Knowledge Base

Optical Disk Drive is unable to read/recognize a disc



This article provides information on how to troubleshoot issues related to the CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive on your Dell Desktop or Laptop computer. The instructions below will help you diagnose and resolve issues if your CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive is unable to read or recognize any discs that you insert into the drive.

Table of Contents:

  1. Symptom
  2. Troubleshooting steps

Symptom

The CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive on your computer may not be able to recognize or read any discs. My Computer or File Explorer (it was called Windows Explorer in Microsoft Windows 7 and earlier versions of Microsoft Windows) may show the CD, DVD or Blu-ray icon but may show a blank screen or an error message when you try to access the contents of the disc. This issue may occur with pre-recorded discs and with recordable (R) or rewritable (RW) discs.

Use the troubleshooting instructions below if your CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive is not able to read any discs or unable to recognize any discs. The instructions will help you resolve the problem in some instances if the drive has not failed completely.

The instructions below can be used for both internal and external CD, DVD or Blu-ray drives but some of the fundamentals might be a little different.

The instructions below applies to the following Microsoft Windows Operating Systems, however some instructions may slightly vary with older version of Microsoft Windows (Windows Vista or Windows XP):

  • Microsoft Windows 10
  • Microsoft Windows 8 or 8.1
  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Microsoft Windows Vista
  • Microsoft Windows XP

Troubleshooting steps

Before you begin troubleshooting:

  • Try a known-good disc before proceeding with the troubleshooting steps. Use a pre-recorded CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc depending on the type of drive that is installed on your computer.
  • Most Dell computers are shipped with Dell Resource DVD:
    1. Try to access the contents of the disc using My Computer or File Explorer (it was called Windows Explorer in Microsoft Windows 7 and earlier versions of Microsoft Windows)
    2. Try to boot from the Dell Resource DVD to verify that the issue is with the drive and not the disc itself.
  • If you are using a recordable (R) or rewritable (RW) disc that was written on another computer, make sure that the disc is able to playback on the computer that was used to burn/record it.
  • Verify that the type of disc you are using is compatible with the drive that is installed on your computer. Refer to the Dell knowledgebase article Guide to Optical Disk Drives and Optical Discs.
  • If you are using a recordable (R) or rewritable (RW) disc, verify that the disc burning/writing session was closed correctly. Refer to the User Manual of the disc recording software that you are using.
  • Try different brands of recordable (R) or rewritable (RW) disc.

Click on the troubleshooting steps below for more instructions. If the issue is not resolved, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

  1. Verify the optical disk drive is recognized in Device Manager
  2. Set the AutoPlay settings in windows to defaults
  3. Run the Dell PC Diagnostics on the Optical Disk Drive (CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive)
  4. Disable the DMA mode of the optical disk drive
  5. Run the Microsoft CD/DVD Fix-it troubleshooter
  6. Install the latest BIOS update on your computer
  7. Update or reinstall the driver for the optical disk drive
  8. Uninstall and reinstall the Dell provided playback software (DVD or Blu-ray movie playback issues)
  9. Perform a Windows System Restore
  10. Restore your computer to factory defaults

Verify the optical disk drive is recognized in Device Manager

Ensure that the optical disk drive is listed in Device Manager. If not, refer to the Dell knowledgebase article Optical Drive is not recognized in Windows.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type devmgmt.msc then press the Enter key.
  3. In the Device Manager window, expand DVD/CD-ROM drives. Verify that the optical disk drive is listed.
    If the drive is not listed, refer to the Dell knowledgebase article Optical Disk Drive is not recognized in Microsoft Windows.
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Set the AutoPlay settings in windows to defaults

AutoPlay feature in Microsoft Windows examines newly discovered removable media and devices and, based on content such as pictures, music or video files, it helps launch an appropriate application to play or display the content. If AutoPlay is disabled, nothing may happen when a disc is inserted. Follow the steps below to set the AutoPlay settings to defaults.

For Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 8:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type control then press the Enter key.
  3. Double-click the AutoPlay icon.
  4. Ensure you check the Use AutoPlay for all media and devices check box.
  5. Select every drop-down menu and choose Ask me every time next to every DVD, Blu-ray, and CD item, and then click Save.

For Windows 7 and Windows Vista:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type control then press the Enter key.
  3. Click Hardware and sound icon, and then click AutoPlay.
  4. Under Media, select Ask me every time in each drop-down menu, and then click Save.

For Windows XP:

  1. On the desktop screen, double-click on My Computer icon.
  2. Right-click the CD or DVD Drive icon and select Properties.
  3. In the Properties window, click on AutoPlay tab.
  4. Click the Restore Defaults button. Restart the computer.
    If the button is greyed out, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.
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Run the Dell PC Diagnostics on the Optical Disk Drive (CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive)

The optical disk drive diagnostic may require you to have certain types of optical media available, such as a CD-RW, DVD-RW, or Blu-ray disc. Before beginning the diagnostic, ensure you have the proper media that you wish to troubleshoot.

To run a Diagnostic on your CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive, browse to the Optical Drive Diagnostic and follow the instructions

Note: It is required that you click on the above link on the Dell computer that you are having trouble with. Dell System Detect and Dell SupportAssist application will be installed to run a diagnostic on the devices of your computer. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation if the applications are not available on your Dell computer.

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Disable the DMA mode of the optical disk drive

To disable the DMA mode on the optical disk drive, follow these instructions:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type devmgmt.msc then press the Enter key.
  3. In the Device Manager window, expand DVD or CD-ROM drives.
  4. Right-click the optical disk drive and select Properties.
  5. Click the Advanced Settings tab.
  6. Under Device Properties, uncheck the Enable DMA checkbox.
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Run the Microsoft CD/DVD Fix-it troubleshooter

Microsoft Fix-it is a diagnostic software developed by Microsoft which allows detecting potential troubles which may affect a computer running on Microsoft Windows.

To automatically fix common issues with CD or DVD drives, click the Run now link below, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Microsoft Windows Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8
Microsoft Windows Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP

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Install the latest BIOS update on your computer

Dell recommends updating the BIOS as part of your scheduled update cycle. Like Operating System and driver revisions, the update contains feature enhancements or changes that will help keep your system software current and compatible with other system modules (hardware, firmware, drivers and software) as well as providing security updates and increased stability.

Refer to the Dell knowledgebase article How to update your System BIOS within Windows for more information.

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Update or reinstall the driver for the optical disk drive

Drivers for your CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive is included within the Operating System and hence does not require you to install a specific driver.

To reinstall the driver, follow the instructions below:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc in the Run dialog box, then press Enter key.
    Note: You will need to login to Windows with an account with administrator privileges. If you get any prompts from User Account Control while accessing Device Manager, click Yes to continue.
  3. In the Device Manager window, expand DVD/CD-ROM drives. Right-click the CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive that is listed, and then click Uninstall.
  4. Click OK to confirm that you want to remove the device.
  5. Restart your computer (Once the restart is complete, the Operating System will automatically install the required drivers).
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Uninstall and reinstall the Dell provided playback software (DVD or Blu-ray movie playback issues)

Dell systems that have an optical disk drive come with a factory installed DVD or Blu-ray playback software. For DVD or Blu-ray movie playback, specific playback software and codecs are required to be installed on your computer. The Dell provided applications will enable your computer with necessary codecs for such playback of movie DVD or Blu-ray discs.

If you are having trouble with movie playback, try to uninstall and reinstall the Dell provided playback software.

  • You can use the software installation disc that may have come with your Dell computer.
  • If there was no disc that came with your Dell computer, you can download the software from My Dell Downloads.
Note: For further information on My Dell Downloads, refer to the Dell knowledgebase article My Dell Downloads -- Frequently Asked Questions.

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Perform a Windows System Restore

System Restore is a built-in Windows tool designed to protect and repair the operating system. When something goes wrong with your computer, System Restore should be used prior to restoring to factory condition.

Select the Operating System installed on your computer to find more information about how to perform System Restore:

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Restore your computer to factory defaults

If the Dell PC Diagnostics on the optical disk drive has passed, it is most definitely an issue related to software installed on your computer. If the above troubleshooting steps have not been able to resolve the issue with the optical disk drive, you could try to restore your computer factory defaults as a last resort.

Dell computers are built with a small amount of hard disk space reserved for reinstalling your operating system. This method is the easiest way to restore your computer to factory condition. The restoration process deletes all user data from the computer, so be sure to back up all of your files prior to starting this process.

Select the Operating System installed on your computer to find more information about how to restore your computer to factory defaults:

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For any other issue with the CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive on your computer, refer to the Dell knowledgebase article Troubleshooting CD/DVD or Blu-Ray Drive Problems in Microsoft Windows.

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Article ID: SLN129293

Last Date Modified: 07/13/2016 04:41 AM


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