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PC Troubleshooting the CD Rom / DVD Drive

How to troubleshoot a Windows PC CD Rom Drive.

  • Will it boot from a recovery CD? If so then the drive is working and it is a Windows software problem (usually drivers).

  • Reset the BIOS (Re-boot and tap the F2 Key, Press F9 (Default Settings), Press F10 (Save and Exit)

  • Uninstall and replace the drivers using Device Manager under Administrator Privileges - right click on My Computer / Properties / Hardware / Device Manager - expand CD Rom/DVD line item. Right click on the items below and select uninstall drive on the pop-up menu. Re-boot the system and Plug and Play will automatically detect the CD Rom drive and re-install the drivers for you.

  • Try a different media - some brands will just not work correctly with a given CD Rom drive. Watch out for compatibility problems with Maxell, Memorex and Macromedia CDs.

  • Check for noises - ticking noise => check CD ensure that it is not cracked. Check to ensure that the CD is mounted correctly on the spindle. Ensure the drive has enough time to spin up.

  • Access Light - is light on?

  • Is the CD Clean?

  • Check error messages in Event Viewer. Start / Settings / Control Panel / Administrative Tools / Computer Management (or Event Viewer)

  • Check for software updates - check your manufacturer's web site for software updates and drive updates. Check for QSI firmware updates.

  • For DVD - trying to write to DVD but it is READ ONLY?

  • Perform Diagnostics Test. This methodology varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

  • Perform a Recovery or Operating System Repair preferably.

  • Send in for service if all above fails.
Here is another approach to try:

Sometimes drivers get corrupted so the first thing is to delete the drivers and then let Windows automatically re-install them for us.

FOR WINDOWS 95/98/Me you must use SAFE MODE (Press F8 at startup).

Log on as administrator and remove the drivers for the DVD and the controller secondary channel. You must do both. Create a checkpoint, if possible, before performing any updates.

Right click on My Computer / Properties / Hardware / Device Manager

Click on the + to expand DVD / CD Rom Drives - this will show your DVD drive. Right Click and select remove/uninstall.

Click on the + to expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controller - this will show your channels. Select Secondary Channel and then right click and remove/uninstall. DO NOT DO THE PRIMARY CHANNEL as that is your hard drive.

Shutdown your system and then reboot.

Let Windows detect the NEW HARDWARE and then try the DVD again.

Other Potential Issues:
Check the media - what brand of DVD are you using?
There are known issues with some brands of DVD-R, DVD-RW.
Check your registry settings for the DVD.
Check the BIOS to ensure that IRQ 15 is assigned to the Secondary IDE Channel

Check out WinGuides for registry tweaks and driver links at WinGuides

Export your current registry before performing any tweaks.

Please check to ensure that your master/slave is configured correctly. See Tweak XP

From Device Manager:
Click on IDE ATA/ATAPI controller and then open the Secondary IDE channel.
Click on the Advanced Settings tab.
If your DVD-ROM is the master and your CDRW is a slave then change the device 0 Transfer Mode to "PI0 Mode" using the drop down menu
If your CD-ROM is master and the DVD-ROM is slave then change the device 1 Transfer Mode to PI0 Mode using the drop down menu.

Restart your computer.

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