Persistent failure to recognize DVDs

mmcbroom89

TS Rookie
This issue has been puzzling me for weeks now I have no idea on how to solve it due to my very low knowledge of computer hardware and it's software. I apologize if my terminology is a bit off, but like I said, knowledge of this subject is very limited. Anyways, the problem I have been having is that my CD/DVD+-RW drive will no longer recognize regular DVDs. What I mean by regular DVDs is non-burned DVD movies and DVD-ROMs such as games. My drive will still read and play CDs and burned DVDs. What steps should I take in order to try and solve this problem? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you need any more information or have questions relating to the issue, I'd be glad to answer.
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
How old is the optical unit?
The first step is to unplug and reseat the connection to make sure its not as simple as that. if you have another cable try it. If this is a SATA drive with an older ' non-secure clip' type, they can very easily break connection. Unfortunately what you describe can also be the first symptom of an optical drive that is at the end of its life.
 

mmcbroom89

TS Rookie
How old is the optical unit?
The first step is to unplug and reseat the connection to make sure its not as simple as that. if you have another cable try it. If this is a SATA drive with an older ' non-secure clip' type, they can very easily break connection. Unfortunately what you describe can also be the first symptom of an optical drive that is at the end of its life.
It is only a year old and yes, it is indeed a SATA drive. I opened up my computer earlier and checked the connections to and from the optical drive and they were plugged in firmly. Is there anything else I could check? Why would it read CDs and burned DVDs but no other DVDs if it was about to go out? That doesn't make sense to me.
 

LookinAround

Ex Tech Spotter
Do check the hardware but also see if this Guide might apply [post=815753]CD/DVD or Disk Problems? How to Fix Problems Caused by Filters[/post]
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
Do check the hardware but also see if this Guide might apply [post=815753]CD/DVD or Disk Problems? How to Fix Problems Caused by Filters[/post]

Lookin's 'filter guide is one of the best posted here at TS. if you would, let us know if it turns out to be the problem.
 

mmcbroom89

TS Rookie
Lookin's 'filter guide is one of the best posted here at TS. if you would, let us know if it turns out to be the problem.
I removed the Upperfilter that was there, but the problem still exists. I also used the Automated Troubleshooting Service that was linked there and it found the problem, but failed to fix it.
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
optic drives have the shortest lifespan of all of the devices, you may simply have a drive that is dying.
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
In that case, can you recommend a good replacement that will run on vista 64bit (I'm not sure if that matters or not)?
sure, what budget and features you after? wasn't a blu-ray was it?

I was going to point out that there is a reason there is only a 1 year warranty on most of them.
 

mmcbroom89

TS Rookie
Well, I don't know much about them, but I'm willing to spend around $100 or more if necessary. I want it to read and burn both CDs and DVDs and HD DVDs that are "plus" and "minus" with a good bit of speed. I really don't need blu-ray since I don't own any blu-ray DVDs. Are there any other features I should be thinking of?
 

mmcbroom89

TS Rookie
I favor Asus,Sony, and Samsung (all the parts probably come from the same place) but I have used these and they seem to last longer than others.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118040
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135209
Wow, these are cheaper than I anticipated. Since I don't know anything about them, would you mind choosing one for me that has the features I want and maybe some other I might have missed?
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
They all have RW capabilities, If you have that, do you need to have media that is both single and multi session capable?
 

mmcbroom89

TS Rookie
They all have RW capabilities, If you have that, do you need to have media that is both single and multi session capable?
I have no idea what that means honestly, but I've had problems in the past with older computers when trying to use different types of discs. If it will play CDs and DVDs I buy and the ability to burn the occasional CD and DVD with no problems, then I'm set. So you suggest the Sony one overall, correct?
 

red1776

Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe
I have no idea what that means honestly, but I've had problems in the past with older computers when trying to use different types of discs. If it will play CDs and DVDs I buy and the ability to burn the occasional CD and DVD with no problems, then I'm set. So you suggest the Sony one overall, correct?

Oh okay, then yes you are covered :)
Yes the Sony or Asus are the ones that I use for all customer builds as well as my personal machines, they seem to be a little bit more long lasting.
 

mmcbroom89

TS Rookie
Oh okay, then yes you are covered :)
Yes the Sony or Asus are the ones that I use for all customer builds as well as my personal machines, they seem to be a little bit more long lasting.
Thank you so much for all you're help and advice. You too LookinAround. Thank you for trying to help. I really appreciate it guys.
 

LookinAround

Ex Tech Spotter
I removed the Upperfilter that was there, but the problem still exists. I also used the Automated Troubleshooting Service that was linked there and it found the problem, but failed to fix it.
Darn! It was such quirky behavior I was hoping the filters issue would fix it! :(

It could ultimately be a hardware issue (and i defer to red's excellent hardware experience and advice :approve:). But i have one more idea for a test you can do, if you want, to help delineate between hardware/software.
the problem I have been having is that my CD/DVD+-RW drive will no longer recognize regular DVDs. What I mean by regular DVDs is non-burned DVD movies and DVD-ROMs such as games.
Are you saying you have problems with data DVDs or just blank DVDs or what? I don't quite understand

My thought is the following: Boot into a standard Linux distro to test the behavior of your CD/DVD device. If it still fails, it's definitely hardware. But if it works now, then we know the problem is within Windows or software in your Windows environment.

One thought is Knoppix (you'll find instructions to create bootable Knoppix here).
> Once in Knoppix, click Start->Preferences->Install Knoppix to Flash to create a bootable Knoppix USB flash drive
> Now boot from the flash drive to test audio and media players with your CD/DVD

Though if your only problem is with BLANK media, i don't think the Knoppix version i mention provides for DVD burning (in order that you could test blank media) but perhaps red1776 or someone else with more Linux-type experience then I might have a recommendation.

In any case, hope you get the problem solved (be it hardware of software based!) :)

/* edit */
One other thing that's at least pretty simple so is also worth a try: Open Device Manager, rt click on your CD/DVD drive, select Uninstall. Reboot and let Windows automatically reinstall the driver

/* edit 2 */
Oops. I lied. It was two more things :D. Here's the other. Check for any firmware upgrades for your CD/DVD drive. Check either the system vendor site (e.g. if computer and CDDVD drive was supplied from Dell or HP) or the drive's manufacturer site.
 

mmcbroom89

TS Rookie
Darn! It was such quirky behavior I was hoping the filters issue would fix it! :(

It could ultimately be a hardware issue (and i defer to red's excellent hardware experience and advice :approve:). But i have one more idea for a test you can do, if you want, to help delineate between hardware/software.

Are you saying you have problems with data DVDs or just blank DVDs or what? I don't quite understand

My thought is the following: Boot into a standard Linux distro to test the behavior of your CD/DVD device. If it still fails, it's definitely hardware. But if it works now, then we know the problem is within Windows or software in your Windows environment.

One thought is Knoppix (you'll find instructions to create bootable Knoppix here).
> Once in Knoppix, click Start->Preferences->Install Knoppix to Flash to create a bootable Knoppix USB flash drive
> Now boot from the flash drive to test audio and media players with your CD/DVD

Though if your only problem is with BLANK media, i don't think the Knoppix version i mention provides for DVD burning (in order that you could test blank media) but perhaps red1776 or someone else with more Linux-type experience then I might have a recommendation.

In any case, hope you get the problem solved (be it hardware of software based!) :)

/* edit */
One other thing that's at least pretty simple so is also worth a try: Open Device Manager, rt click on your CD/DVD drive, select Uninstall. Reboot and let Windows automatically reinstall the driver

/* edit 2 */
Oops. I lied. It was two more things :D. Here's the other. Check for any firmware upgrades for your CD/DVD drive. Check either the system vendor site (e.g. if computer and CDDVD drive was supplied from Dell or HP) or the drive's manufacturer site.
Here are some examples to better explain what is happening. If I were to put in Avatar or Dark Knight or any DVD I have, my computer won't recognize it as being in the drive and says the drive is empty. Now, if I were to take that DVD and burn it onto a blank disc, my computer will see it and play it just fine. Also, I bought StarCraft II the other day, which is a DVD-ROM, and my drive can't see it as well. I have tried uninstalling the drive and then rebooting a couple times, but that didn't fix the issue.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
It sounds like your drive is failing mechanically.

Assuming the files on a disc aren't corrupt, or there isn't a filter problem, (and that is, granted, a big assumption), alignment differences between drives can cause the problems you suggest.

I've had an issue with a TSST drive, where you would burn something with the drive, and then it wouldn't be playable elsewhere, and finally in the last part of this thing's miserable life, it couldn't read its own writing.

In any event, you're usually only about 20 bucks away from proving me wrong, since any given day, Newegg will likely be selling a new one at, or around that price.

I would be very discreet about discussing burning commercial movies in this public venue, word to the wise.
 

LookinAround

Ex Tech Spotter
@red1776
OMG! Sometimes my brain gets "too geek"! I was thinking so much about mmcbroom89's problem when writing my last post, I forgot to say @red1776: "Thanks for the kind words. Glad you like the Guide about Filters" :)

@mmcbroom89
So the commercial DVD release of Avatar and Dark Knight won't work. But others do. It could still ultimately be due to hardware but if you want to try, there's a couple ideas to first rule out Windows, windows apps and firmware

As outlined in prior post
> Check if any firmware upgrades avaialbe for your CD/DVD drive
> Create a bootable Knoppix USB flash drive (easy steps outlined as per prior links/posts
> Now boot your machine into Knoppix from USB flash
> So you can now try playing the Avatar and Dark Knight movies on the CD/DVD when running a different OS

If firmware updated and it still fails, you know beyond all doubt its time to replace it. In any case, these couple extra checks are'nt alot of work so might worth first doing them if you chose to... Then confidentally trash the $@#$!! drive you now for certain ain't working under any OS!