A great deal of the DVD players on the market have the notorious area protection, including DVD-ROM units and DVD recorders. This protection prevents a DVD recorded for an area to be played in a DVD player that is bound to another area.  There are six possible areas: 1, USA and Canada; 2, Europe, Japan and South Africa; 3, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo and Indonesia; 4, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America; 5, India, Africa, Russia and the nations of the former Soviet Union; and 6, China.

Thus, a disk made for area 1 doesn’t play in DVD players configured to play only area 4 disks. There are also disks and players programmed as area “0”, which permits their reproduction in any DVD player or of type of disk.

In case of DVD-ROM units and DVD recorders, they are sold without a factory-programmed area.  When you use them for the first time, the area programming is done based on the disk you inserted (for instance, if you inserted an area 4 disk, the unit will be programmed as area 4). It is possible to change the unit area four to six times, depending on the model.  That is precisely the problem: after you alter the area of your unit some times, it will be “forever” blocked in the last programmed area.

To reprogram the area of your unit, you should use the utility that accompanies it.  In case your unit does not have a utility of this type, you can use Toshiba Region Select Utility (, that works with units from any manufacturer.

To be able to reproduce DVDs from any area without any type of blocking in your computer, you will need:

1. To unblock your DVD-ROM unit or DVD recorder;
2. To unblock your DVD reproduction program (WinDVD, PowerDVD, etc);
3. To unblock Windows.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.