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Some CD's won't read

Posted on 1998-11-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-04
I'm a little weak on CD-ROM'S (it seems). A friend is having trouble reading some CD's. The CD-ROM speeds up and slows down as if it's searching and not finding. Eventually the BLUE SCREEN shows with instructions to insert or clean the CD or a runtime error or other error messages that she hasn't written down. Sometimes a CD will appear to work fine for a while and then the problems start (I've seen this). This happens with about 3% of the CD'S she tries.
The CD's are clean and new with no visible surface problems.
Here's the system: PII 333, 64MB, (2) hdd's = 6.3GB (4+GB free), 24X ATAPI CD-ROM (brand unknown- came w/ 'puter), win95 B.
The CD-ROM drivers for DOS & Win are both loaded and no conflicts show. This happened also when only the Win drivers were installed. I had her install the DOS drivers so she would have access to the CD-ROM for a Win reinstall.
Norton benchmark test sees no problem with CD-ROM read time and seek times are acceptable. Most CD's run just fine.
Is this just a problem with a cheap CD-ROM?
One of the CD's is the Lotus SmartSuite that came w/ the 'puter & others are game CD's.
Sometimes the problem causes the whole system to lock up (once or twice).
Any ideas?
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Question by:jimat
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5 Comments
 
LVL 32

Accepted Solution

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jhance earned 320 total points
ID: 1128527
My vote would be a marginal CDROM drive.  Some of these are just so poorly made (so that they can sell retail for $29.95) that QA is virtually non-existent.  It's possible that one CD disk out of a bunch would be bad but to find several disks that are bad in a small group like you have leads to the conclusion that the problem is in the drive itself.  If the system is under warranty, get the drive replaced. If not, buy a "good" one.  That is, one that costs a few $$ more than the cheap ones.  I like Toshiba myself but Sony has also served me well.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:vikiing
ID: 1128528
The cleaning of lens can be the solution for you. With a lot of PATIENT, try this:

 Get a cottonets box

 Get an Autopolish bottle (yes !!, "Autopolish" !)

 Unplug machine and dissasemble CD drive. Make up a diagram of where screws are removed from and put them in a tiny box.

 With a vacuum-cleaner and a tiny brush, get rid of the ton of dust and dirt that any equipment store at its innards.

 If you can manually activate the tray, just do it. Laser lens would be at your sight. If you can't, power on temporarily the machine (watch out !!), eject the tray, and power off.

 Pick up a cottonette and remove VERY SMOOTHLY all dust from lens and from neighbourhood. Drop cottonette away.

 Pick another cottonette and wet it with only A BIT of Autopolish. Keep in mind you're not polishing the car, but you're cleaning a some-millimeters delicate lens.

 With circular movements and with smooth pressure, wipe lens surface with the wet cottonette. After letting dry a few seconds, with the other point of cottonete, wipe out all the remainings of dried Autopolish. All these operations must be done with EXTREME care, smoothness and without doing too much pressure.

 With a magnifying glass, inspect lens; is must appear as a crystal, with no rest of Autopolish and/or dust.

 Reassemble the drive, and let's the game begin.


I've used this method many times, with optimal results almost in every case (I've even took to life an ancient 4x-CD, ready to go to trash can); there was only once where it didn't work: a unit which fell down from a 2m shelf in high, and the lens lost its alignment with no way to recover it).


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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1128529
Are the "bad" (in *her* CD-reader) CD-ROMs
still "bad" in the CD-reader in *your* computer?
If so, then it could be the media.
If not, then it's like to be her CD-reader.
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Expert Comment

by:trinwo
ID: 1128530
I would right click on "my computer" and click on properties.  Next, click the device manager tab, and then double click on the hard disk controller entry.  Check if you have any entry with "bus mastering" in the title.  If you do, double click on it, and then single click the settings tab.  Look for the dropdown that probably reads "default"  Change it to "both channels enabled"  Close out, and reboot.  This will work if the cdrom is good.
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Author Comment

by:jimat
ID: 1128531
Tried everybody's suggestions and a new CD-ROM drive cured the problem!
Cheap *** CD-ROM !!!
Her computer company  > Royal Computers in southern California<    wouldn't  even respond to a service request. We tried email, fax, and voice mail. Nothing.
Stay away from this company. Definite rip off  !!!
Thanks for everybody's help.
Later
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