DVD/CD-RW ONLY reads DVD and nothing else

By Vigilante
Mar 15, 2005
  1. Strange issue, it's a Compaq Presario 900 laptop.

    With no other details other than "it just happened one day".
    Basically I can play a DVD movie, it can read the disk. But any other type of disk, CD, CD-R, whatever, it can't read it.

    I uninstalled the drive and let XP reload it - no good
    I did a system restore back to before it messing up - no good
    I cleaned the laser with alcohol - no good

    There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it. It makes noise and spins the disk and tries to read it but can't.
    Also this is the same way outside of windows, I can't boot off a CD, it can't read it.

    I'd like to know why this is, what it might be, and if there is a way to fix it. Because a replacement drive is like freaking $376 from HP or around $200 aftermarket.
    I think it has to do with wavelengths like the drive is stuck on the DVD wavelength. But I don't know much about it.

    What else could I try?
  2. fishhookz

    fishhookz TS Rookie Posts: 79

    Just get a cheap external usb cd/dvd burner.

    I don't know about laptops. If it's a desktop, I'd suspect power. Is the battery old?
  3. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Hmm, I wouldn't have suspected power for an issue like this. The battery is just as old as the laptop I guess. Which is about 3, maybe 4 years old.
    But as a test, I took the battery out and ran it on the PS, still didn't work.

    I was trying to research on howstuffworks.com about lasers and CD-ROMs and stuff. But I couldn't find out what it is a drive has to do to change and read between DVDs and CDs. Whatever that process is, it isn't working cause it's stuck on DVD.

    I suppose an external drive would be more cost effective. I didn't think of that. Thanks!

    Any more thoughts?
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