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What's causing my CD/DVD burner to suddenly stop working?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 5, 2012 9:11 AM PDT

What's causing my CD/DVD burner to suddenly stop working?

I was copying my music and videos onto DVDs and CDs until a couple of
weeks ago when it suddenly stopped working for me. For some reason now
when I try to burn music, my programs show that it is burning and
finishing off, then when I check the disk there is only 1KB on each
song, and I have wasted quite a few discs. For DVDs, it won't even
start to try setting up to copy. I'm wondering if my DVD/CD burner has
simply gone bad or another program has caused it to malfunction? I'm
running Windows 7, my processor is 2.6GH, 6GB RAM, and a 600GB hard
drive. Any information or clues as to why this is happening would be

--Submitted by: Ronnie W.

Note: This post was edited by its original author to fix typo on 10/27/2012 at 9:10 AM PT
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Maybe it is from an
by franciemr / October 5, 2012 10:29 AM PDT

MIcroSoft update. My DVD burner/reader suddenly stopped burning and playing about 3 weeks ago, or that was when I noticed it. Took it to MicroCenter and they immediately said it was from a MS update. They said MS says not so, but I was told it has affected some PCs. They quickly did something--I couldn't tell where/what program/ or if in root and then it started working. I thought my DVD went out and I had to replace. So...maybe this could be problem?

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I'm using media player and video converter
by ronniejw / October 26, 2012 12:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Maybe it is from an

I tried a couple of other free programs too but apart from updates and a tune up utilities program nothing else has changed. Some of the music I tried to copy I have done before with no problem. When I try to burn movies the option to start does not come up. I tried playing a music disk and it wouldn't start. Previous movie dvds I have work ok. The only one I'm suspect of a program is the utilities one. Apart from that any other program I use looks like its copying but nothing comes up on the disk. I dont have any virus in my pc as it is checked daily. I guess I'll try replacing the dvd/cd burner and see if it works then, at the price I've seen shown on here it'll be a cheap fix it solves the problem. I have been burning quite a few dvds abd cds over the last 6 months.
Thanks for the submissions everyone.

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I've had similar experience...
by JCitizen / October 27, 2012 2:44 PM PDT

on Windows Vista x64 - I've either had to uninstall the update and re-install it, or restore back to a previous time and re-install the update, or simply recover the whole operating system from backup. That last move always works, and takes the least amount of trouble, when the problem is chronic.

Here recently my IR controller in the Device Manager showed that it had a "splat"(IT term for trouble icon). I right clicked it and selected update, and voila; the thing "magically" started working again, I didn't even have to reboot. I should have picked it from the unimportant updates in the Microsoft Update console - but I've learned never to use those new drivers unless need be. It never hurts to check your OEM driver updates too.

Sometimes I've had to re-install or update my burning software; especially because of DRM issues. This is especially tricky on blu-ray, but some DVDs are IAA compliant also.

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Do a Restore
by wwgorman / October 27, 2012 6:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Maybe it is from an

If this happens suddenly then it is possible that a Microsoft update has affected a program that you are using for your burning. If you do a System Restore to before the update-------there is usually a restore point made before the up date is done so you can select that one. Since Microsoft updates weekly you have to go back at least three weeks to see if that is the fix.

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My CD-DVD burner suddenly stopped working too. I replaced it
by VAPCMD / October 28, 2012 4:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Maybe it is from an

with a brand new CD-DVD burner...same mfg, exact same model and it worked perfectly. Since the new drive worked perfectly on the current SW .... not sure I see how it would have been or could been an MSoft update.


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Time for a new drive?
by reli37 / October 5, 2012 10:51 AM PDT

I have almost the exact configuration you described (a Gateway DX4850 that is about 18 months old) and my CD/DVD drive stopped reading discs last week. Control panel says it was working properly. My solution - an external CD/DVD drive for approximately $30 from a major internet supplier. Now everything works fine - with the new drive.

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Plus it could be simply a bad batch...
by JCitizen / October 27, 2012 2:57 PM PDT
In reply to: Time for a new drive?

of CD/DVDs from the store. Sometimes the factory formatting will hose all the disks in a pack.

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If it were mine, I'd just replace it with a current
by VAPCMD / October 5, 2012 11:14 AM PDT

technology CD/DVD DL burner.

I had one fail about a month ago and it just stopped working. I replaced it with on just like it ... same make mfg and model number it worked immediately and since.

Lots of highly rated burners listed over at I'd check to see what's available and how the users rate them...then buy what works for you and fits your budget....they're very inexpensive. I have several spares just to avoid the crisis.

Let us know how it turns out.


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Something to try with your CD/DVD burner/player problem...
by yankee07mvp / October 5, 2012 11:34 AM PDT

As a former network computer systems tech, I found, a countless number of times, (with known good discs), that when a CD/DVD drive don't work properly, but it does 'run', rotate, and in-fact, spin the discs, that dust bunnies and dirt have accumulated on or around the laser pickup/write head assembly. Often times a good 'blowing out' of the inside of the drive - with a can of compressed air - will restore the drive to it's proper operation. If that doesn't work, it may well be the drive itself, a loose data connection cable, (i.e., remember that cable has to be properly seated on BOTH ends), and/or in rare cases, a loose power connector. I've found the quickest, and best way, to pin-point a defective CD/DVD drive, is to replace it with a known good one. (You might even be able to borrow a known good one from a friend). You'd know right away if it's the drive or something that is 'external' to the drive. If it's the latter, then it could be any of the previously mentioned things or it could be something with a particular piece of software you are using with the drive, (i.e., does it work with other software or not and when), and/or you have a defective operating system file, driver file, or even a virus infection of some kind.

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CD and DVD players
by quiggo / October 27, 2012 4:01 AM PDT

Going to My Computer both entries for the CD player and the DVD play have disappeared from the list. So, I cannot use either. Both have always been in good working order but one day recently they just were not there! Everything else in my system (Windows XP Pro - SP3) works perfectly. What can I do?

George Quigley

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Hi George.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 27, 2012 4:08 AM PDT
In reply to: CD and DVD players

While a good question, I suggest you start your own discussion if ideas here don't help.

When I see the drives missing in Explorer I see if they are in Device Manager., If they are I use Microsoft's Fixit for that. Please start a new discussion and be aware we will be repeating a lot of internet content about this.

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That is typical of Windows...
by JCitizen / October 27, 2012 2:53 PM PDT
In reply to: CD and DVD players

Especially in XP - their is a simple procedure listed on a google search. Sorry, I can't remember it for now. I used to see this all the time with my clients, but has become rare since they have done a better job keeping up with Microsoft's updates.

My foggy memory seems to remember checking a box in a dialog somewhere, but it shouldn't be to hard to find online.

I'd google - "DVD disappears XP SP3" or something like that. They even have pictorial tutoring on a lot of sites. I avoid Microsoft site like the plague - they don't speak English at Microsoft - it is some kind of alien language totally devoid of intuitive thinking! Silly

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It Burned Out...
by Zorched / October 5, 2012 1:55 PM PDT


As a person that burns a lot of DVDs for data backups (upwards of 5 a week or more), I have found that the laser diode they use for burning will wear out over time, and will do so faster the more consecutive burns you do.

I have yet to have one last more than 1.5 years. Ever. Doesn't matter the brand (I keep 2 of differing brands in my machine because sometimes they will burn a disc that other drive brand can't read, and this is a way to make sure the backup is okay), every single drive has worn out. They usually start by just failing the verify, and as it goes on, they will start to fail the burn process itself. Later they will be unable to detect that there's even a DVD-R in the drive. At least that's how it generally happens for me. Now I just replace them when they start hiccuping on the verifies.

Thankfully, they are only about 20 bucks on Newegg and are easy to replace.

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This is an EASY One!
by Hforman / October 5, 2012 2:55 PM PDT

If this was a hardware issue, you would not record ANYTHING on the CD or DVD and the program you are using would ERROR. I too put up with this when I first started burning CDs. Here is what it sounds like (not 100% guarantee on this):

When you are burning stuff to optical disk, the software does not know whether you are going to put more stuff on the CD/DVD (more files or more music). So it usually will leave the disk OPEN. Unless the disk is closed, everything in the system buffer will NOT go to the disk. So, how do you CLOSE out the disk? Unfortuanately that has to do with what software you are using. Since you are burning music, this whole thing is especially tru as the burning software has no idea how many tracks you are going to put on there. You need to visit the, uh, "help" section of your software or actually read the manual or ask a friend familiar with the Roxio, Nero or whatever software you are using as to how to close the disk. In some cases, it is a seperate step and you run a utility after you finish the last burn. In otheres, there is an option or a check-box to select to tell it to close the disk after you are done burning. DO NOT PANIC! This is most likely NOT a hardware problem at this point. So, especially if you are burning music, you need to find out how to close out a disk after you burn the last track. Maybe if you tell us what the software is and the version, one of us familiar with that software can help you.

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It SUDDENLY stopped working
by DavidHimself / October 26, 2012 10:45 AM PDT
In reply to: This is an EASY One!

However he was burning them before, he was burning them before, so unless he suddenly forgot how to do it, this is something else. Dirt is a possibility. Bad disks are a possibility. A virus is a possibility. But hardware is more likely.

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Not Necessarily
by Hforman / October 27, 2012 8:26 AM PDT

It is really easy to accidentally uncheck an option box and not notice it. It really does NOT sound like hardware. If it was hardware, he wouldn't be able to burn anything at all or each CD would be different. It could be. There are a lot of good things to try before he runs out and buys a new burner (I'm going to try one or too on one of buy burners as it can't even read CDs but it does detect when one has been placed in the draw and it does show up in Explorer and it does show up in Decvice Manager:

1) The issue of it not showing up in device manager or explorer is not valid here because he is able to burn 1K files and Roxio recognizes the drive. I would go over your options in the software VERY carefully. Maybe some option changed by accident.

2) I would consider something better than Roxio (like NERO) because Roxio is BIG on Digital Rights and there was a fairly recent Microsoft DRM patch. Since he was able to burn before, I wouldn't suspect Roxio alone. It would have to be Microsoft DRM or a combination of Microsoft DRM and Roxio if this is some Digital Rights issue. (You're not trying to copy a copyprotected CD or Copyrighted work?).

3) There were some good suggestions on things to try in the registry. But here is something else to do - Disconnect ALL of your CD burner cables (BOTH power and signal). Reboot the computer at least twice and make sure that you don't see the drive listed in the device manager nor in explorer. Then, shut down and reattach the cables. See that the drive installs correctly. If you can, unistall the ROXIO and either try something else or re-install ROXIO. Examine all settings and options.

4) Borrow a burner from someone else and see if that works OK. It could be something in the hardware but I kinda doubt it based on the syptoms. You can also try hooking up your burner to someone elses machine and see if it works or doesn't work there.

5) Check the event log. Clear the log out and then bring up Roxio and try to burn something. Then check the event log for any suspicious errors. Does Roxio have a log? Check that too!

6) See if you can burn data CDs using a few files.

7) It could be hardware, but a bad burner will usually NOT burn anything.

Note that you don't need to do these in any particular order. Try the easiest first.

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Good post...
by JCitizen / October 27, 2012 3:04 PM PDT
In reply to: Not Necessarily

and for some reason I see a lot of troubleshooting tips for clearing the upper and/or lower filters(software); but I've only seen that work once on any given problem.

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Upper and/or lower register filters..key problem........
by lostlyric / October 30, 2012 12:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Good post...

Many possibilities exist for Ronnie W. problem. But JCitizen is dead on accurate. iTunes has been causing this problem from the beginning of time (Apple time I should say). I haven't used my old computer's cd/dvd burner since 2007 because it would mean uninstalling iTunes. A few times initially I was able to download a fix from Microsoft, but after working a few times it stopped working. There was one solution which required editing the registry and I didn't want to risk that.

I bought my new computer about a year ago and after searching the web I still haven't found a reliable solution, because of this I have not installed iTunes on my Windows 7 system for fear that it may kill it's BR/CD writing capability. This issue is a big one, I am surprised there is no reliable solution. I think it is irresponsible of Apple not to address this issue once and for all. It likely interferes with Apple's hegemony (or monopoly) take your pick.

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By the Way
by Hforman / October 30, 2012 4:06 PM PDT

The registry fix plus some other command-line utilities I ran as well as removing the drive and adding back did nothing to fix my issue. Looks like my laser burned out. The drives are reasonably priced so I just need to find the time to take care of it.

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Are you really making a standard audio CD
by robjc63 / October 26, 2012 10:56 AM PDT
In reply to: This is an EASY One!

The 1k files sounds like you are not actually making a standard audio CD - if you look at the files on an audio CD you will see a list of 1k files - use Roxio to copy a CD and make sure you select audio CD not data.

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What's causing my CD/DVD burner to suddenly stopped working?
by blperry2001 / October 26, 2012 11:30 AM PDT
In reply to: This is an EASY One!

It sounds like your cd/dvd burner may be working properly (if it is writing to it). Could the 1k files just be the short cut to the real songs instead of the actual files?

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by ajzahn / October 26, 2012 11:36 PM PDT
In reply to: This is an EASY One!

I didn't read in the original problem that Ronnie W. was using Roxio. If Ronnie was using Roxio, I had a similar problem with my MACbook Pro using Roxio Toast 10. A software update wasn't supported by Roxio, and I had to upgrade my software and everything worked fine.

A lot of times, you can go to the software's website and they will have information about compatibility issues with software upgrades.

Good luck with your issues. Mine was fixed with a simple software upgrade.

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What's causing my CD/DVD burner to suddenly stopped working?
by Roy Thorogood / October 5, 2012 8:39 PM PDT

Dear Ronnie W.
I cannot understand why you are getting this problem? What operating system are you using? Have you been using the same CD/DVD burner for some time and when did problem first arise?
Then might I suggest that you change your CD/DVD burner. I have used Burnaware that you can get via CNET. Alternatively, you could use the one that I use and that is ISO and I find this burner pretty reliable. My operating system is Windows 7 ultimate 32bit edition. So I have crossed my fingers now, having given this suggestion and hoping that I do not get the same problem as you .If I had this problem I would have searched the internet for another CD/DVD Burner. Let us know how you get on.

Submitted by Roy T.

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Digital Rights Protection?
by Hforman / October 6, 2012 3:27 AM PDT

Another possibility is that your software or OS has digital rights protection. If you are trying to copy material that is copyrighted, the originals may have some copyright protection that will interact with the protection in your software. That is also a possibility. But I would still look at checkboxes, utilities and/or options within your burning software that related to closing the session.

Another test that I thought of is to find an ISO file somewhere on your computer or download one from the internet. An ISO file is an IMAGE of a CD or DVD. You do not copy/burn it to the CD/DVD, but you go into your software and go into IMAGES and use that to try to burn the image to a blank disk. That usually does NOT require a setting to close the disk as it IS a disk image. If that burns OK, then you can definitely rule out hardware.

Two other things to consider: software and media.

What software are you using? A name brand? free stuff? I prefer to pay the money (at least once) for something good like NERO.

Have you changed brands of CD/DVD media? Have you gotten media on some special sale at a ridiculously low price? What format are you using?

CD-R? CD+R? CD-RW? DVD+R? DVD-R? etc?

Also, when you do your burn, do you make sure the software matches the type of media? DVD? CD?

Hope something here helps,.

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I've had better luck with OEM...
by JCitizen / October 27, 2012 3:10 PM PDT

burning software as surprisingly the retail box stuff is pure junk!! I fortunately did the trial ware, and discovered this early on before I wasted my money. I do not mind buying cheap OEM installation discs and fixing various problems that way. I always pick a different brand - providing I have tried solving the problem by fully updating the third party program already resident on the machine.

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Time to replace
by drbruce2 / October 6, 2012 4:28 AM PDT

In my experience, when CD/DVD burners go bad they have the poor manners to appear to be working, but you only end up making a bunch of coasters. They may play your disks okay, but will not write. Nowadays,they appear to have a finite life. In the old days the Plextor burners would last longer than the computer. Now the first thing to go is the burner. You can pick up a good burner like LG or Samsung for about 20 dollars. They are as easy as pie to replace. Just make sure that you get the right burner for your connectors. Most computers made in the last few years have SATA connections.Peek inside. If the connectors from the MOBO and power supply to the burner is thin and red it is SATA. If it is a large ribbon type connection, it is ATAPI (I think. It has been so long that I forget the actual name). In any case, get the right burner, connect it like the old one (impossible to do wrong). Turn on the Computer, and you're back in business. Don't forget to ground yourself to the case prior to installation. At least nowadays you don't have to worry about slave and master!

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Could it be your screen saver?
by MGCherry / October 6, 2012 6:52 AM PDT

I know this sounds rediculously obvious, but I remember having trouble getting all my data recorded because I walked away from my computer and the screen saver went on and stopped the transfer. I ruined several cds until I realized that I had to open my preferences and stop my screen saver until after I had finished burning my cds. Hope this is helpful.

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Screen savers...
by JCitizen / October 27, 2012 3:12 PM PDT

were such a problem at work, that we banned them and put an AD policy in place to enforce it!!! Good thought!

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Try using different software
by stephen7144 / October 26, 2012 10:52 AM PDT

Try to use Windows built in software and also whatever other program you have to burn discs and if the burner does not work with either, that will likely rule out a software problem.

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For those that have XP....
by JCitizen / October 27, 2012 3:15 PM PDT

you will probably not have native burning support. DVD native support started with Vista, if I remember correctly.

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