CD/DVD RW drives fail to recognize blank writeable disks

What could cause disk burners in my PC to fail to recognize the presence of blank disks?  I don't know whether this is really a hardware or software issue.
PC = Dell Dimension 4100, OS = W2K (with all updates) - four years old.
HDD = 19GB on primary IDE alone.
Secondary IDE has DVD-ROM drive as master, CD-RW drive as slave, factory-installed by Dell.
For about first two years, CD-RW worked normally, with Easy CD Creator Deluxe 4 (ECCD4).  Then ECCD4 started hanging up with a blank disk present (CD-R or CD-RW), but I could fool it by not inserting the disk until the last click before recording.
I now have an HP camera and software, including HP Memories Disk Creator (HPMDC), which does not tolerate the presence of ECCD4.  With ECCD4 out, HPMDC is installed, but refuses to recognize presence of any blank disk.
I thought this meant the CD-RW drive had failed, so bought a replacement, BENQ DW-1620, which comes with Sonic RecordNow! Deluxe 7.10 and Sonic DLA.  This combo also generally refuses to recognize presence of a blank disk - I tried CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RW.  By putting the drive alone as master on secondary IDE and new ATA66 cable, I did manage to fool RecordNow with a DVD-RW, CD-R, and DVD+R, using the same procedure as above.  However, DLA doesn't work, nor does HPMDC.
I have tried various IDE configurations to no effect.
I have also tried different DVD burner units - the same BENQ model and HP DVD630i - to no effect.  No problem with BIOS and OS recognition of whatever unit is installed.
The computer is old, but I hoped to get another year, then transfer the burner to a new one.
wdmcdonaldAsked:
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wesly_chenCommented:
> HP Memories Disk Creator (HPMDC), which does not tolerate the presence of ECCD4
Could you uninstall HPMDC and re-install ECCD4 or Nero (another famous CD burning software) to see if the blank CD being
recognized?

What's the CD burning software which comes with your new BENQ DW-1620? Use that one first.

Wesly
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nobusCommented:
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nobusCommented:
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wdmcdonaldAuthor Commented:
Re the comment from Wesly Chen: The software that came with the BENQ is Sonic RecordNow! Deluxe and Sonic DLA, which are currently installed at the same time as HPMDC.  I am having no luck with them, apart from the "fooling" described above.  I have not tried reinstalling ECCD4 yet, and I don't have Nero (I thought Nero only worked with the specific models it was sold with?).  
Re the comments from nobus: 21197705 doesn't seem to be the same problem.  21145236 may be relevant; I'm out of time now and will try to check tomorrow.
Further comments:
I did find and install a Dell BIOS upgrade today, but it made no difference.
What strikes me about this problem is that it seems independent of both the CD/DVD burning software and the CD/DVD burner model.  The problem started with one burner and software, and has continued with every other burner/software combo I have tried.
Thanks for your support!  To be continued...
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nobusCommented:
Why a C grade then??
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