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How to troubleshoot / repair dvd, cd drive

It is very common these days to be using Windows 2000/XP/Vista and have your CD/DVD drive stop functioning. The causes might be loose power or IDE cables, broken drives, or corrupt drivers. The latter is the most common. Often times, someone has upgraded from a previous Operating System, or installed (incompatible) CD/DVD burning software.

The symtom is always like this. When you put a CD-R in it shows a little disc with an hour glass on the desktop. When we click on the drive it says, "please insert disc" as if there is not one in there already. It does not matter if it is a blank disc or one with something on it. The following are some steps you need to take to fix the problems:

1. Check if there is scratches on the dvd, or cd, which cause the problem. You can double check with another dvd / cd drive. You can use car polish to minimize scratch effects when playing the dvd. Polish your CD outwards and make a backup copy. Toothpastes, polishes and cleaners will fix scratches to some degree, but you have to be careful using them. Cleaners containing bleach can cause damage, while alcohol based cleaners do not cause much damage.

2. Check for viruses, Trojans and Spyware. First check for and remove all spyware, adware and then run an antivirus program.

3. There may be a problem with the drivers. Go to device manager, uninstall the CD/DVD-ROM drive and then install it again. If this does not work, try getting updated drivers from the CDROM/DVDROM drive manufacturers website and reinstall them.

4. If the CD/DVD-ROM drive tray is not opening, check if power supply cable to the CDROM/DVDROM drive may be loose or disconnected or if the eject button on CDROM/DVDROM drive if malfunctioning.

5. The CD/DVD-ROM drive lens may be dusty or dirty. The lens can be cleaned using a Q-tip moistened with alcohol or buy a brush based CDROM drive cleaning system.

6. Check if the data is properly written onto the CDs. When data is written to a CD ROM it has to be finalized (closed). All CD/DVD-ROM drives may not be able to read an open CD or DVD. If the CD is burned at the fastest possible rate in the CD/DVD-RW, the quality of the CD will be poor and it may not work on all CD/DVD-ROM drives.

7. If you accidentally used a marker pen to mark the wrong side of a CD or DVD the marking can be removed by isopropyl alcohol and a lint free cloth to remove the mark.

8. If it reads DvD's and not CD's, the drive might be broken and needs to be replaced. A DvD/CD Drive has two lasers, one for DvD's and the other for CD's. The reason for that is that different wavelengths are needed to read the different media, and a single laser can only emit light in one certain wavelength.

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