I see them advertised "open box" (which usually means returned) or refurbished....and who knows what that means. I see prices from $20-25. If wish, you could try taking it apart and doing some cleaning. I expect mixed results, however. I have seen drives that were just not well fitted in the case and didn't open/close properly or make switch contact. You could try it outside of the case. I'd not spend much time trying to fix it when they're so inexpensive to replace.
My DVD-RW combo drive, a Sony-Optiarc AD7260S drive, won't recognize CDs, of any format. In Windows Explorer, when I insert a CD, the drive doesn't change from when it's empty, and when I try to write to the disc, it says the drive is empty. Also, I cannot boot from a DVD of mine, which has Fedora core 15 on it. I CAN read and write to DVDS, though.
My question is, is there any way at all to remedy this? I'm assuming that I'll need to replace it, however.