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:\.

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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  1. Taimoor
    June 25, 2018 at 3:53 am

    When I enter a dvd in my laptop it opens but it does not display the actual contents of dvd and display 2 folders
    (i) audio-ts
    (ii) video-ts
    what should I do...?
    help me plezzzzzz.

  2. James Johnson
    December 27, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    My CD drive on my laptop is recognized, opens, lights up, sounds like it's reading but the system says not responding. I checked my device manager and it has a yellow triangle and says power failure.

  3. vijay
    May 6, 2015 at 9:32 am

    please help pc dvd drive not working.........i cleaned lens but it does not my dvd drive lens i found two pins which is noted by DVD and CD at its top.....what was the use of it....plz help me......

  4. Doug
    November 18, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    There may be (another) problem if you're running Vista; there are 2 versions of it that don't come with DVD codecs, even if you have a DVD read/write drive. I know that this prevents you from playing movies (a frustrating find).

    One of the versions is Business, the other is Home Basic.

    The solution fortunately is available through freeware. Or, search for "DVD codecs". It took me an afternoon of searching to figure this out so that my wife could watch a DVD on her laptop. It would read and write CD's, and read DVD's, but not play for MP4 type data.

    I really didn't know that this was there when I was going over the specs. for it before purchase. What a surprise. You'd think a DVD player would play all DVD's.

  5. Sean John
    November 18, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Good article.

    From experience, most errors like this do come from registry issues, or if the drive is really dead.

    Search google for "upper lower filters", this will give you step by step instructions on how to refresh these registry entries. I tried this initially for my samsung DVD burner, but the drive was already dead, I had to get myself replacement internal DVD burner

    But normally the process works like a charm. In addition, external DVD burners do not usually have this problem

  6. joe
    November 17, 2009 at 10:05 am

    you left out a major problem that occurs on windows XP PC's: when the disk passes a certain threshold of read errors, the controller automatically switches to PIO mode. this moves ALL of the operations to the PC CPU, resulting in massive CPU load (e.g. 90% CPU usage to read a disk instead of 1%) and much slower drive speeds (e.g. 2x instead of 48x).

    to fix this you have to change some registry settings - it's easy enough (just download a tiny file and run it) but if you don't know about it you'll be frustrated trying to figure out what the problem is.

  7. Punchy
    November 17, 2009 at 9:45 am


    “My CD drives have vanished (from Explorer, Device Manager, etc.)”

    This happens quite often if one of the third-party packages has been uninstalled. They add references in the Registry for modules which they use, and these references fail to be removed, leaving Windows unable to find the files apparently needed for CD devices at the next boot. There is a simple Registry patch to correct this (download it here). Before using the patch, be sure to back up the Registry. After using the patch and rebooting, the drives should reappear. Any third party package that is still required will then need to be re-installed.

    This problem also may arise if there is underlying trouble with the Input-Output system of the machine: for example, interactions with controllers like Promise or Highpoint, or with special drivers. It may be worth trying a change in the DMA settings for the device in Control Panel | System | Hardware | Device Manager. Under IDE controllers, double click on the Primary or Secondary IDE Channel concerned, then click the tab for the Advanced Settings page.

    Download cdgone.reg here

    Or CD-DVD-Fix.exe one works for me based on cdgone.reg

    This one also addresses the upper and lower registry issue.


  8. Matt
    November 17, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Here's a problem I have:

    My DVD burner will read CDs, burn CDs, and even burn DVDs. But the moment I place a DVD movie in it will not read the disc. Windows will throw a whole bunch of communication errors. Know of any solutions for this? I've tried just about everything but taking the tower apart, yet.

    • Sharninder
      November 17, 2009 at 9:24 am

      What are the errors that Windows throws ? Maybe you don't have the right software installed to play DVDs ? Or maybe the DVD drive is region locked.