1. Did you try a CD/DVD lens cleaner?
2. http://www.google.com/search?q=CDD5301&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=mozilla&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial finds new firmware. Got that?
As to a new drive, I just pick up some 39 buck DVDRW drive from newegg.com and use that. I don't worry about make or model since I'm finding the products to be fungible. When you shop, you'll have to look to see if they offer a software bundle. Some do, some don't.
My current drive (Philips CDD5301) no longer writes. I have tried various troubleshooting techniques without success. I believe I have isolated the problem to a s/w compatibility issue given the "SENSE KEY: 5 ASC: 30 ASCQ: 0I" error message I get.
I am leaning towards simply replacing the drive, but am concerned that my problem will persist since it I believe it to be an XP issue.
Does anyone know if the s/w that comes with the hardware will supercede what XP does? If not, how then do I go about isolating and deleting the driver(s), firmware, etc. that might intervere?
Please also advise of a couple of options I should consider and relevant criteria to use in my selection process.