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DVD drive doesn't playback DVDs anymore...

Strange issue:  the other day I tried to play a DVD and it doesn't work!  Eg, with The Matrix, I hear audio, screen is black during menu intro, then I see a menu but nothing works and then PowerDVD just freezes.  NDVD shows some green bars and you can see some intermittent frozen images behind them, but then also freezes.  MCE gives msg "cannot play dvd" due to missing driver/codec.  Same symptoms with a Mariah Carey DVD.  However, a DVD imported from Spain works fine, go figure...

I have reverted to an earlier build (Ghost image of drive) that definitely worked before (but now with no success) so I think I have ruled out the possibility of bad driver/codec or other software-related issues.  If it worked before, and this is the exact same drive image restored again, but now it doesn't work, that seems to point to a hardware issue...

Since I have added additional USB devices and suspected that maybe having too many resources/IRQs etc. would have caused the problem, I disconnected all peripherals before reloading the Ghost image again.  Still no luck...

...and now for the strange part.  Thinking that maybe the internal DVD-RW drive has somehow gotten damaged, I bought a Sony DRX-820 external DVD+-R DL drive to test out with my system:  SAME THING!

How can this be???  Exact image of drive when DVD playback was fine has been restored, so there can't be software issues.  Installed a brand new external drive that exhibits same problems, so it's not the internal drive itself.  Thinking maybe some MPEG-2 decoder chip on the graphics card has failed, I tried running a DVD that I had ripped to the hard drive...well, that works fine!  So it's not the graphics card either!!  

I know these are broad stroke troubleshooting measures, but usually I can at least isolate what area is causing the problem (ie, hardware, software, etc.) -- any thoughts/suggestions on troubleshooting this would be much appreciated!!!
3 Solutions
This is a bit of a guess but when you have played DVD's in the past did it give you some warnings about switching to different regions?
I think a lot of DVD-Rom drives are restricted to switch regions by up to 5 times, after the 5 time it switches it will keep that region coding. So if you continously switch between region 1 (USA) and 2 (UK) then it could be stuck or fixed on just one region.
Unless you have hacked the region coding that is!

You can install a whole bunch of up-to-date codecs by visiting http://www.free-codecs.com/download/K_Lite_Codec_Pack.htm

Have you tried uninstalling and re-installing PowerDVD?
Check if your registry has "upper or lower filters" and remove them: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314060
devildog2kAuthor Commented:
using M$ codec checker utility, seems cyberlink's codec is compatible to both WMP10 and MCE and so is set to default.  i got it to work last night on intervideo windvd 6, so it looks like PowerDVD's codec may have become faulty/outdated?  or maybe it is something dealing with CSS?  when i use DVD Decrypter to rip the movie onto the hard drive, it does work in PowerDVD...

i will try your suggestions tonight and see what happens...thx!
The ripped movie is working because the codec it uses is different from original DVD format. That is the reason you are able to choose the movie quality/file size during the ripping process.


Sreejith S {email removed by Callandor}
devildog2kAuthor Commented:
hmm, started working but not sure why, will split points...thx for help!
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