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Optical drive won't read CD or DVD, but is OK with program discs


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#1 dennyls

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 04:14 AM

Hi, Hope someone can help. I've spent about 3 hours (and a hundred bucks) on the phone with HP support, with no solution.

I have an HP Pavilion laptop, running Vista 32 bit, SP2. My optical drive, a DVD/CD read/write device, has worked fine for the past couple of years. Tonight, for the first time in a couple months, I attempted to watch a DVD. The DVD would not "load"--that is, when I put it in the drive, the drive's light flashed, and I could hear it spin--but nothing happened. The auto run window did not pop up. I then tried an audio CD--with the same results. I then tried a program disc (a card game)--and while it appeared a bit slow, it loaded and installed the software just fine.

Device manager says that everything is ok with the drive. (See attached screen shot). I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling the driver--to no avail. Vista says there is no updated driver available, and I can't find one on the HP web site.

Searching the web, I found several posts relative to deleting the upper and lower filters in the registry. I did this (and unfortunately screwed up the registry back-up)--it did not resolve the problem, but broke my iTunes program. (It complains that these settings are missing). I ran the Microsoft "Fix It" tool found at:

http://support.microsoft.com/mats/cd_dvd_drive_problems/en-us

It said it found problems, but could not fix them.

During my time on the phone with HP, we did some tests with the command prompt--a list volume (?). When I had a DVD or audio CD in the drive, it indicated "no media" under status. When I put the program disc in, it listed status as "healthy".

When I attempt to launch Roxio Creator Basic--I get an error note that all my drives are "disabled". As I noted above, Device Manager says they are OK. (And I have tried disabling and enabling it in Device Manager). When I run iTunes diagnostics, it says it finds my drive, but there is no media in it (there is).

I have loaded various software packages over the past several months--so I assume that something I loaded is conflicting with the optical drive.

I've also "repaired" and updated my copy of iTunes. Again, to no avial.

The HP rep suggested a total restore --to out of box condition. I would very much like to avoid this.

I've also tried to restore from a couple of month old restore points--but both of the restores failed for "unspecified" reasons.

I'd appreciate any suggestions on what to do next, or where to look.

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#2 dennyls

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 11:53 AM

I RESOLVED THE PROBLEM.

It was, believe it or not, just cleaning the lens on the drive. After just about giving up, I thought, as a last ditch try, to very gently swab the lens with a swab dipped in alcohol. That worked like a charm.

I don't understand why the software disc(s) read ok, but not the CD or DVD. If anyone has thoughts, I'd like to understand it.

But to all those who read this, thanks for your time!

#3 Platypus

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 08:17 PM

If the CD and DVD that couldn't be read were burned discs, and the software installation disc(s) were commercial pressed CDs, then that's a common enough symptom. A dirty laser lens diffuses the laser beam, writeable discs reflect less light so may not return a readable signal. The silver commercially pressed discs reflect much more of the beam, so are easier to read, even if the beam is struggling a bit to get through some gunk on the lens.

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#4 dennyls

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 08:51 PM

Platypus,

Well, one of the DVD's was likely a semi-homemade (purchased, but from a low total count 'run' from a trip), but the other DVDs I tried, and the audio CDs were commercial. I only tried one data/program disc--so perhaps had I tried a second one, it too would have failed. But that sure led me down the wrong path (the one disc that read)--I ruled out all hardware issues based on that.

Thanks for the reply!

#5 Platypus

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 08:57 PM

No worries, probably just a chance combination of discs that were hard/easy to read. It's nice when a lens clean sorts out a drive.

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