A customer recently had a problem with the CD/DVD drive in their HP computer which had essentially just stopped reading disks. The drawer would open fine and the disk drive was visible as an option in My Computer but the system simply wouldn’t read or detect the disks.
After a quick search it seemed like lots of HP customers have had the same experience: http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Desktop-CD-DVD-Reply-Only/CD-DVD-drive-non-responsive/td-p/488475/page/2.
Step 1: Reinstall the CD/DVD Drive
This is the easiest step to try and is risk free – you simply force Windows to reinstall the drive from scratch:
- Go to Control Panel, System and then Device Manager (or type ‘Device Manager’ in to the search box of the start menu)
- Locate your CD/DVD drive in Device Manager and note the name (in case you need to continue on to Step 2), right click on it and select Uninstall
- Now shutdown your computer, personally I recommend shutting down the computer, disconnecting it from the mains and pressing the power button a few times with it unplugged – this force the dissipation of any residual power in the system.
- Restart your computer and try the drive.
- If the problem persists move on to step 2
Step 2: Update the Firmware of your CD/DVD drive
What is Firmware? Firmware is the software in your hardware – hence the ‘firm’ (somewhere between hard and soft) and just like the software on your computer, it can be updated to fix issues or improve performance.
- Identify the exact model of your optical drive – for some people this will be listed in the device name in Device Manager, for example my customers device was a HP AD-7251H.
- Go to either your PC manufacturer’s or the device manufacturers website and locate the latest firmware update – sometimes its easier just to search in Google for “model name firmware download” (in my case this was “AD-7251H Firmware Download“).
- Run the firmware update, restart your PC and test the drive again – if it’s still not working, go to Step 3
Step 3: Replace the Drive
DVD Drives are SO cheap these days that at this point its not worth spending more time trying to debug or repair it – I recommend either buying a new internal CD/DVD drive or an external USB CD/DVD drive you can use for lots of different computers/laptops. Replacing them in your PC is also very simple – generally four screws and two connectors.
I recommend the following replacements:
Internal SATA DVD Drive: LG 24X SATA Super-Multi DVD Internal Rewriter with M-Disc Support
External USB DVD Drive: Samsung USB Portable DVD Writer
For older computers you might require an ‘IDE’ dvd writer – you can tell by opening your case and seeing if it has a ‘ribbon’ type cable (see picture on the right). Truth be told though, this will not be compatible with any new PC you buy so you might be better purchasing an External Drive (see above):
Internal IDE DVD Drive: NIXSYS IDE DVD+/-RW