laptop dvd+r burner newly developed problem

Well I have a dell laptop and have a built in 8x dvd+r drive. I have always burned at 8x with regular to good quality media, mostly using nero burning rom to do the job. recently when I burn at 8x or even sometimes at 4x it says the burn was successful. Under windows explorer it can even read what is on the dvd, but when i try to open any files it doesn't. well i looked on the bottom of the bad dvds and it looked like it skipped parts throughout the burn on the dvd, i can see where it was burned and where it wasn't, it seems to be random. This has never, and i mean never occured before, and i havn't made any changes to the laptop either with hardware or software, i keep it as simple as possible since it is my computer i use for school. i tried downloading the firmware update on the dell webpage but the link doesn't work. It this a really bad hardware problem or do I just need to buy a cleaning cd? any help would be appreciated.

Once again this problem has occured at mostly 8x, can't even burn at that anymore, and has happened once at 4x. i have a 1.4m processor and i have 512megs of ram, i never run anything at all or do anything while I burn except possibly go on some simple webpages. it does not seem like my computer is struggling and i have the buffer underrun thing enabled so it varies the speed.
i am stumped on this one
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More about laptop burner newly developed problem
  1. First, you shouldn't do anything else on the computer when burning. Second, if you're burning anything like movies with Digital Rights Management,DRM, this will happen.
  2. Like I said I have never experienced this problem and have used this computer for a good amount of time, i have burned anything from movies, dvd images, xvids onto the dvd, files, etc and never had this problem until recently and have not changed any settings at all.

    as for DRM I use programs to get rid of it, mostly I just get the xvid and burn onto a dvd so i can fit multiple movies on. i know how to take off DRM.
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