Knowledge Base

How to Troubleshoot and Resolve Optical Drive Issues with a Dell Laptop PC



This article provides information on how to troubleshoot an issues with your Optical Drive on a Dell Notebook PC.


Table of Contents:

  1. Troubleshooting an Optical Drive
  2. Optical Drive Tray does not open or close
  3. Optical Drive does not read or write
  4. Optical Drive is making an abnormal noise
  5. Optical Drive not detected
  6. Optical Drive detected but does not work

1. Troubleshooting an Optical Drive

Note: An Optical Drive is the technical term that covers all CD and DVD types and models.

This troubleshooting guide will take you through the troubleshooting steps needed to identify a fault and take you through any steps needed to resolve the issue. If it's identified to a hardware fault, this troubleshooting should enable you to raise a service request with one contact.

As you will have completed the diagnostics before getting in touch with us.

  1. Is there any damage to the optical drive or to the system?

    1. Yes, if there is damage then this may not be covered under your pro support warranty. Proceed if you have accidental damage cover on your System. If you don't have complete care on your Notebook PC, Please check this guide here.

    2. No, carry on with section 2 step 1.


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2. Optical Drive Tray does not open or close

  1. Does the CD/DVD tray eject when the button on the drive is pressed?

    1. Yes, proceed to section 5 step 1.

    2. No, carry on with this guide.

Note: Notebook Optical Disc Drives are usually modular devices. In the majority of Notebooks these devices are designed to be removed and replaced with a different drive, an extra Hard Disk Drive or Battery. Check your manual for removal instructions. (Best Practice if your manual does not include drive removal instructions, is to skip those steps which involve reseating / removing the drive.)
  1. Have you tried re-seating the drive? Does the fault continue?

    1. Yes, proceed with this guide.

    2. No, your issue is resolved.

  2. Does the CD/DVD tray eject if you boot the system into the BIOS. Tap rapidly on the F2 key at the Dell splash screen to enter the BIOS. Then press the button on the drive?

    1. Yes, the issue is only seen inside the operating system. Try restoring the system to a date before the issues was first seen.

    2. No, carry on with this guide.

  3. Can you try the drive in another similar system? You can find a step by step guide for your Particular system in your user guide or manual.

    1. Yes.

      1. If the drive works ok in another system, it could be an issue with how the drive fits in this system. I would contact Dell at this point, if my system is in warranty.

      2. If the drive doesn't work in another system I would contact Dell at this point, if my system is in warranty.

    2. No, if you straighten out a paper clip and press it into the emergency eject hole on the bezel on the front of the drive. Does the tray eject?

      1. If it doesn't eject at that point contact Dell, if your system is in warranty.

      2. If it ejects and starts to function as normal, then your issue is resolved.

      3. If it ejects but won't go back in and the issue continues then contact Dell at this point, if you are still covered by your warranty.


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3. Optical Drive does not read or write

  1. Does the same read/write error occur with known-good media? (media that works in another PC, try multiple types such as CD, DVD, Blu-ray)

    1. No, then the issue is with the media you were using.

    2. Yes, carry on to the next step.

  2. Can you try the drive in another similar system? You can find a step by step guide for your Particular system in your user guide or manual.

    1. Yes.

      1. If the drive works ok in another system, it could be an issue with your software, carry on to the next step.

      2. If the drive doesn't work in another system I would contact Dell at this point, if my system is in warranty.

    2. No, then carry on to troubleshooting the software in the next step.

  3. Run the Dell PC ePSA diagnostics, does the diagnostics return an error code?

    1. If the diagnostics doesn't return an error code, carry on with the next step.

    2. If an error code is returned. Take a note of the error code and validation code and contact us.

  4. The easiest way to troubleshoot this is to rule out the operating system and drivers by using or burning an Ubuntu Live USB External Link and test the drive having booted from the drive.

    1. If the issue is not seen in Ubuntu, then reinstall your OS from your bootable media, image or backups.

    2. If the issue is seen in Ubuntu contact us.

    3. If you can't use Ubuntu, carry on to the next step.

  5. If there is no bootable media available, then we can swap the hard disk drive (HDD) with one from a working system with a compatible drive. Do you have a system you can swap the HDD with?

    1. Yes

      1. if the fault follows the HDD, reinstall your OS from your bootable media, image or backups.

      2. if the fault stays with the system, contact us.

      3. if the fault isn't seen on either, reinstall your OS from your bootable media, image or backups.

    2. No

      1. restore your PC to how it shipped from Dell using the media, image provided and contact us if the issue continues.

There are a couple of other articles that may be of use to you if this one did not sufficiently resolve your issue:


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4. Optical Drive making an abnormal noise

  1. When does the noise occur?

    1. Whenever the PC is on. Follow the guide linked below to narrow the noise down to a component.

    2. Whenever the drive is in use. Carry on with this guide.

  2. Does the same noise occur with known-good media? (media that works in another PC, try multiple types such as CD, DVD, Blu-ray)

    1. No, then the issue is with the media you were using.

    2. Yes, carry on to the next step.

  3. Does reseating the optical drive in the modular bay stop the noise?

    1. Yes, reseating the drive resolved the noise issue.

    2. The drive would not reseat in the bay due to an alignment issue, contact us.

    3. No, then continue troubleshooting.

  4. Does downloading and installing the latest Firmware and BIOS from the Dell Support Site stop the noise?

    1. Yes, then the issue was with the drivers/firmware. Issue resolved.

    2. No, continue with the next step.

  5. Run the Dell PC ePSA diagnostics, is the noise still heard during diagnostics when it tests the optical drive, does the diagnostics return an error code?

    1. If the noise isn't heard during diagnostics testing the drive and it doesn't return an error code, I direct you to section 4 step 1 as the noise is not coming from the optical drive.

    2. The noise is heard and an error code is returned. Take a note of the error code and validation code and contact us.


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5. Optical Drive not detected

  1. When you boot into the OS is there a drive letter assigned against the Optical drive?

    1. Yes, proceed to section 6 step 1.

    2. No, carry on with guide.

  2. Please restart your system and tap rapidly at the F2 key when the Dell Splash screen appears. This will take you into the BIOS setup screens.

  1. On older systems, please look for the drives option down the left hand side of the screen. For newer systems please check in system configuration and Modular Device. Is the Optical drive detected in the BIOS? It will give a model name and serial number for the device.

    1. Yes, please carry on with the guide below.

    2. No, please reseat the Drive. If the drive is still not detected, please get in touch with our technical support to take this further.

  2. If the drive is seen in the BIOS but not detected in the OS, then the issue is with the OS.

Note: There are several Microsoft knowledge Base articles that include Autofixes for these issues. I've linked to some below. If these autofixes do not resolve your issue, a clean install or factory reimage will. However this is a drastic step and I'd advise trying the autofixes first. I've included a link to a list of reinstall articles below as well.Microsoft FixIT programs will not be compatible with Windows 10 operating system.


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6. Optical Drive detected but does not work

  1. The optical drive is detected and assigned a drive letter, but it does not recognise any media inserted. Please locate your OS reinstallation media or burn an Ubuntu Live DVD. You will not be reinstalling anything at this point. It's needed for a troubleshooting step. Do you have the bootable media to hand?

    1. Yes, carry on with section 6 step 2.

    2. No, go to section 6 step 4 instead.

  2. Please restart your computer and tap rapidly at the F12 key when the Dell Splash screen appears.

  3. This will take you to the Dell boot once menu. Insert the bootable media and close the tray. Select the optical CD/DVD drive from the menu and check to see if a Press any key to boot from CD/DVD media message appears at the top of the screen?

    1. Yes, the drive is working outside of windows. This means the issue is in the operating system. Please proceed to section 6 step 5.

    2. No, please reseat the drive and if the same thing happens again, contact Your technical support to take this further.

  4. If there is no bootable media available, then we can swap the drive with one from a working system with a compatible drive. Most drives are generic across several model types. Do you have a system you can swap the drive with?

    1. Yes.

      1. If the fault follows the drive to another system - the drive is faulty.

      2. If the fault stays with the original system with a working drive fitted then the issue is with the system or OS - please proceed to section 6 step 5.

      3. If the fault isn't seen on either system, please swap the drives back into their original systems and if the fault still isn't seen, then reseating the device has resolved your issue.

    2. No, then proceed to section 6 step 5.

  5. Please use the Microsoft Knowledge Base article below for the Mr fixit tool. It will clear the filters for the drive. did this resolve the issue?

    1. Yes, then you issue should be resolved.

    2. No, please rule out your OS, by either swapping the Hard Drive (HDD) with a HDD from a working system, or by running a factory restore or a OS reinstall to rule out your OS.

      1. If the fault stays with the machine or isn't resolved by ruling out the OS, then contact Technical Support to take this further.

      2. If the fault follows the HDD to another system then you will still need to rule out the OS on that HDD.

Note: Microsoft FixIT programs are not currently compatible with Windows 10 operating system.

You can contact Dell's technical support online at Dell Chat, Twitter and Email support, or you can phone your local support line. The contact details are available on our support site. Please ensure you have the right country selected and click on the contact us link for more information.


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Article ID: SLN284172

Last Date Modified: 08/17/2017 03:34 AM


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