Okay, so I just found a way to flash the driver. I successfully upgraded it from ATAPI iHAS424 Y ZL1U to ATAPI iHAS424 Y ZL1W. I restarted the computer and the disc tray wouldn't open. I restarted it again and it opened just fine, autoplay worked, all good. I tried to burn a data disc and once again it screwed up after half a second, now have to restart it again to open the tray.
I then uninstalled the driver again and booted in safe mode, the driver installed as the ZL1W but I flashed it again for the heck of it. I then restarted in safe mode again, this time uninstalling a number of my newest programs, then for good measure did Shark's registry trick again. I restarted in safe mode for a third time (accidentally). I restarted in normal mode and it burned properly, hurray! I then reinstalled all those programs again and restarted my computer: drive gone bad again just as before (curious...). I uninstalled all the programs and restarted in normal mode, and lo and behold it burns again!
Okay, so it looks like one of the programs is the culprit, right? Let's find out which one: I then reinstalled several programs (MagicDisc, Auslogics Disc Defragmenter, EaseUS Partition Manager, and EaseUS Todo Backup) and burned another dvd successfully. I installed some more programs (KeepPass, MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition, and Recuva), and it worked. Then I did Revo Uninstaller, muCommander, and HWMonitor; it worked. I reinstalled Skype, it burned just fine. So...what happened? It seems that none of them were the problem. I restarted the computer again just in case some part of the bad program only kicks in after a reboot, but I was still able to burn. Good I guess, but I have no idea what was wrong or what I fixed.
I notice I was burning over and over to the same DVD-RW (for the successful burns that is), so I put in a blank dvd and burned it successfully. However, a split second after I finished burning it my computer blue screens with this message: "A problem has been detected and Windows has to shut down to prevent damage from being done." It then shuts down! When I reboot I find this log file:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.256.1
Locale ID: 1033
Additional information about the problem:
OS Version: 6_1_7601
Service Pack: 1_0
Files that help describe the problem:
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The .xml file didn't exist as it said it did, but the .dmp file had the following info:
Bug Check String: UDFS_FILE_SYSTEM
Bug Check Code: 0x0000009b
Parameter 1: 00000000'0014031c
Parameter 2: fffff880'08d48e38
Parameter 3: fffff880'08d48690
Parameter 4: fffff880'0300d9bc
Caused By Driver: udfs.sys
Cauesd By Address: udfs.sys+c1c0
Crash Address: ntoskrnl.exe+7f1c0
Anyway, after recovering from that I tried burning the exact same dvd that caused the blue screen with another new dvd. It didn't happen again, burn successful. So I guess it's fixed (for now)? We'll see.
Oh, and the dvd tray sticks sometimes now. Just started.