Six Steps To Help You Fix Common DVD Drive Errors

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fix i/o dvd drive errorsSo you got yourself a fancy smancy DVD drive. It could be a burner or just a reader and it is just not working. How do you figure out what is wrong with it?

These tips to fix dvd drive errors will also work for a CD or CDR drive. The first thing we need to do is determine where the issue is. It can either be a physical issue like power not getting to the drive or a IDE / SATA cable has come unplugged. It could be a Windows operating system problem that is preventing your drive from showing up or reading disks and finally it could be that disk is garbage. You might have a scratched up dirty disk and it is unreadable by your player.

Let’s see how we can identify and resolve these issues. I see issues with drives on a daily basis in my day job as well as hundreds of questions coming in through my blog. Let me share some of my troubleshooting tips with you. Maybe it will stop the questions – but I doubt it!

These instructions can be used for both internal and external drives but some of the fundamentals might be a little different. Like the power cord versus the internal power connector, the USB interface or a IDE connector. But use your intuition to guide you.

Some of these problems are common both to the external and internal drive and can be fixed with a little application or by following the tutorials that come with these drives.


Step one: Is the drive not showing up in Windows Explorer? Here I can see my CD burner but not my DVD burner. My DVD burner is usually drive E:\.

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fix dvd drive errors

First things first, we should check the power and connections to your computer.External drives can be checked while the system is powered on but internal drives will need you to shutdown the system and remove the power cord before beginning.

If the cables are connected but loose pull them free and reconnect them.  Start the system back up and see if the drive or drives are showing up. If you have recently modified your drives in your system and have removed or changed jumper settings remember cable select is normally the best way to go. If you are on an external drive these jumpers will not matter.

When the system is on and the drive is getting power you can push the eject button and it will open. If it does not open and it is powered on it can be a physical issue which we will see below.

Step two: If your drive is getting power and will not open or close, it is time for the paper clip trick. Sometimes these drives get stuck closed and you cannot open them. This can be from someone spilling something or using the drive as a cup holder. Go get a paper clip and straighten it out. Ladies and gentleman we will perform this amazing feat of opening a stuck drive with a paper clip and only a paper clip. Are you ready?

fix dvd drive errors

Push the paper clip into the small hole located on the right, left or slightly to the right of the left hand side in the older drive above. Pushing the paper clip in the hole releases the door and you can open it with your hands. If it is sticky use a damp cloth to clean it.

Step three: Your drive is opening and closing and it still doesn’t work? We need to check that the drive is connected to the computer. Just as you checked the power, check the connectors. See if the drive now shows up in your computer.

Step four: You have ruled out power and system connections. Now let us look at the device manager in Windows. Open it by right-clicking on My Computer and selecting manage. Then select Device Manager. On older machines it will be in the system properties and then device manager.  If there is a red exclamation point next to one of the items, resolve it and your problems will go away. The drive should appear like this:

fix dvd drive errors

A device with an error will have this icon before it:

fix i/o dvd drive errors

Step five: If your drive has power and your Windows operating system recognizes it but still it does not read the discs it may be because of a dirty laser lens in the drive. Clean the laser lens with a cleaning kit or run some other discs after the cleaning kit and then try. If the drive works after cleaning it you have found your issue.

Step six: If the drive still is not reading your disk but it is connected and the system sees it, try another disk. If this other disk works it can be the disk. Some older drives cannot read CDR’s or CDRW’s. Try a purchased CD  and see if that works. If so you should probably replace your drive.

Got any other tips for fixing DVD Drive errors share them with us in the comments!

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