Jump to content

Drive Cannot Read Discs (Windows Vista)

  • PrintPrint
This document pertains to HP and Compaq PCs desktop computers with Windows Vista.
Use the steps in this document to troubleshoot problems with CD and DVD drives reading discs.

Before you begin

If the drive cannot read discs that were made from a record label or from a software company, skip this section and start troubleshooting at Step 1.
If the drive in your computer cannot read discs that were burned on another computer or drive, read the following:
  • Make sure the burned discs are able to play back from the computer they were burned from.
  • Make sure the disc type is compatible with both systems (CD-R, DVD+R, etc...) See the document CD and DVD Format Information .
  • Make sure the disc burning session was closed after the disc was finished. See the help section in the disc burning software that was used to burn the disc.
  • Make sure that you have tried burning the disc at a lower speed. Even though the disc type may be compatible with a 16x burn rate, the playback may be much less compatible in other drives. Try burning the disc at 4x before playing it from the computer.
  • Make sure that you have tried at least three discs that each use a different brand of blank media.
After you have checked all of these items, if the drive is still incapable of reading discs that were burned in another drive, skip to Step 6: Reinstalling the drive in Device Manager .

Step 1: Checking if the drive is in Device Manager

  1. Click Start , and enter device manager into the Start Search field.
  2. Click the plus sign (+) next to DVD/CD-ROM Drives category.
    Figure 1: Example of a DVD Drive name in Device Manager
  3. If a name for a CD/DVD drive does not appear or is listed with errors, close Device Manager and use the HP support document CD or DVD Drive is not Detected (Windows Vista) .
    If the CD or DVD drive is listed, continue using these steps to troubleshoot problems related to disc.

Step 2: Make sure AutoPlay is set

If AutoPlay is set to take no action when discs are inserted or if AutoPlay is not enabled, nothing may happen when a disc is inserted. Even though you may want to open discs through Windows Explorer or other software means, use the following steps to make sure AutoPlay is enabled so that discs can be more easily tested in future steps:
  1. Click Start , and then enter autoplay into the Start Search field.
  2. Make sure Use AutoPlay for all media and devices is selected. If not, select it.
    Figure 2: AutoPlay selection page in Control Panel
  3. Select Ask me every time next to every CD and DVD item.
  4. Click Save when done.

Step 3: Checking discs

Common causes for CD/DVD failures is damaged or poorly manufactured discs. Plastic discs can be easily scratched and the data on the disc can be destroyed if left in the sun. Discs damaged by sun must be replaced. If a disc is scratched, try to clean or repair the disc. Most home electronic stores offer repair and cleaning kits for discs at minimal cost.
Use the following steps to help determine if discs or the drive need further attention:
  1. Insert a software CD (like game or business software) into the CD or DVD drive and note what happens.
    • If an AutoPlay window opens, the drive is able to read the disc. The data stored on the disc may still be bad, but an AutoPlay window proves that the drive can read data on the disc.
    • If nothing happens or the computer stops responding, the laser is unable to read the intitial startup information on the disc. Press the eject button to retrieve the disc and unlock the computer.
  2. Try more software CDs to get an idea for how the drive is functioning. Insert at least three more software discs in the same manner. Use discs that are in good condition and are known to work in other drives. Note what happens.
    • If any discs fail to open, set the failed discs aside.
    • If all discs pass, the drive can read the startup data on the discs and the drive is good. Bad data, scratches, or smudges on discs is preventing the drive from reading the data. Repair or replace the bad discs.
  3. Repeat these steps using music CDs and DVDs (if your computer has a DVD drive). Use discs from different manufacturers and recording labels. This can help determine if the drive has a problem reading certain types of disc formats.
  4. Once you have tested several types of discs, try using the failed discs in another drive in another computer to see if they can be read.
    • If the discs fail in another drive on another computer, the discs are probably bad.
    • If the discs can be read in the other computer, continue using these steps to troubleshoot the drive.

Step 4: Reading a disc from a command prompt

Confirm that the drive can read discs from a command prompt. Use the following steps to test the discs and the drive from a command prompt:
  1. Shut down the computer and wait 5 seconds.
  2. Turn on the computer, and press the F8 key repeatedly at the logo screen until a Advanced Boot Options screen appears.
  3. Select Repair your computer.
  4. Select a keyboard layout for the Country/Region, select your user name enter your password (if one is used). Do not use the Administrator User Account.
  5. Click Command Prompt in the System Recovery Options window.
    Figure 3: Windows Recovery Options: Command Prompt
    System Recovery Options window
  6. Enter diskpart at the command prompt.
  7. Insert a disc that contains files into the drive that is having the problem. Use a type of disc that is not being recognized in the drive. Good discs to use are game or software discs that were purchased from a store. Do not use music discs. If the DVD drive can read CDs but not DVDs, insert a DVD movie.
  8. Wait about 20 seconds for the disc to achieve full spin velocity.
  9. Type list volume at the command prompt.
  10. Press Enter and look at the list. Find and remember the drive letter (Ltr column) next to the CD or DVD drive Type that contains the disc.
    Figure 4: Command Prompt window
    Diskpart window
  11. Type Exit and press the Enter key to return to the command prompt.
  12. Type the drive letter for the drive that contains the disc followed by a colon (:). For example, if the drive letter was listed as E in the diskpart list, you would type the following: E:
  13. Press the Enter key, and then enter the following at the new command prompt: dir
  14. A list of files and folders should display on the screen. Note whether or not the list displays for the disc.
  15. Press Enter and type the following at the new command prompt: dir
  16. Do one of the following tasks depending on what is shown on the screen:
    • If a list of filenames and folders is shown on the screen, the disc data is recognized by the drive. The issue is not likely related to the drive or the disc. It is probably related to the software configuration in Windows. Continue troubleshooting.
    • If the message "device is not ready" is shown or the screen fails to update after 30 seconds, the disc or the drive may be bad. Repeat these steps with a few other discs of the same type to make sure the problem is not related to the disc. If other discs of the same type cannot be read, skip to Step 7 to test the drive to see if the drive has truly failed.

Step 5: Reinstalling the drive in Device Manager

Remove and reinstall the drive name in Device Manager:
  1. Remove any discs that may be in the drive.
  2. Click Start , and enter device manager into the Start Search field.
  3. Click the plus sign (+) next to DVD/CD-ROM Drives (or similar) category.
  4. Right-click the drive name and select Uninstall.
    Figure 5: Device Manager: Uninstalling DVD/CD drive
  5. Click Yes or OK to remove the CD or DVD listing. Do not restart the computer.
  6. Close Device Manager and restart the computer.
  7. When Windows opens, wait until the Found new hardware wizard fully configures the drive.
  8. When done, use the CD or DVD drive again to see if it can read discs. If it works, you are done. If it does not, go to the next step.
    NOTE:At this point, if the drive can read some discs but not others, the drive firmware may require an upgrade. Go to the HP Software and Driver Download page for your computer model and install any firmware upgrades that apply to the drive in your computer.

Step 6: Use Microsoft System Restore

If the computer still cannot read the disc, use System Restore to go back to a time when the drive was known to be functioning. For more information about using System Restore, use the the HP support document Using Microsoft System Restore in Windows Vista .
When done, use the CD or DVD drive again to see if it can read discs. If it works, you are done. If it does not, go to the next step.

Step 7: Testing for a failed CD/DVD drive

If the computer still cannot read discs, turn on the computer and use HP Hardware Diagnostics to help determine if the drive has failed.
For more information about testing for CD/DVD drive hardware failures, refer to the HP support document Using HP Hardware Diagnostics Tools to Test for Hardware Failures .
If the drive fails, replace the drive.

HP Support forums

Find solutions and collaborate with others on the HP Support Forum
HP.comHP on FacebookHP on TwitterHP on YouTubeHP on Linked InHP on FlickrHP on Google+