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Can't read cd/dvd

by lions / September 17, 2009 10:46 AM PDT

I reformat my hard drive and reinstalled win xp home with sp2.Since this has been done my cd or dvd don't open in windows explorer.Some of them yes some not.Before reformating the HD I had no problem.My system is P4, 1 GIG RAM, 60 GIG hd.The only think installed at this point is win xp.I have Plextor CDRW, PLEXTOR DVD RW AND A DVD READ ONLY.Regardless which one I use the result is the same.

Please advice

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A Solution to not being able to read CDs and DVDs in Windows
by jim_usa / October 3, 2009 5:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Can't read cd/dvd


I say ?A? solution because I think there are multiple reasons why this happens. I will describe my symptoms, hardware and software and describe what worked for me ? I hope this helps many people.

I have Windows XP Home SP3 and use Nero 6 (the fix is a Windows OS registry edit so I do not think it matters what burning software you have ? BTW, I do not yet know what caused the problem). I have a dual boot system: XP and Linux OpenSuse 11.1 (which I only mention because it is related to the diagnosis of the problem ? and nothing to do with the problem itself).

I know this is a somewhat long post but I think it will show people lots of things that do not fix the problem. If you are in a hurry then just read the Symptoms and The Fix.

I suddenly discovered that I could not read CDs or DVDs in XP and I knew these were good discs because I could read them on other Windows PCs and in Linux. This told me that this was a Windows software/driver issue. The whole time this was going on I could burn good CDs and DVDs! I just could not read them on my PC! My drives (a CD-RW and a DVD-RW) were both detected and setup properly in Windows, assigned drive letters, etc. When I inserted a good CD or DVD into either drive I would get ?Windows cannot read from this disk. The disk might be corrupted, or it could be using a format that is not compatible with windows.? Properties of the disc showed that Windows thought the file system was ?RAW?. On other PCs Windows indicated the file system was CDFS on the discs I tested. My optical drives are Memorex 52MAXX 3252AJ1 internal EIDE CD-RW and Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7240S SATA.
Abit Fatal1ty AN8 (Fatality) nVidia nForce4 Chipset
Dual Channel DDR 400 Socket
939 ATX Motherboard with 6 Channel Audio
Gigabit LAN
USB 2.0
PCI-Express 16X
2 Gb RAM
Radeon X800
WD 150Gb 10,000RPM Raptor
Windows XP SP3 and Linux Opensuse 11.1
Memorex 52MAXX 3252AJ1 internal EIDE CD-RW
Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7240S SATA

What I tried

The short answer: You name it, I tried it, short of fdisk, format, clean reinstall.

I tried numerous Windows KB ?fixes? like the deleting Upper and Lower Filters, Uninstalling and reinstalling drivers and the drives, uninstalling and reinstalling Nero, trying Nero 9 Trial Version, trying other CD burning software (trials or free), contacting Sony and Nero Tech support, etc. Uninstalling / reinstalling / updating the IDE and SATA drivers. I tried physically disconnecting both drives and booting and then shutting down Windows several times and then reconnecting the drives hoping that Windows would somehow set them up differently when they were redetected. I did numerous searches of the Windows KB and various forums. I did firmware updates on my drives. Very frustrating.

I finally got on the right path of looking into the CD file system driver from a forum discussion: cdfs.sys. At first I tried going back to ones before SP3. I took a further look at the system information: Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information. Under "Software Environment", "System Drivers" I saw that "cdfs.sys" was "disabled" and "not started". Big clue. I did searches on ?cdfs.sys? in the Windows KB but did not find anything that directly fixed the problem. Somehow the cdfs.sys file system driver was not being loaded by Windows. I did find entitled ?CurrentControlSet\Services Subkey Entries? that was helpful. It describes the various services and settings of these services in the Registry.

In my Registry for the CDFS service I had

(1) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdfs
(2) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Services\Cdfs
(3) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet003\Services\Cdfs
(4) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet003\Services\Cdfs

I am not a Registry expert by any means ? so I made the following change in all four sections of the Registry ? and rebooted ? but I probably only needed to make the change in the ?CurrentControlSet? section.

Of course, the very first thing you need to do is BACK UP your Registry or, at least BACK UP the sections you will be editing: high light ?HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdfs?, click on File, Export and name the .reg file something that makes sense and make sure you remember where you put it.

Here is a copy of the backed up .reg file (BEFORE the edit):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Group"="File system"


Notice ?Start? is set to 4 which means the service is disabled and ?NOT TO BE STARTED UNDER ANY CONDITIONS?. Well, that certainly takes care of that service!!! No need to worry about it being available!!!

The Fix

Change the ?Start? value to ?1? and reboot! You then see under System Information and System Drivers that cdfs.sys is ?started? and ?running?.

I also looked at Udfs.sys under System Information and saw that it was also disabled and not running so I did a Registry edit fix for that as well:

BEFORE the edit (copy of the backed up .reg file):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Group"="File system"

Change the ?start? value to ?1? and reboot. Again I had four of these and changed all four ( CurrentControlSet, ControlSet002, ControlSet003 and ControlSet004) but probably only needed to change the CurrentControlSet one.

I could read CDs and DVDs once again!

I have no idea how these file system drivers got disabled but I assure you that I did not go into the Registry and do it!

I hope this post helps lots of people ? I have seen lots and lots of forum posts where people can no longer read their CDs and/or DVDs with XP (and Vista).


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by RMorewood / March 4, 2011 8:28 AM PST

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

I've been trying to solve almost that exact same problem for years. One number changed in the registry and everything works again! (How do you supposed it got mis-set in the first place?)

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Didn't work for me

I had such high hopes for this one as I've dorked around with MS fixes for two years now. However, I did what you said and it still doesn't work.

Both my laptop and PC DVDs went out at the same time (probably after some automatic upgrades). My PC runs XP Pro and my laptop XP Home. Anyway, I ended up completely wiping my laptop and reinstalling windows (for a different issue) and suddenly my DVD/CD works again.

But no matter what I do (new drivers, MS "fixes" hot fixes, SP 3, etc.) my PC won't work. Even had a tech come out about it and he said it was "just gone bad for no reason." There was one issue different: with my laptop, the system could not see the drive AT ALL. With the PC, it sees the drive, but just won't read the CD, no matter what CD I use. I finally bought an external drive, and now it's having issues. MS doesn't seem to have a definitive fix for it.

If anyone has any other potential fixes, please let me know.

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A recap.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 29, 2013 9:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Didn't work for me

You deleted the usual filter registry items.
You booted safe mode to remove all cd/dvd drives in device manager.
You booted safe mode and used show all devices to remove all cd/dvd drives.

As to the USB drive issue, that one can involve motherboard drivers. Which is not a Microsoft issue at all.

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