PC Buyer Beware!

Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 won’t play a CD/DVD – does not detect a disc

Windows Autoplay problem: Windows won’t play a CD/DVD – does not detect a disc

I have a fault with my desktop PC’s SATA CD/DVD optical drive. It won’t play a CD/DVD. When I put a CD or a DVD disc into the drive, I get the message “Please insert disk in drive E:”. I have tried another optical drive that I know works and I get the same message. I think this is a software problem. Is there a fix for the fault? I don’t want to re-format the PC’s hard disk drive and reinstall Windows 7.

Answer

Windows used to provide an AutoPlay Repair Wizard in Windows XP. It can be downloaded from the web by using Autoplay Repair Wizard as the web-search query.

There is no AutoPlay Repair Wizard for Windows Vista or Windows 7/8.1/10 provided by Microsoft, but there are these pages:

Troubleshooting AutoPlay problems [the drop-down menu provides Windows 7 and Vista options] –

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/troubleshoot-autoplay-problems#1TC=windows-7

Click on the option called “AutoPlay doesn’t start when I insert a disc or plug in a device.”

The link above is the only page that Microsoft provides on troubleshooting AutoPlay problems, but the information should be applicable to Windows 8.1 and 10.

Try uninstalling the CD/DVD drive in the Device Manager

If you can’t get the optical drive to work by making use of this information, you can try uninstalling the drive in the Device Manager. The easiest way to open the Device Manager in any version of Windows is to press the Windows key plus the R key that brings up the Run box and enter devmgmt.msc in it, which brings up the Device Manager.

The drive is listed under DVD/CD-ROM drives. Click the + beside that title, right-click on the make/model of drive (in my laptop computer the entry is Philips DVD-RAM SDVD8821) and click Uninstall. Restarting the system makes Windows reinstall the drivers for the device.

Try downloading and installing the latest device driver and firmware for the CD/DVD drive

If doing that fails to fix the problem, the latest device drivers and firmware for the drive can be obtained from its manufacturer’s website, or the website of the computer’s manufacturer. Some computer manufacturers provide tools that update the device drivers and the BIOS/UEFI. (Don’t update the BIOS/UEFI just for the sake of it, only to fix problems with new hardware that can’t be fixed any other way.)

You can download and install them as you would a standard program. Updating the drivers and  firmware can fix problems. Note that when updating the firmware of an optical drive make sure that it is the firmware for your make/model of drive. Installing the wrong firmware can cripple the drive.

In my case, I would visit msi.com – which automatically goes to the UK site – for the drivers for my MSI M662 laptop, because they are probably not available from the Philips website.

As with the firmware, just make sure that you download and install the device drivers for the exact model of drive.

You can also run the drive’s troubleshooter by double-clicking on the make/model of the drive in the Device Manager. A window presents itself that provides a Troubleshoot button.

Try cleaning the drive by using a cleaning kit or try using it in another computer

If that doesn’t work, try using the drive in another computer.

Drive cleaning kits are available. The drive’s lens could be dirty. Have a look on Amazon. Use the search query: dvd writer cleaning kit. Read the purchaser reviews, which are often very helpful in deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

If neither of those options work, the drive has failed irrecoverably and will have to be replaced, because to repair it would cost far more than to replace it. It is an unfortunate fact of life with optical drives that they can become unusable out of the blue for no apparent reason.