Lite-on CD RW stopped working - won't recognize disk

I've been backing up stuff to my CD-RW.  I just drag & drop thru Windows Explorer with no problem.  Suddenly, it has stopped working.  When I put a CD in (I've tried MANY CD-Rs & CD-RWs), the drive will flash, but nothing happens.  When I try to copy stuff over, I get a "please insert writeable CD.."  I tried putting a regular software CD in the CD-RW drive to see what happens & nothing shows on Explorer.  I click the drive & there's nothing there, no errors.  Is it possible that it just died?  It was $20 about 4 years ago.
TinaSCAsked:
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Hello TinaSC,

Especially as you mentioned it doesn't recognize disks anymore; the chances are quite high that this is indeed a failing drive, an easy check would be to test this drive in another computer or to try a different drive in this computer.
If you find out that the drive is indeed failing, there's not much use in even attempting to repair it, there's too much advanced electronics inside which might cause the problem, replacing the drive is definately cheaper.

Best regards,

LucF
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
>>Is it possible that it just died?
Yes very, the fact it doesn't recognise a recorded disk is not good.
Might be worth a clean if you have a cleaning kit, otherwise for your $20 you can get a better spec drive.
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TinaSCAuthor Commented:
How annoying.  I guess my best bet is to get a new one.  Since it's internal & on a 3.5 year old computer, maybe I'll just get an external one, so I don't have to mess with it. (If it was more than $20, I'd remove it & try a different computer like LucF said).  We don't have a CD burner at work, so I can use it there too.  Any brands to stay away from?  I saw a Philips 4x/4x/6x for about $20 or so.
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TinaSCAuthor Commented:
Forget that last comment about Phillips -- I didn't notice the 4x/4x/6x part until after I pasted it.
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
TinaSC,

I don't believe any real "bad" hardware is made nowadays, just look at the features you want in the device. If speed matters, get a fast one. If you want lightscribe, get one which supports those features.
Personally I've been using many brands including NEC, Plextor, Philips and never ran into mayor issue's with any of them. Some died, some got outdated, but that's not a reason for me to switch to another brand. Make sure you feel happy with the device you bought. (One advice though, please don't buy a second hand drive)

Regards,

LucF
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rindiCommented:
Don't just get a CD-RW. Today's DVD rewritable drives are practically the same price. I prefer Lite-On's because of the price advantage, and usually the quality is OK too.
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TinaSCAuthor Commented:
Ok, thanks again.. one last question before I close this one.  What do you think about buying a "refurbished" one?
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rindiCommented:
No point. Optical drives are cheap and can break often, a refurbished drive, if that even exists, won't be much cheaper than a new one, but is likely not to last very long.
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
TinaSC,

I can only agree with rindi on your last question. Getting a refurbished one is just not worth the saved money. New DVD-RW drives are pretty cheap and will come with a warranty period which will normally be shorter than the expected lifetime of the drive. At this moment, the cheapest DVD-RW drive I could find, a NEC ND-3550 16x Dual layer writer costs under €25 (about $33)

LucF
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