Background and then click Change Background to add a background image to the label. Follow the onscreen instructions to browse and select an image file. InterVideo DiscLabel supports .jpg, .bmp, and .png image files.
    NOTE: If you use a color image or theme, LightScribe burns it as a grayscale (monochrome) image.
  12. Click Add Image and follow the on-screen instructions to browse to and select an image file.
  13. Click and drag the image to the desired area on the label. You can resize the image by clicking and dragging the sides or corners of the image.
    NOTE:To remove an image from the label, click the image and then press Delete on your keyboard.
  14. When you are satisfied with the appearance of your label design, click LightScribe Print .
  15. Click Print , insert the LightScribe disc (label-side down) in the disc tray, and then click OK . The estimated time to complete the label is displayed, along with a progress bar. You can continue to work on your computer while LightScribe is burning the label.
NOTE:A sudden bump or vibration of the computer during the labeling process may affect the quality of the label.

Using Sonic Express Labeler to create a LightScribe label

  1. Click Start , All Programs , Sonic RecordNow! , and then click Express Labeler .
    NOTE:You can also open the Express Labeler from within RecordNow! by clicking Label Disc .
  2. Make sure that Disc Label is selected in Step 1: Select Project.
  3. Click Disc Titles to display the Edit Disc Title window. Enter text for the title and subtitle.
  4. Click Tracks to display the Edit Tracks window. Click New to display the Track window. Enter text to identify the first track or file (you can optionally enter artist and date, or length), and then click OK .
  5. Repeat step 4 for each track or file on the disc.
  6. Click the left or right arrows next to Layout and Background to select design elements for the disc. The selections you make are previewed in the disc window.
    NOTE:If you use a color image, LightScribe burns it as a grayscale (monochrome) image.
  7. When you are satisfied with the appearance of your label design, insert the LightScribe disc (label-side down) into the disc drive tray and then click Print .
  8. From the Disc Label menu, select LightScribe 12cm Disc .
  9. Select a Contrast Level and then click OK to begin burning the label. The estimated time to complete the label is displayed, along with a progress bar. You can continue to work on your computer while LightScribe is burning the label.
NOTE:A sudden bump or vibration of the computer during the labeling process may affect the quality of the label.

Create a LightScribe label using iTunes

iTunes works with Sonic Express Labeler to conveniently burn labels on a data CD or audio CD from iTunes. The playlist you create in iTunes to burn a disc is automatically imported into Express Labeler so that this information is available for you to use on your LightScribe label.
NOTE:To use Express Labeler from iTunes, the data or music tracks in the playlist your are using must fit on a single CD.
  1. Click Start , All Programs , iTunes , and then click iTunes again.
  2. Burn a data or audio CD with iTunes. When the burning process is complete, click Yes on the Create LightScribe Label window.
  3. Make sure that Disc Label is selected in Step 1: Select Project.
  4. Select a label template by clicking the left or right arrows next to Layout and choosing a layout.
    NOTE:The various layouts show different amounts of playlist information. Some show only the playlist title, others show the playlist title and track names. You can edit the playlist information by clicking Disc Title to open the Edit Disc Title window.
  5. Click Tracks to display the Edit Tracks window. Click New to display the Track window. Enter text to identify the first track or file (you can optionally enter artist and date, or length), and then click OK .
  6. Repeat step 5 for each track or file on the disc.
  7. Click the left or right arrows next to Background to select design elements for the disc. The selections you make are previewed in the disc window.
    NOTE:If you use a color image, LightScribe burns it as a grayscale (monochrome) image.
  8. When you are satisfied with the appearance of your label design, insert the LightScribe disc (label-side down) into the disc drive tray and then click Print .
  9. From the Disc Label menu, select LightScribe 12cm Disc .
  10. Select a Contrast Level and then click OK to begin burning the label. The estimated time to complete the label is displayed, along with a progress bar. You can continue to work on your computer while LightScribe is burning the label.
    NOTE:A sudden bump or vibration of the computer during the labeling process may affect the quality of the label.