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DVD / CD-RW does not recognize any disc inserted

By johnplay26 · 20 replies
Jun 2, 2009
  1. DVD / CD-RD does not recognize any disc inserted

    I am having a problem with my DVD/CD-RW. It will not recognize any disc, factory pressed or otherwise, that I insert into it. I have tried:

    1. Uninstalling/Reinstalling the drivers
    2. Uninstalling/Reinstalling the hardware.
    3. Deleting the upper/lower filters from the registry
    4. Updating the firmware.
    5. Uninstalling/Reinstalling any CD/DVD writing software (worked for a couple days)
    6. Tried system restore, but system says it is unable (go figure!)
    7. Transfer mode is DMA on both the primary and secondary channels

    I managed to get Dell Hardware Support to talk to me even though I am out of warranty. They performed some check and I was told that my drive was fine before they realized my warranty had expired. They said my problem was a software issue--something about conflicting drive controllers. Odd thing is, it was working one day and wasn’t the next; I hadn't newly installed or updated anything. My current Dell Vista 400, XP Pro, is a system replacement and only about a year old.

    Before I completely reinstall my OS to see if that works, does anyone have any suggestions for where to look and what to try next? Thanks for any suggestions offered.
  2. snowchick7669

    snowchick7669 TS Maniac Posts: 593

    Have you tried checking/swapping out the cables?
  3. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 549   +6

    Checking the cables is a great idea. Another possibility is that your Drive Lens might be dirty.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,971   +74

    In addition to the two excellent suggestions, how old is your drive? The average is 2-5 years, give or take a few.
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    And in addition to all the above excellent ideas.. here's a coupla more to throw into the mix

    Is what you said repeatable? If so, would help indicate a software (vs hardware) issue i think

    2) Did you try removing the upper/lower filters by hand or via script? If by hand, see here to find an MS tool for XP for an automated tool and try removing the filters again. Then reboot

    3) Not sure this applies (if you're having trouble with ANY disc) but figured would add to the mix just in case. See CD-R drive or CD-RW drive is not recognized as a recordable device

    4) Try using DVDInfoPro to see what it might report about your CD/DVD drive capabilities. Also use it to report on your media (this tool is free for the first 14days but IMHO have found it worth the small cost of buying - which includes unlimited updates - for use when debugging CD/DVD drive and media issues)
  6. pjamme

    pjamme TS Enthusiast Posts: 208

    CD Gone

    It may be a registry Issue. Please do a Google search for "CD Gone" and see if that fits the bill. More than likey the CDROM is bad, but this is worth a shot.

  7. netcat2003

    netcat2003 TS Rookie

    You may wish to clean the laser lens with a Q-tip and some alcohol
  8. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 314

    IMO the drive is dead and needs to be replaced. Try booting with any boot cd and that will rule out all OS issues. If booting works THEN I would look at registry, drivers, etc.
  9. johnplay26

    johnplay26 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for all your suggestions. I think the only one I haven't tried is cleaning the lens. I will try giving the lens a cleaning because the drive began recognizing discs again but now takes it's sweet time loading them.

    EDIT1: Nope, I take that back. It recognized the disc last night. This morning it would recognized the disc but not let me play it. Now it thinks a factory pressed DVD movie is blank CD media.

    EDIT2: Trying to remember what happened when I used script for upper/lower filters for LOOKING's resonce below, I ran the MS script again and restarted. Back to recognizing the disc, but reading it is a problem--very slow to the point of not being able to play.

    LOOKINAROUND: Yes the process is repeatable. I was told my problem is a controller conflict somewhere, but I know nothing of controllers and am at a loss to explain why after a year of no problem the software would go all wonky on me. Will try DVDInfoPro. Also, I have tried removing the upper/lower filters by hand and by script to little effect other than forcing me to help Roxio find either of my drives.

    ROUTE44: The whole system is about a year old. Dell checked the hardware (remotely) and said it passed.

    GGUERRA: The drive will (as of right now) intermittently read discs. Uninstalling and reinstalling software helps for a while, but only for a while.

    After all the ramble (read EDITs) above, I'll post results of a good lense cleaning. Thanks again for all your help.
  10. johnplay26

    johnplay26 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Cleaning the lens allowed me to insert a factory pressed DVD, have it be recognized as such, and play until I stopped the disc. I then inserted a home made DVD+R in and the drive didn't recognize it, so I took it out and inserted a factory pressed audio CD. The audio CD was recognized as such. I used DVDInfoPro to run a speed test on the CD and worked fine (40x read). Inserted a factory pressed DVD back into the drive and I get a pop up "Blank CD: What do you want to do? Open writeable CD folder, Burn an audio CD (using Windows Media Player) Create a CD (using iTunes), take no action." DVDInfoPro speed test reported .89x read.

    With the factory pressed DVD still in the drive, I double click on the drive. I get the following "D:\ is not accessible The volume for a file has been externally altered so that the opened file is no longer valid."

    UPDATE: I think I have it working now. Time will tell of course. I actually got the drive to behave by searching for and manually RESTORING upper/lower filters. No more delayed starts and every disc I insert reads and plays. Saving and archiving this registry entry NOW! Thanks for everyone's help.

  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    Hi johnplay26

    Hmm... I'm glad to read from your UPDATE it seems to work better. BUT if, in fact, you solved the problem by MANUALLY editing (not just removing) your filters it sounds very odd to me based on my understanding of Windows, filters and drivers. i explain below (So i'm curious to ask/suggest some more info. And could you point me to the info you said you found about manually editing your filters? I'm now curious to see what is said.)

    Actually, I've been in the process of writing a post that explains just what filters are.. And how they are often overlooked and can "break" things. I've included a draft copy in next post in this thread you might find helpful if you want to take a look. (Understand it's still a draft... so may not answer all questions/be proof-read) but should help you understand filter issues.

    By removing filters it cleans up your registry. And once removed, any needed/required filters are normally reinstalled when noticed missing by
    >> Windows or vendor device drivers
    >> Your CD/DVD apps on next reboot (tho sometimes require an uninstall/reinstall to fix the filters you removed from registry)

    So if you REALLY fixed the problem by MANUALLY editing (not simply REMOVING) filters would be very strange. It MIGHT mean the real problem still exists and will filters get corrupted again.

    ALSO you might want to try booting from a Linux CD (e.g see here to burn a Gparted CD) to test your CD/DVD. That would isolate the problem to either BIOS/hardware vs. Windows/software

    /* EDIT */
    AND: Here's a cool (and handy) tool that lets you easily see info about your current disk and CD/DVD driver filters for each of your devices
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    So what the heck is a Windows Filter Driver?
    (And why you should care to know)
    Click here if you want to skip past the technical stuff and go straight to "How to Fix Filter Driver Problems"

    You may be familiar with Windows devices and drivers. You might already know that a bad or missing device driver can cause Windows (and you!) all sorts of grief. But do you also know
    • Filter drivers (simply called “filters”) are a special type of Windows driver
    • Filters are optional drivers often used to extend, add value to or otherwise alter the behavior of a device
    • Filters are supposed to work with and in-addition-to a device's main driver (called the function driver.) (and btw.. it's the function driver you're used to seeing when you open use Device Manager to first look at a device
    • Windows tends to "hide" filters from you, the end-user (unless you know how to specifically look for and find them)
    >> !!Yet filter problems can be the real cause of your CD/DVD, disk drive or sound/media device driver problem!!

    Device Driver Overview (the view from 10,000 feet)
    Windows 2000, XP and Vista provide a "layered" approach to device drivers. A device driver is software. It allows Windows to "talk" to and fully support a device
    A device driver provides Windows (and Windows applications) the Input/Output (I/O) and control functions required to access and use a hardware device, such as a modem, network adapter or disk drive
    >> Every device driver has a function driver plus zero or more filter drivers
    >> Note diagram: Possible device driver "layers'' are yellow. The function driver is required. The dashed filters are optional
    >> IRPs (I/O Request Packets) are sent down the I/O stack, and processed in the following order

    Function Driver
    >> Every device driver includes a function driver
    >> The function driver provides the I/O and control functions needed to access and support a device
    >> Specifically, it's the function driver you're seeing when you open Windows Device Manager and first look at a device and its driver

    Filter Drivers
    >> A device driver can include zero or more filters
    >> Filters intercept and may modify the I/O Request Packets (IRPs) exchanged between Windows or a Windows' application and a hardware device
    >> Upper filters are always applied before the function driver
    >> Lower filters are always applied after the function driver
    • Upper vs. Lower Filters
      • Upper filters intercept IRPs as the data flows between Windows or a Windows' application and the function driver
        >> Upper filters typically provide added-value features for added-value features for a device (see examples
      • Lower filters intercept IRPs as the data flows between a device's function driver and the device hardware
        >> Lower filters typically modify the behavior of the device hardware (see examples)
      • Lower and Upper Filter Examples
        1. A keyboard upper filter may intercept the keyboard data stream to implement additional security checks as the data passes between an application or OS/module and the keyboard's function driver
        2. A keyboard lower filter may intercept physical keystrokes to "clean-up" the keypresses sent between the keyboard hardware and its function driver. (You may have only pressed the hardware key once, but internally, the keypress may have made repeated physical electrical contact within a few milliseconds, sending more than one signal when only one was intended. A lower filter can recognize and clean-up the un-intended behavior, change the data stream received from the hardware and simply just 1 keystroke (as user intended) to the function driver) From the end-user's perspective, the see a one key-press response and all looks like a simple one press/one character response.
      • Note About Keyboard Filter Examples
        Note how a "layered" approach to device driver makes it easy to swap-out and change filter functionality (e.g. how security is being applied, or how mutli-press keystrokes are being handled). In our keyboard example, note that a simple change to upper filters can affect how security is applied in the device driver. The security change occurs without ever changing or even having to touch the keyboard function driver itself

    • Device vs. Class Filters
      Both Upper and Lower Filters can be installled at either the device level or at the class level
      • A Device filter is applied to a single and specific device
      • A Class filter is applied to all devices that belong to the same class as the class filter
        Here's a just few of the many different Windows device classes
        [B][U]CLASS[/U][/B]           [B][U]Description[/U][/B]
        CDROM           CD and DVD drives
        DiskDrive       Disk drives
        Keyboard        Keyboards
        MEDIA           Sound, video and game controllers
      • Example
        >> If you install a class filter for DiskDrives, then this single filter will be applied to EVERY diskdrive installed on your compter
        >> If you only install it on the device level (which is done by unique device ID), then it will only filter the exact device that you put it on originally and all other devices, even in the same class, will be unaffected
    More stuff
    A filter logically sits above (upper filters) or below (lower filters) the function driver
    • Upper filters
      • Upper filters filter the data between an application/operating system service and a device's function driver
      • Upper filters are applied BEFORE the function driver
      • Example:
    • Lower filters
      • Lower filters filter data between the hardware itself and the function driver, providing extra security/stability or translating proprietary communication into a standard language for the main driver
      • Lower filters are applied AFTER the function driver
    Problems when a "filter chain" breaks
    Information about your device's filter and function drivers are all kept in the registry. A "break" in the data flow (called a filter chain break) many reasons.. Just a few examples
    >> Registry points to a corrupt or bad filter
    >> Registry still points to a filter drive file disk file but the file no longer exists (e.g. An Uninstaller may delete the file but not modify your registry correctly
    These problems can cause devices and/or drivers to fail

    Why Class Filters are often a "hidden" problem
    When you install a device its driver might include a Class filter. Thus this one device installs a filter that can affect every other device in that same class. (For example, a webcam driver can affect your sound card because they both belong to the same Windows Class of MEDIA

    You might have recognized that devices in these 3 classes often have driver problems. So, for example, it's worth also noting that a single class filter for class=DISKDRIVE will be applied to every disk drive on your system.
    >> In theory, that one class filter should work with all your disk drives but
    >> It sometimes happens that it only works with some or even none of your devices
    >> So the one class filter may cause just one or even all your disk device driver's to fail!
    • Media class devices include sound cards and web cams
    • CDROM class devices include includes CD and DVD devices
    When the operating system or a software application issues an I/O request to a device
    • Upper filters are applied to the request. Upper filters might modify the request
    • The request is processed by the device driver. Upon completion, the driver sends a response
    • Lower filters are applied to the response. Lower filters might modify the response
    Note for the "Windows purist":
    Below the "Device Driver Layers" there's "Bus Driver Layers" but i'm not going to address those at all
  13. johnplay26

    johnplay26 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I may still very likely have some other issue, but for now my hair pulling has stopped—that is of course until something else breaks. If you can point to the possible reason for my original issue I’d be grateful.

    Simply removing the filters never really helped. Once I deleted the upper/lower filters as explained by almost EVERY site dealing with a CD drive missing, not working, or whatever the issue, the lower filter would be restored after restart, but no upper filter. I would have to run a patch provided by Roxio to get the software to recognize the drives for burning. Then I would have to reinstall AnyDVD so that IT would recognize the drives. After all that, my lower filter would be populated with pxhelp20 and ANYDVD and that would be it; still no upper filter. I also have iTunes installed, and after some digging I found this article support.apple.com/kb/TS2372?viewlocale=en_US explaining how to restore the GEARAspiWDM driver and stop the annoying popup that says it’s missing. But even after all that the drive still wasn’t working quite right--randomly not recognizing the inserted disc, reading extremely slowly, misreading the media type, etc.

    The iTunes thing got me curious as to what the default upper/lower filters should be on the average system. I ran across this forum post cdr-zone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4719 that more or less was dealing with a lot of the same issues I was having. In it there is a list of common filters. I said what the hell, backed up my registry, and proceeded to identify the drivers from the list that matched software I knew I had installed. Then I manually add them to my registry. I added redbook and Cdralw2k to my upper filter and imapi and CDR4_XP (I think, I’m at work and don’t remember) to my lower filter.

    As soon as I closed RegEdit, the DVD I still had in the drive began to spin, AnyDVD popped up and said the drive was ready, and CinePlayer started to play the disc. I restarted and tested the drive again. The factory pressed DVD started almost as soon as I inserted it, same with a CD. I inserted a data DVD and it opened just fine as well. I didn’t have any black CDs to try a burn, but I never use that drive to burn anyway.

    Granted that was all yesterday; today the darn thing may be broken again. Thoughts?
  14. pjamme

    pjamme TS Enthusiast Posts: 208

    Virus Clean?

    Just a parting shot, are you sure you don't have the conficker virus. It messes up autorun.
    a quick check is to see if you have any surpise "Scheduled Tasks".
    Just a thought.
  15. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    Oh. Roxio you say??
    I just looked back at the thread and note:
    >> you never indicated (or i missed it) if you're running XP SP3???
    >> Apparently i also overlooked making sure you run Windows Update (click Custom) and make sure are all critical AND hardware updates are applied. Including SP3

    just fyi... there were lotsa CD/DVD bugs/issues with XP and Roxio so now makes me wonder what you're running. So please do all the Windows updates and then we'll go from there.

    Examples of many hotfixes needed in some less then mostt recent releases XP when Roxio is involved
    A Disc in a DVD Drive May Not Be Played Automatically with Roxio Easy CD Creator 5.1
    Error message when you access the CD drive or DVD drive after you upgrade to Windows XP: "Incorrect function"
  16. johnplay26

    johnplay26 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Drive is still working 24 hours later. Yippy!

    Probably should have specified my system earlier, right?

    I am running XP Pro, Service Pack 3 on a Dell Vostro 400, Quad Core Q6600 @ 2.4Ghz and 3.00 GB of RAM. Two SATA optical drives (I assume LG): 1) HL-DT-ST CDRW/DVD GCC-H10N (the one that wasn’t working) and 2) HL-DT-ST DVD +- RW GSA-H73N. Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 came pre-installed.

    MS Automatic Updates is always turned on and automatically installs. I also periodically check to see if there are any custom updates to choose from--currently only Windows Live something or other. I'm pretty anal about my virus software. Norton Internet Security 2009 is always running. Then, once a month, I also (turn on and) scan with SpywareDoctor with AntiVirus, Malwarebites, and SUPERAntiSpyware. I'm clean.

    Thoughts now on what may have caused the problem originally?
  17. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    I can speculate (now after the fact) what your problem might have been (but before doing so I still want to read the through the link you provided about filter edits - so will wait to speculate till i do)

    BUT, in the meantime, i can advise stuff to do now to maybe make life easier if it happens again

    Download/Run DriverMax
    to create a backup of all your current (working!) drivers (so you have them all handy in one folder if you ever need any of them again). Use the tool's Export function to create the backup folder

    Download / Run FilterDriverLoadOrder
    >> First select your device to see the window display of the filters it's using
    >> Then click the Clipboard button at the bottom of the window to capture info about each the device's filters, eg each filename, version number, etc
    >> Paste all the info and SAVE it in a .txt file. Then should filters get corrupted again you'' know exactly which filters are NOW loaded and currently working if it comes to a point where things fail again (then you compare things)
    >> Also, compare (one-to-one) the filter/driver list you see when you
    ===> a) Click on your device vs.
    ===> b) When you click Clipboard to get the specifc filter/driver file info data

    Because (from what i've observed) it seems
    a) When you click the device you see the filters (per your registry) vs.
    b) When you click Clipboard button the tool then gets all the file data (from disk).
    So if the a) and b) lists DON'T match is probably a registry entry that points to a file that no longer exists!

    /* EDIT */

    And, in fact, you could copy/paste that info (using Clipboard button) in FilterDriverLoadOrder so i can see just what filters it's using/are installed just now??
  18. pjamme

    pjamme TS Enthusiast Posts: 208

    Happy top see you are up and running again.

    Please do check "Scheduled Tasks" anyway. I am not fond of Norton, as I have worked on too many computers with it running that were not current in their database and had many trojas and viruses. Also the Windos patch that came out las Fall to fix Conficker did not always install. It's particularly important to install Microsoft patch 958644 (security bulletin MS08-067).

    And if you do have an AT1 scheduled task go to: http://www.confickerworkinggroup.org/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=ANY.RepairTools
    for help.
  19. johnplay26

    johnplay26 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, spoke too soon. Drive is not working once again. Haven't even used the computer since it last worked; which was when I last posted.

    There are no schedule tasks other than norton. I'm clean. Even ran a malwarebytes, DrWeb and Windows Malicious Removal Tool for June 2009 scan to be sure.

    If it is not a hardware issue, then what would cause the drive keep flipping out like it is? I get it working and next time I sit down it doesn't work. And it's just the one drive. I would really prefer not to have to reinstall my OS.
  20. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    Some comments and things to do to start

    Current filter details
    Follow instructions [post=761240]in this earlier post[/post] about FilterLoadOrder tool
    >> Use tool's clipboard button to capture/paste your filter specific data into your next post
    >> Also compare the filter list, as per the post, between filters listed when you first select your CD device vs. the list you get when you copy/paste using the tools' Clipboard button

    Event Logs

    Let’s see if anything relevant appears. Copy/save the command below into a txt file on your desktop. Rename the file and change its extension to .bat. Now double click to run it. It will capture the last 35 events in each of your system and application logs and places them into a file it creates events.txt on your desktop. Attach it to next post (fyi to anyone reading. this script will only work for XP. Vista requires a totally different script)
    cscript "C:\WINDOWS\system32\eventquery.vbs" /l application /l system /r 35 /v  /fo table /fi "Type eq error OR Type eq warning" > "%userprofile%\desktop\events.txt"
    pjamme’s suggestion of possible virus was excellent as malware can also produce similar symptoms. But your malware tests to date would seem to addressed it. If you want to go the “whole 9 yards” whether right away now or wait till sometime later after we can see results from other stuff. See here for Virus/Malware Removal Instructions

    VSO Inspector
    just fyi for now, you might find VSO Inspector a helpful tool as well. It provides some similar functions to DVDInfoPro. But VSO Inspector is freeware

    Testing under Knoppix vs. Windows
    I'm double checking it first (i can't test it myself on my own hardware. Gotta wait to try on a friend's) but believe you should be able to burn the Knoppix v5.3.1 download DVD .iso , then boot from DVD, and then, while running under Knoppix (and not Windows) to try using your CD/DVD players under Knoppix. (will at least rule out if Windows and/or other software is the issue vs. BIOS/your hardware

    So to start, if you could please provide me the Event Logs and the filter data will follow up with more later

    /* EDIT */
    One last thought for now (at least until i can see your filters and your event log output above). You said you can reinstall Roxio, yes? Do you run any other 3rd party CD/DVD media software in addition to Roxio?

    I'd suggest trying (in this order) as a method to at least initially rule out problems due to Roxio and/other 3rd party software/driver/bugs etc
    >> Uninstall Roxio. Also uninstall any other 3rd party media software
    >> Run the XP script to remove your upper/lower filters
    >> /* EDIT */ I added this step: Open device manager, rt click both your CD drives and uninstall them. then reboot
    >> Run CCleaner. Click its Registry icon and run registry cleanup tool (frankly, i wouldn't trust or advise any other registry cleaner)
    >> Now try using only Windows Media Player and native windows media software to see
    >>> Is drive and media recognized?
    >>> Can you manually select the drive and media using the WMP interface?
    >>> If WMP is working... does it continue to work and for how long?
  21. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    any luck or news with your problem? btw... i just happened to find (for the what it is or is not worth department) that the GearAspiWdm CDROM class filter is installed and needed by Apple itunes
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