CDRW not reading discs but it's not a hardware problem.

All of a sudden, I've lost my cdrw drive!!  My laptop has a Samsung CDRW SN 324S.  One of the updates I installed recently must have caused a problem because the system isn't reading CDs.  I see the drive on the system view but not the cd file contents.  The Windows troubleshooter tells me the component is working properly and I've gone through all the steps in the troubleshooter, uninstalling, reinstalling, etc.  Anyone had this problem?  Any help appreciated.  
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ElcruziiAsked:
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willcompCommented:
Boot notebook from a bootable CD to verify that drive is functional.  At this point you don't know whether it's a hardware problem or not.
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ElcruziiAuthor Commented:
Hi, Sage,
I have a Dell 5160 but don't have the boot disc.  Is there some other way to tell if it's the hardware?  
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Sylpheed777Commented:
XP installation disk should be bootable. Use that and try if you can boot it from there.

Update the drivers might help too. Even if it says it's working properly, but still go find the latest drivers for your CDRW.
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PUNKYCommented:
Did you recently install Roxio, Norton, or any software? Check in bios first see if system detect the drive correct.

Few articles below regarding CD or DVD errors:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314096/en-us
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321641/en-us
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308591/en-us
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/295782/en-us
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willcompCommented:
All you need is a bootable CD; e.g. Knoppix CD, the Ultimate Boot CD, HDD manufacturer's utility CD

Here's a link to UBCD.  However, you must be able to burn an iso file.  Can use another PC to burn.

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Booting from a CD removes Windows from the equation and is absolutely the best way to differentiate between hardware and OS problems.  Since drive shows up in My Computer as an available drive, problem is not likely an upper and lower filters issue.  You can remove them just to be sure.  Here's how:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/314060
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rindiCommented:
Use the following instructions to delete the upper and lower filters in your registry. This is a nondestructive fix. The filters are automatically recreated if they are needed.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/270008/en-us

If that helps, then uninstall any packet writing software you may have installed, like Roxio's DirectCD or Nero's InCD. Such software shouldn't be used at all, as first of all there is no official standard for CD's written with such a tool and therefore can only be read on a limited number of systems, and they also cause a lot of problems, typically including the one you are experiencing. When burning CD's you should use the full burning application and not the packet writer.

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ElcruziiAuthor Commented:
Hi, All,
Sylpheed777, I've searched all over the web for a driver for this thing and haven't found one.  Windows update tells me I have the latest one.  I haven't tried the bootable CD but will try to obtain one so I can try that later.  Punky, I have installed some software, not Roxio or Norton, though.  The system recognizes the drive but doesn't read discs.  I checked all the MS links and cleared the filter limits.  Willcomp, I'm going to get a boot CD and try your fix tomorrow.  I did remove the filters but it didn't help.  Rindi, I've deleted all my recording programs.  Thanks, everyone, for your help.  I'll let you know happens when I try the bootable CD.  
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rindiCommented:
I forgot to mention, and I'm not sure if it is in the link I posted, after clearing the upper and lower filters you should reboot the PC for the changes to take effect. Also recheck that they haven't reappeared again, and if they have delete them again, then reboot. You may also have to assign the optical drives a driveletter in diskmanagement after the registry edit and reboot.
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willcompCommented:
There are no additional drivers required.  Drivers for reading CD drives are included in Windows itself and have been since Windows 98.
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