LightScribe FAQ

What is LightScribe?

LightScribe is a new disc labeling technology that sets a new standard for disc labeling by using the CD or DVD drive's laser to burn text and graphics directly onto the label side of specially coated discs. Labels are professional looking, high quality (similar to silkscreen), easy to create, low cost and durable.

What do I need for LightScribe labeling?

To create a LightScribe label, you'll need the following things:

1. A LightScribe-enabled optical drive. Although LightScribe technology makes use of existing hardware, additional hardware and firmware components are required to enable LightScribe labeling.

2. Software. This consists of two applications that may need to be loaded on your computer separately.

  • LightScribe System Software; this is very similar to a device driver but is specific to LightScribe commands. Each hardware manufacturer will provide the optimal version for their systems, but universal versions are also available in our Downloads section for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. Please note that in some cases, the LightScribe System Software may need to be loaded separately from the Labeling applications.
  • Labeling application. This is the program you use to create your label content and send the commands to the LightScribe drive. It may have been included with your hardware, or it can be purchased separately. See our list of qualified LightScribe labeling applications here.

3. LightScribe media. These are CDs and DVDs with the LightScribe coating on the labels of the disc that responds to the laser energy from the drive. These are sold separately at most computer and office supplies stores as well as available online.

Will this technology work with all data formats of CD/DVD media currently available on the market?

LightScribe is capable of supporting any existing data format and is compatible with all drive designs. LightScribe-enabled media have a special coating on the label surface as well as embedded functional features. All data formats can incorporate the functional features and special coating required to make them LightScribe compliant.

How does this compare with solutions for printing directly onto a disc?

LightScribe burns a silkscreen-quality image on CDs and DVDs using laser technology. Because LightScribe does not require a separate printer, it gives you greater mobility when labeling your discs. Additionally, no separate ink cartridge is needed because the disc's coating and the drive's laser create the text images.

How durable are LightScribe labels? Do they fade?

The LightScribe system is optimized to ensure that the labels last. Some minor fading may occur over time. To ensure the longest life for both label and data, discs should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Is it safe to handle the coated discs?

Yes, it is safe to handle the discs coated with the LightScribe coating as you would any other disc.

How long does it take to burn an image on a disc? Why does the time vary?

The time required to burn an image on a disc varies depending on how many bands across the radius have image content and on the selected imaging mode (draft, normal or best). A simple title printed in normal mode will take a couple of minutes. A title plus content listing takes six minutes or more—again depending on the content. And a full disc image in normal mode will take approximately 30 minutes. Best mode takes about a third again as long, and draft mode about a third less time. The labeling process will run in the background so you can work on other things while the label is being made.

Does LightScribe require additional cleaning of my drive?

Under normal use, the LightScribe function does not result in any additional cleaning or maintenance of the drive. Please follow your hardware provider's maintenance recommendations.

Can I install a LightScribe enabled drive in my Mac?

Although most LightScribe enabled drives can be installed in a Mac system, they will not have the required LightScribe System Software or Labeling application to make the process work unless specifically provided with the hardware or purchased separately. LaCie is a Licensee providing a complete hardware and software solution. Also, SmileOnMyMac, an Independent Sofware Vendor, provides Mac compatible Labeling Software. Note that a Mac compatible LightScribe System Software (also available at this site) is also required in order for this software package to work.

Will LightScribe discs work with non-LightScribe drives?

Yes. The data side will work as it always has. But LightScribe discs cannot be labeled in a non-LightScribe drive.

Are LightScribe discs environmentally safe?

Yes. A study of the potential for health and safety problems resulting from handling LightScribe-coated discs found no reason for concern.

Does LightScribe print in full color?

No, currently the LightScribe label is created in grayscale, similar to a black and white photograph.

Where can I find more information about LightScribe?

Though LightScribe is product in its twilight, there are still a couple of websites where you can find in-depth information:

  • LightScribe.TV: Steve Nelson's meticulously maintained site has a wealth of information on the format, tips, how-to videos, links to drivers, etc.
  • Download site installation instructions for Mac, Windows and Linux.