Blank CDs not recognized

Okay, so here's a quick rundown on the problem, with some more info coming when I get to go to my pal's place and examine his stuff for FCC numbers etc...

Got this sony cd-writer that won't recognize a blank cd anymore. It reads your usual cd fine, but whenever I try to burn to it, it fails to see the blank CDs I insert. No matter what software I try using, either. I went with the standard WinXP copy-to-cd, with Nero and with CloneCD, none of them could see it. So I thought it would be a problem with the Operating System, some corrupted driver or whatnot, but get this :
*I tried it with Knoppix (a live-disk debian linux) and it wouldn't recognize the blank disk, even though it reads 'official' or 'copied' disk without a problem*

I tried medias from different companies too, some memorex, some sony's and some cheap'ass verbatim.. no luck.

I'm pretty sure it's a hardware problem and since the drive is somewhat old (2 years or so) that my friend is just sh!t outta luck, but I'd like some confirmation or maybe a tip or two before tossing it...

Thanks :)
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PaulPositionAsked:
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doug_dougCommented:
If possible, try testing another CD-RW in your friend's machine.  If it works correctly, you're probably found your problem.
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shivsaCommented:
It sounds like it is dead.
if it is recognized by the BIOS and Windows because they read the type off of the drive itself. then it must be  Its  laser to be able to read discs is dead.
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dbruntonCommented:
No, the laser can read commercial disks.  Its just unable to read/write CDRs.

Probably a hardware failure.

But the ultimate test is to put it into another machine.   If it don't work there, then you've got yourself an expensive CDROM drive.
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IGneon10Commented:
Try downloading and installing the latest software and firmware for the drive.
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lidskyCommented:

The laser lens is probably dirty. The reflectivity from CD-R is lower than that of commercial disks. Try cleaning the lens with a cleaning disk, it may or may not help. At any rate CD writers are fairly cheap these days so it may be easier to just replace it.
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doug_dougCommented:
Yeah, they are fairly cheap and buying a new one is probably going to be the easiest, quickest, and overall best solution.  Staples and stores like it have deals on CD-RWs just about every week.  You can usually get them for around $20 after a mail-in rebate.
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artmcclureCommented:
If you have a ide "bus master" program, that can do it, sometimes. Try uninstalling it, then reading CD.
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PaulPisces1964Commented:
I seem to remember some software could interfere with writing to CD's, I have seen somthing like this happen on two PCs in the last year or so. Not sure exactly the cause, but reinstalling XP fixed it.

I might be tempted to run Ad-Aware (www.lavasoft.nl) on the PC, I seem to recall a thread about this somewhere, that spyware could do this, as well as "copy protection" in some commercial software.
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PaulPositionAuthor Commented:
(Just found out I left this question opened..)

Okay, so I test the drive in another machine, same problems. The drive is obviously dying and while it's still able to read disks, it was trashed in favor of a new one.

Thanks (oh well!) to those who suggested getting rid of it.
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