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Help! DVD drive doesn't recognize music CDs anymore

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 1, 2009 2:18 AM PDT

Until recently, when I put a music CD in my D-drive (DVD RW), I could play the music or rip the music to my hard drive. About a month ago this became more problematic, and now it will not even recognize a music CD (regardless of the program I choose to play it on: Real Player, Windows Media Player, etc.). Data CDs are no problem, whether they have documents or photos. DVDs play, as well. My question: is this a hardware problem or a software problem? The drive is a LITE-ON DVDRW LH-20A1H and I cannot find any indication that there is any driver or other software that could be a problem. If there is a problem with the drive itself, I can certainly replace it, but if it's software, I don't know where to begin. Any ideas? Running Windows XP system.

Submitted by: Bob B.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

Sounds like a Windows problem... --Submitted by fjord_fox

Most likely a software problem --Submitted by alswilling

DVD drive not recognize cds anymore --Submitted by w8vln

Could be Sony rootkit? --Submitted by darrenforster99

Hardware or software? --Submitted by Watzman

Could be lots of things... --Submitted by

Help Reply --Submitted by theonly1mooner

If you have any additional suggestions or recommendations for Bob, please click on the reply link and submit your answer. Please be as detailed as possible when providing your answer to him. Thanks!
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Similar problem that turned out to be broken hardware
by SPII / May 1, 2009 10:56 AM PDT

I had a similar problem with the DVD drive in my Dell Inspiron. After a few tests with Dell support the problem was determined to be the hardware. Fortunately, my Inspiron was still under warranty. Replacing the drive was pretty straight forward. That solved the problem.

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DVD drive is toast
by funkid7 / May 16, 2009 1:03 AM PDT

The very first answer is 100% correct. Not sure what others said past page one of this topic.

I have the exact same Lite-On drive as you Bob and the same problem with the exact same progression.

First the drive began to have problems recognizing recorded movies(copies) and ripped personal music CD's. Cleaning the drive, or simply re-inserting the disc helped at first, but it continually got worse, until the Lite-On drive would only play brand new CD's.

Currently it won't play new discs either. Cleaning doesn't seem to help.

I have been told, the drive is toast and to install a new DVD drive.

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DVD doesnt recognize cd
by Auudio / May 24, 2009 5:20 PM PDT
In reply to: DVD drive is toast

hi LEE KOO if your dvd drive does not recognize cd,it maen, 1,there dust in your drive lens.2,the drive lens is weak,3.thre maybe break in your IDE cable,4.there maybe moisture created on the drive lens

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Similar Problem
by twhite0910 / May 1, 2009 11:30 AM PDT

I have a similar problem but my drive won't read CDs at all anymore, just DVDs. I'm using a Lenovo ThinkPad X61 with drive in the Ultrabase. Running Windows Vista.

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DVD drive not recognize cds anymore
by w8vln / May 1, 2009 11:42 AM PDT

I had the same problem last year!!!
I thought the drive went bad!
I put another drive in and found out that it was not the drive problem! It was the software! After the computer received an update from Microsoft to the Media Player, it stated acting up like your problem.
I found out that I had to completely reinstall the media player again and the updates for the latest. After that everything started working normally again. The only answer that I could think about was I got a corrupted file in the automatic update from Microsoft in their download.
Larry Wright

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Software is the problem
by 1btb / May 2, 2009 11:21 PM PDT

This is almost certainly the correct answer. If your drive were failing, it could not read a DVD (micro-sized), let alone a CD (large by comparison. If the lens were dirty, it would certainly not be able to read a DVD; CDs are easy to read by comparison. It is probable your software got messed during an MS update or other software installation. Get yourself a quality commercial software product such as Roxio. I have been using their version 6 for the last 8 years for all CD ripping and burning functions with no problem.

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DVD failing to play music CD after a microsoft auto update
by jmccardl / May 15, 2009 7:05 PM PDT

I honestly believe that Microsoft have a lot to answer for. They are so obcessed with ensuring that we allways have the latest version of WGA (Windows Guarante of Authencity) that maybe some of their team of programmers could actually try and spend some time fixing up their other stuff ups.
I really feel that for such an important? company they treat too many of us as beta testers by default.
I agree that windows may be very complex but as the great designers they should hire some smart hackers to really see how bullet proof their software is. Do not let them make bullet proof vests for law makers, we would lose too many!

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Worst Virus Problem = Windows Update
by WazmoNariz / May 18, 2009 5:45 AM PDT

I've had a half-dozen serious data corruption events, including one that resulted in loss of one-third of my music collection (though I had it backed up). All of these events were related to "Windows Update" configurations that were incompatible with my hardware and/or software, and were totally unreversible.

I've got to believe this is not just happening to me -- I'll wager that Windows Update is the worst, most destructive, most widespread virus in history.

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Then why not everybody?
by rje49 / May 19, 2009 5:05 AM PDT

Ever wonder why only a small percentage of people have a problem after installing a MS update? After all, everybody gets the same exact data. Doesn't this mean it's a conflict with something that this tiny percentage of users already have on their computer? And probably something that they'd be better of without!

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Dirty laser get a new drive
by MorganHarvey / May 1, 2009 11:50 AM PDT

I wouldn't bother trying to fix it even. The cost of a new drive is so cheap and will come close to the cost of a cleaning kit that might not work. I like pioneer drives usually.

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Have you tried this
by w9smith / May 1, 2009 11:50 AM PDT

Sorry to hear the DVD is giving you trouble. I found that many times it is that the lens is dirty in the drive. Most of the big box stores that sell electronics have CDROM drive cleaners. They cost around $7. You put them in the drive and they start the cleaning process using little brushes attached to the data side of the disk. The cleaning takes about 2 minutes. BTW, the ones for CDROM are the same as the ones for DVD. Do not pay extra for the DVD cleaner.


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Probably a bad drive
by hacker27 / May 1, 2009 12:27 PM PDT

It sounds to me like the drive is failing since the problem got worse over time. You could uninstall it in the Device Manager, reboot and let XP reinstall it. A quick way to the Device Manager is to hold down the Windows key and press the Pause Break key, which will show the System Properties window. Click the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button. Click the + sign by the CD/DVD drives and right click the drive. You can update the driver or uninstall the drive from here. That would be the first thing I'd try, but my bet is the drive went bad. The fact that music files do not play with multiple programs suggests that it is a hardware issue rather than a software issue.

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DVD drive is on iy's last legs
by tbone69069 / May 1, 2009 12:38 PM PDT

I am having the same problem. At first it wouldn't burn disks. I would get a sync error message. If I rebooted the computer. I could get away with burning a few disks before it would happen again. You never said how old your drive is or how often you had ripped and or burned cds or dvd's. I am guess it is time to look for a new drive. It is starting to go to the dvd heaven. I can't use my drive at all anymore. I put a blank disk in and nothing happens. I put a data or music cd in. Nothing happens. Sounds like you dvd drive is going that way.

You can always check to see if there is new firmware but I don't think that will solve your problem

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Don't waste time figuring out what's going on !
by hifly.liu / May 1, 2009 1:06 PM PDT

Why not just Re-install OS system(Windows XP) ?

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Why not just reinstall Windows?
by Watzman / May 15, 2009 2:42 PM PDT

Why not just reinstall Windows?

Well, for starters, depending on the amount of "stuff" on the hard drive, that can take tens of hours. And it won't even fix the problem if it's hardware. Reinstalling Windows would be something to consider ONLY after it had been conclusively determined that the problem was software.

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USB problems
by Ron_dear / May 20, 2009 6:32 AM PDT

Remove and reinstall all USB controllers
To remove and reinstall all USB controllers, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl in the Open box, and then click OK.
2. Click the Hardware tab.
3. Click the Device Manager button.
4. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.
5. Right-click every device under the Universal Serial Bus controllers node, and then click Uninstall to remove them one at a time.
6. Restart the computer, and then reinstall the USB controllers.
7. Plug in the removable USB storage device, and then test to make sure that the issue is resolved.

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Hardware or software? .....
by Watzman / May 1, 2009 1:21 PM PDT

Hardware or software? Hard to tell. The fact that you have no problems with data CDs suggests it's probably software. If I was in your situation, I'd like to try the drive on another computer, or try a different drive in your computer (optical drives are cheap, you can get some of the best drives (which are dual layer DVD burners) for $20 to $40 these days). Either a different drive in your computer or that drive in another computer should answer the question. Also, try the unreadable CDs in another drive and computer; it could be the discs, although that seems unlikely if the problem occurs with multiple CDs.

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can't play cd's/dvd's
by frankgw / May 1, 2009 1:35 PM PDT

a possible reason is that the laser lens of the cd/dvd rom has been contaminated with dust or grease of dirty cd..data is easier to read than the digital contenr of a cd or dvd so it is quite possible for it to read data cd's and not music or video's...always make sure cd's and dvd's are clean with no fingermarks etc...to clean a dirty cd or dvd use a soft cloth like a clean facecloth for instance after running warm water over it for 30 seconds from your hot water tap..(believe me..it's the best method)..dry with clean soft cloth as stated by wiping it horizontally or vertically ...not with a circular motion!..also buy a cd cleaning disc and use that to clean the drives laser lens..

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can't play cd's
by frankgw / May 1, 2009 1:45 PM PDT
In reply to: can't play cd's/dvd's

also try downloading the KLTE MEGA CODEC PACK...free from the net..and WINDOWS MEDIA SERIES 9 CODECS..free from microsoft..if all this fails to solve the problem the laser lens is probably damaged beyond repair..you can buy a new one online for as low as

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DVD dirty drive
by funkid7 / May 16, 2009 1:12 AM PDT
In reply to: can't play cd's/dvd's

This is how it started with my Lite-On drive, but past the cleaning kit I currently have, nothing brings it back to life. If I keep re-inserting the new data CD, it sometimes reads it and will spin the disc up to speed. Currently, it takes me several re-inserts of the disc, to make the drive read anything at all.

I did update MediaPlayer 11 and made sure all drivers are up to date and still have this problem.

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application to know the problem
by khanshabb / May 17, 2009 5:48 PM PDT
In reply to: can't play cd's/dvd's

I am also sailing in the same boat. Isn't there any application to know the exact problem with the DVD Drive as the drive is functioning instead of shooting blind shots?

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DVD drive
by Hackerness / May 1, 2009 2:25 PM PDT

DVD drives go out from my computer-repair-job experience. LiteOn makes some of the cheapest drives. Buy yourself a Sony, LG, or some other DVD writer at a vendor like newegg for $22 and be happy. If you have IDE, make sure you get an IDE. The default now for vendors is to sell SATA.

Your problem might be some audio program has taken over the drive and is messing with it but for the low cost and history I've seen with LiteOn, I'd suggest buying a new drive and swapping it. They're very easy to replace.

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Not Recognition of CDs
by colinpeel / May 16, 2009 12:30 AM PDT
In reply to: DVD drive

As stated by other members. The most obvious problem is a hardware issue in respect of the CD laser diode having failed, however that would not explain CD data discs still being able to be read! If it was just a case of DVDs only being readable then, this would be due to only the DVD diode still being operational.

The quickest option would be to suggest trying an alternate rom drive is your PC, whether it's internal or external. If internal try on via alternate bus or connector type with different cables in case any of these are causing the problem and also ensure your media is scratch and mark free and several alternate discs are checked!

If still no resolution, then most likely software issue/ infection of system! Try booting into 'SAFE MODE' and see whether you can play your CDs ok. If you can then most likely a software or driver issue, which will most likely resolved by performing a clean boot, then process of elimination in 'MSCONFIG' of services, startups, etc.

If still no joy then ensure system is spyware and virus free and perform full (up to date) scans in SAFE MODE!

Finally, if your banging your head against the wall by now, then backup your critical data and perform complete, fresh install and IF issue still persists then you have a Gremlin in your motherboard!

Hope this helps!

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TOOO much
by funkid7 / May 18, 2009 11:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Not Recognition of CDs

That's to much information Colinpeel, or should I say, over-kill.
Hackerness has it correct. I have just replaced my LiteOn drive with a Sony drive, as Hackerness suggested and all is perfect now. I took the old drive to Jerry's computer service(friend of mine). He checked it out and said it is definitely scrapped. Jerry also said, LiteOn drives are cheaply made, intended to last long enough, to get you to buy the junk.

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Good advice
by funkid7 / May 16, 2009 1:17 AM PDT
In reply to: DVD drive

Sound Advice Hackerness. My Lite-On DVD drive, started acting up shortly after I purchased my Dell. I was stupid to not do something while under warranty. Worst Drive I have ever had.

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Re: DVD does nor recognize music CD
by alioffe / May 1, 2009 2:42 PM PDT

I think what you should do is to reinstall your DVD driver and try to find it online, reinstall it on your computer and most likely it will work fine then

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DVD doesn't recognize music CDs anymore
by 50GreenDodge / May 1, 2009 3:09 PM PDT

I believe I had/have the same drive. The first one just kinda crapped out one day, and I had no luck getting it to read anything. If you're running XP, it is probably not a software problem

Go through the checklist - make sure the drive has a tight power connection. Is it set right (slave or master?) - have you run a cleaning disk lately? They don't have to be run often, unless your computer is in a dusty area or on the floor. Matter of fact, when you check your power connection, take a look at the inside of the case. If it's all gunked up with dustballs, you have or are going to have mechanical problems.

I believe my drive went down because of the heat. I live in Arizona, and I was burning a lot of discs and little by little it became hotter and then got erratic in its performance. I got a new drive from the same place - Newegg, the best mail order house IMHO. You tell them your problem, they send you a RMA and you ship the product to them and they send you a new one. No questions asked.

My experience with those drives - they're fine until they're not. And then most likely it's time to replace them. I hope this helps. As I said, I had the same make and I believe the same model. They're good drives, and they're inexpensive. But I don't know how long you've had your drive. They don't last forever.

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gearaspiwdm may be the problem
by abd4evr / May 15, 2009 1:17 PM PDT

I have been having the same problem for quite some time, tried all sorts of fixes. I found a fix recently that may help you. On one of my machines running XP and one of mine running Vista, my DVD WRITERS would exhibit this behavior (read DVDs fine, write DVDs, read data CDs, but not read music CDs), but my DVD ROM on the Vista machine functioned fine. Figured it must have something to do with some software interacting with the writing aspect of the writers. I looked into my registry, searching for upper filters and lower filters, and found gearaspiwdm- and googled that. Low and behold, it seems to be a problem, seemingly installed with itunes. See the links below:



Did the fix (removed the UpperFilters entry for gearaspiwdm) BACKING UP THE REGISTRY FIRST, and it seems to have fixed the problem.

What a pain.

Good luck!

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by rwh0255 / May 16, 2009 10:39 PM PDT

i agree with abd4evr,i had the same problem,the only way i could resolve it was to uninstall itunes and remove the driver and registry values associated with it,apparently there is a conflict with this driver,i have had no problems since,and i did not reinstall itunes.

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Try this
by sirpaul1 / May 1, 2009 3:23 PM PDT

Do you have digital playback enabled for your DVD burner? If you don't use an internal cable to your sound card you MUST enable digital playback, else no sound.

In regedit check this if this key is present and if it is, set the value to "4"
Start REG_DWORD 0x00000004 (4)

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