Solved: “Bluebirds” installer on LG GH22NS50 DVD-RW

LG GH22NS50 DVD-RW. LG GH22NS50 sticker.

This is the LG GH22NS50. We’ve started stocking these at work – just the next low-cost SATA burner option for us. Except it comes with a nasty surprise, and that surprise is Bluebirds.

Bluebirds 'disc' shown in My Computer.

It’s some kind of drag-to-disc software included with the drive. Not on a CD, of course; it’s hacked into the drive’s firmware, and shows up when there’s no disc in the drive at all. Which means that every time you close the tray with nothing in it, you get prompted to install it, thanks to Windows helpfully autorunning it.

It’s not really a malicious program. It just sits in your system tray until you close it or uninstall it (Control Panel -> Add/remove programs, in XP). It’s probably even helpful, for the few people who let it sit around long enough to find out. I haven’t seen anyone do that yet.

Way to go, LG; not only does your drive automatically try to install an unwanted program on your customers’ computers, but you’ve changed a fundamental thing about how CD drives work: If there’s no disc in the drive, it should be empty and that’s the end of it. You’ve changed how it behaves, and that fills us with false and misleading knowledge.

It’s as bad as when ISPs used to rebrand Internet Explorer as being “provided by [some telco]“; none of my customers could ever understand that IE was just a program on their computer and nothing to do with their ISP.

Anyway, the fellow who started this forum thread has the solution – there’s a firmware update for the drive that removes the Bluebirds installer, along with the fake disc-in-drive thing. Not to steal his thunder or anything, but I wanted to complain too. :)

Firmware update for LG burner.

The firmware updater orders you to remove the disc from the drive before running the firmware update, which is the most passive-aggressive thing I’ve ever seen a PC program do. You have to eject the drive and let it sit there poking its tongue out for 30 seconds while you erase the Bluebirds part of its brain.

I’ve uploaded the program to my /static/ folder, so there’s another place on the internet for it to be found:

You might want to read that forum thread anyway. The utter lack of official information from LG about this is disturbing.

Obviously this just removes the installer and auto-runner from the drive; if you’ve clicked yes to install it, you’ll have to uninstall it from your computer as well. I don’t recall seeing it in Control Panel; there’s a link in the Bluebirds folder in your Start Menu to get rid of it.

Update 30/9/09: There’s a separate version for the Lightscribe-enabled GH22LS50; that can be found here:

LN01 firmware update for LG GH22LS50 (Lightscribe) DVD-RW: http://tim.id.au/static/GH22LS50_TL01.exe (2MB)

Update 7/1/10: A few commenters here run Linux or BSD or something else that isn’t Windows; I don’t currently have a practical way to experiment with it myself, but one commenter successfully reflashed his drive using Crossover Linux. They offer a fully-functional 30 day trial here, and I recommend trying that if you possibly can.

If you seriously have no way of flashing it yourself though, any little PC shop ought to be able to do it for you for a small fee – if you visit the place you originally bought it from they may do it for free if you complain logically enough. At my work we pre-emptively reflash the drives before they go out because we couldn’t stand the thought of selling them with the Bluebirds crap still in them.

Update 23/5/10: A commenter has informed me of the new 02 version of the firmware for both of these drives. It took me a good 30 minutes to track down both of them, thanks to every region-localised website LG operates containing the full product page of each and every product they’ve ever made, but the respective support pages only showing the products most relevant to that region. I still have no idea where the Lightscribe version of this drive is meant to have been sold, but it’s sure not any country I’ve heard of.

Anyway – well-deserved plug here for Firmware HQ. If only companies would properly support their own products, we wouldn’t be so utterly reliant on the goodwill of sites like that. The Lx02 firmware apparently adds support for Windows 7, although I don’t recall having problems with it at work…

LN02 firmware for GH22NS50: http://tim.id.au/static/GH22NS50_TN02.exe (2MB)

LS02 firmware for GH22LS50 (Lightscribe): http://tim.id.au/static/GH22LS50_TL02.exe (2MB)

19 Responses to “Solved: “Bluebirds” installer on LG GH22NS50 DVD-RW”

  1. Nick says:

    Thanks for this. Worked great. I was wondering wtf was wrong with my drive.

  2. Steve G says:

    I ran the upgrade to TN01 but still have the bluebirds. I still can’t get rid of it.

  3. Steve G says:

    I think I might have found the problem. I had added a second drive to this brand new computer. The drive I installed was the LG. Apparently the original drive was an LG also. I updated it also and I THINK my problem is fixed. We will see

  4. Ryan W says:

    Awesome! Cheers for the link mate, this fixed the bluebirds issue.

  5. falcongirl2u says:

    Thank you for that post. We are a white box (oem) builder and usually use Lite-on with very success. However, Lite-ons weren’t available in the QTY I needed so I switched to the LG. Know we are going to have to fix this on all of those drives… Also thanks to the other guy who figured it out, but we’re glad you complained!

  6. Luc P says:

    I did the update, worked out great. Now try to get two of these units running in the same system… Good old error code 42… What to do? What to do? After uninstalling the device(s) it picked it back up after reboot. But sadly only one device appears, but the second is present in my bios… What to do? What to do? Sent an email to LG technical. Will wait and see.

  7. Frank3 says:

    Annoying…wtf would they include this crap if it will only mean my time is spent removing it???

    Thanks for the update. Lesson learned…no more LG products for me.

  8. Richard Werth says:

    This guy who programmed this should be fired as soon as possible.
    After hours and hours of searching I don’t see any way to fix this problem in a linux box.

    Never – never – never again LG

    greetings R. Werth

    Moege der Kerl der das zu verantworten hat moeglichst bald gefeuert werden.
    Nach stundenlager Suche sehe ich keine wirkliche Moeglichkeit das Problem in einem Linuxsystem zu loesen.

    Nie – nie – nie wieder LG

    Schoenen Gruss
    R. Werth

  9. NEW FOOL says:

    I am on Ubuntu os so the link to the fix didn’t help me right off…however I found that by installing a feature called “linux crossover” I was finally able to get at the birds. The windows fix worked just fine. I don’t know why, but I had to flash the drive twice for it to take effect. That haneous piece of subterfuge is about the most underhanded thing I have seen, and it really caused me a lot of problems and cost me a lot of hours. I didn’t know I was dealing with something that was essentially a root kit. Now it all makes sense. I was running 3 machines on Windows and the only one that was getting “bombarded” by Trojans and viruses (and bears; oh my) was the one with the lg optical drive. Whoever did this is a terrorist within our borders. Hope I helped someone. As for the evil-doers; I’d love to see them turning on a spit.

  10. Chris says:

    Hello there my friend and thank you for the link. I do the same job and can almost tell the same story but we have only started to stock the drives this week and I am the first one to buy one. When I saw the little Bluebirds thing I thought what the whets this and how do I get rid of it so thanks mate for saving me some time

  11. Alex says:

    Hi all.

    I know that this post is starting to get a gray beard, but ive recently purchased one of this drives (my previous was an LG GSA-H10A) and im almost doing a genocide at the store because of him.

    When i first installed it, i burned a normal DVD-R disc with him like a charm, but when i tried to burn a DVD+R DL, the problems started, lost two disc, one at LeadIn process and the other one with 2% burned.

    Went to the store, asked for a replacement and got another one…went back to home, installed it and…ZAP…same error.

    Ive started googling for it and discovered that countless people had the same issue with this crap and i couldnt find any answer to the problem than i stumbled with this site in hope to find a light. So, if anyone can give any help, ill turn them as my personal heroes!!!

    Already sent an email to LG asking about it, but 3 days and no response.

  12. Alex says:

    Forget about it guys, problem solved.

    It was not a problem with the drive itself, but a bug on WinXP. Even when you do the right procedure of replacing hardware on your machine (Control Panel>Add or Remove hardware>fisically remove it), WinXP still retain info about the old drive on registry, thus creating a conflict between them.

    So, if you use XP and decide to change your IDE burner with a SATA one, be sure to format and reinstall windows to prevent further headaches and money loss.

    Cheers!!!

  13. sim says:

    So basically, as a FreeBSD Unix user, I now have to *install* Windows just to get rid of this Bluebirds cack?? Nice one. >:-(

  14. Bruce in ND says:

    THANK YOU for the link. I actually had it under my mouse on the LG site, but was so pissed at the Bluebirds I didn’t even realize it was there until I revisited the site to conform that it is a most current version of the firmware update (it is).

    I have two of the GH22NS50 drives I bought from TigerDirect.com in my most recent build. Using them to do anything other than play a DVD while Bluebirds was on them was about impossible. VISTA 64 doesn’t seem to like them much.

    The updater lets you choose the drives from a list, and then when one is done it calls for a reboot. I started the program again and did the second drive, and THEN rebooted.

    It looked like it was going well – the Bluebirds disappeared from both drives – and then the FUN began.

    Everything started burping and churning, and then my video cards puked. My triple monitor set up went totally out the window, my desktop image went postage-stamp size, the monitors “lost” their place and got their order mixed up, and when I went to open the graphics card control program it ran around the three screens until sliding off the bottom of one and disappearing.

    It took two cold restarts, but finally VISTA brought everything back into submission, the displays could be worked with and the monitor program could be worked with.

    At $29 each, the price was pretty good for the burners. At $75 an hour or so for tech work, it could have cost some to straighten out.

    But for FREE COLLEGE, it gave me a friggin Master’s Degree in Advanced Cursing.

    I will be looking VERY CLOSELY at any other LG purchases I might consider.

    Again, thank you folks for all the postings in this thread. It helped a LOT!!!

  15. Mr Flibble says:

    Works fine (with Crossover), but you need to run the firmware upgrader as root. The drive now has firmware version TN02, I didn’t do a reboot, and (as I expected) the kernel has no problems with this.

    There is the following in the kernel log, though. It seems to be nothing more than the drive resetting itself.

    ata4: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x1990000 action 0xe frozen
    ata4: SError: { PHYRdyChg 10B8B Dispar LinkSeq TrStaTrns }
    ata4: hard resetting link
    ata4: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
    ata4: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl 300)
    ata4.00: configured for UDMA/100
    ata4: EH complete

  16. Scott Smith says:

    check this out great site, had Ver. 03
    http://www.firmwarehq.com/LG/drives.html

  17. Antonruivo says:

    Hi.
    Do you know some kind of software to remove bluebirds firmware on Linux Ubuntu? I’ve tryed to update with the firmware posted on this site, but it doesn´t work, since Linux doesn´t recognize Windows software (binary code).
    <>

  18. Arun says:

    Dear Sir,
    I have LG super multi DVD Rewriter, Model : GH22NS50, VER. TN00.
    I can read and write CD-R, CD-RW also read DVD’s but can’t write DVD-R, DVD-RW.
    When I going to write a DVD-R its just 1% to 2% burn process complete and Disc come out with the error of PMA (Program Memory Area) update failure and also Disc at once- write failure.
    What’s the problem with my DVD- Rewriter, so i need your help.
    Please help me to solve the problem!

    I’m very appreciate

    Thanks and Regards

    Arun

  19. http://www.blikar.is/member/18847 says:

    An amazing opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

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