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Diagnosing a bad CD / DVD Drive

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Sometimes you have a CD / DVD drive that will not show up in Windows Explorer under My Computer.  There could be a number of reasons for this, which this article will discuss.   I will cover a few basic ways you can try to find the problem yourself.

Some of the symptoms of a bad CD / DVD drive are

1. It is loud

This can happen if there is a disk in the drive tray or not.

2. Computer will not read the disk.

When you put a disk in, it may not show up in Windows.
Tip: Download a LINUX LIVE CD and boot it up.  See if you can put a CD in and it works properly. I use one that you can download from here: http://software.opensuse.org/113/en If you can boot from this live CD then the drive is working properly to boot into Linux at this point.

This can help greatly in figuring out if it is a Windows Problem or a Hardware Problem.

3. The system will not recognize the drive at all.

It will not show up in the BIOS, Device Manager, or it may have a splat next to it in the device manager.

4. Software conflict

I have seen a conflict with other software that cause a problem in the registry and the drive will not show up in the Device Manager.  You can check it out buy going into RegEdit.
 
If you have never been in your registry before I would recommend you not to try this check as you may delete the wrong key and cause yourself more problems. If you would like to try this, then here we go.

1. Click Start RUN and in the Run box type regedit.
2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Class
3. Under the Class entry, double click on {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
4. In the right-hand pane, click on the UpperFilters entry
5. Make sure the UpperFilters entry is highlighted, press Delete, then Yes.
6. In the right-hand pane, click on the LowerFilters entry and delete it as well.

Close out of the registry editor and reboot.

5. In Device Manager, but not My Computer

If a drive is showing up in Device Manager but not My Computer, then Uninstall the drive in Device Manager and reboot and let Windows pick up the drive again.

6. Clean the drive

Take some compressed air in a can and open the drive and blow it out.

7. Bad connection?

Try taking the drive out of the laptop and inserting it back in.  That may fix a bad connection problem.  While you have the drive out of the laptop take a soft toothbrush and run it over the connections a few times.

Of course if you were able to boot up a LIVE CD of Linux, and the drive functions properly there, then most likely it is a Windows problem.

If you have tried all this and the drive still will not work in Windows or Linux and does not show up in the BIOS then odds are your drive is probably bad.  You might try using the drive in another computer as a final diagnostic test.
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