Thank you for getting back. I have tried following these tips, but still, no joy.
I'm on Nero 6.6. The laptop is running winXP home and I've disabled everything unnecessary. (The IDE is set to 'DMA if possible').
I'm pretty much out of ideas on this, though note the one thing that does seem consistent is the way the 'scratching' increases with increased burn speed..
The other more extreme notion I had was that Nero was originally set to 'overburn', which according to the disclaimer can damage the hardware. This I think unlikely.. but that's my best theory for now..
Cheers again for your interest
nb. It's a Dell Inspiron 510m w/512memory, 40gig h/d 1.4gz