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Drive Cannot Read Discs (Windows 7)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq PCs with Windows 7.
Use the steps in this document to troubleshoot problems with CD and DVD drives reading discs.

Before you begin troubleshooting your CD drive in Windows 7

Can your drive read some types of discs but not others? If your drive is unable to read discs that were purchased from a store, those from a music or software company, skip this section and start troubleshooting at Step 1.
If the drive cannot read discs that were burned on another computer, read the following:
  • First, make sure the disc is able to play back from the computer that was used to burn it. If that computer cannot play it, something is wrong with the disc or the other computer's burn capabilities.
  • Make sure the disc type is compatible with both the computer burning the disc and the computer playing the disc (CD-R, DVD+R, etc...) See the document Disc Format and Compatibility 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.
  • Try 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 other computers.
  • Make sure that you have tried burning and playing from three different brands of blank discs before troubleshooting the drive.
After you have checked all of these items, if the drive is still incapable of reading discs that were burned from another computer, skip to Step 5: Reinstalling the drive in Device Manager .
If nothing happens in Windows when a disc is inserted into the drive, the drive might not be detected in Windows. Use these steps to see if the CD/DVD drive is recognized in Device Manager.
  1. Click Start , and enter Device Manager into the Search field. Click Device Manager.
    Figure 1: Opening Device Manager
    Opening Device Manager from the Search field
  2. Double-click DVD/CD-ROM drives.
    Figure 2: Device Manager
    Device Manager
  3. If a name for a CD/DVD drive is not listed in Device Manager, the rest of these troubleshooting steps will not help. Instead refer to the HP support document CD or DVD Drive is not Detected (Windows 7) .
    If the CD or DVD drive is listed, continue using these steps to troubleshoot problems related to disc.
One possible reason for a non-responsive CD/DVD drive is AutoPlay being turned disabled. 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 click Default Programs.
  2. Click Change AutoPlay settings.
    Figure 3: Default Programs
    Default Programs
  3. Make sure Use AutoPlay for all media and devices is selected. If not, select it.
    Figure 4: AutoPlay settings
    AutoPlay settings
  4. Select Ask me every time next to every CD and DVD item.
  5. Click Save when done.
Common causes for CD/DVD failures are damaged or poorly manufactured discs. Plastic discs can be easily scratched and 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 disc repair kits at minimal cost.
CAUTION: When using disc repair kits, allow extra drying time above that required by the manufacturer. If the liquid from the repair kit has not dried thoroughly, the liquid may come off of the disc when the disc spins up. This can damage the optics inside the drive and make matters much worse.
Use the following steps to help determine if discs or the drive need further attention:
  1. Insert a software CD (like a 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 initial 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.
Sometimes, a computer with an unresonsive CD/DVD drive can read discs from command prompts. 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. Click Start , and enter CMD into the Search field. Click cmd.exe.
    Figure 5: Opening Command Prompt
    Opening Command Prompt from the Start menu
  2. Enter diskpart at the command prompt.
    Figure 6: Command Prompt
    Command Prompt
  3. 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.
  4. Wait about 20 seconds for the disc to achieve full spin velocity.
  5. Type list volume at the command prompt.
  6. 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 7: List Volume
    List Volume window
  7. Type Exit and press the Enter key to return to the command prompt.
  8. 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:
  9. Press the Enter key, and then enter the following at the new command prompt: dir
  10. A list of files and folders should display on the screen. Note whether or not the list displays for the disc.
  11. Press Enter and type the following at the new command prompt: dir
  12. 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 8 to test the drive to see if the drive has truly failed.
One possible solution to fix an unresponsive CD/DVD drive is to 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 Search field. Click Device Manager.
  3. Double-click DVD/CD-ROM drives.
  4. Right-click the drive name and select Uninstall.
    Figure 8: Uninstall DVD/CD-ROM drive
    Device Manager window, uninstall DVD/CD-ROM drive
  5. Click Yes or OK to remove the CD or DVD listing.
  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.
Windows 7 includes a troubleshooter that checks hardware, including CD or DVD drives, for problems. Follow these steps to use the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter to check for problems with your CD/DVD drive:
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel.
  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems.
    Figure 9: System and Security section of Control Panel
    System and Security section of Control Panel
  3. Under Hardware and Sound, click Configure a device.
    Figure 10: Troubleshooting computer problems window
    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Windows checks for problems. If the troubleshooter detects problems, follow the instructions to fix the problem.
    If the drive is still missing after using the troubleshooter, continue to the next step.
If the computer still cannot read discs, 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 HP support document Using Microsoft System Restore in Windows 7 .
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.
If the computer still cannot read discs, turn on the computer and use HP Support Assistant or HP Hardware Diagnostics to test the drive for hardware failure.
If the drive fails, replace the drive.

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