I have the exact same problem as described in the post titled "Samsung cdrw/dvd not working properly - Windows XP - Dell Desktop." I have tried the following:
reinstalled the drivers
Upgraded Roxio Easy CD Creator from 5.01 to 188.8.131.52
deleted upper and lower filters from registry and restarted PC
cleaned the lens
changed the boot order and booted from the OS CD (this worked fine -- I could boot from the OS CD)
Some audio CDs play, but not all; some software-installation CDs work, but not all; CDs I've burned on this drive are no longer recognized by this drive. Do you still think the problem is the drive going bad? Is there something else I can try? Dell Tech Support tells me that they don't support XP service packs beyond sp2 (I have sp3 installed) and I got zero help from Samsung. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.