DVD drive is selective about what disks it runs into
March 30, 2010 8:25 PM   Subscribe

Windows 7 refuses to read commercial data dvds, plays movies fine, loads CDs fine, but chokes on pre-written disks.

I'm running Windows 7, 32bit, generic SATA DVD-RW drive.
When I put in a DVD movie, or DVD that I've burnt myself from an image, I experience no problems. However whenever I put in Fallout 3 or BF:BC2 in there, it says "no media present, please insert a disk", the drive read light flashes and I can hear it spin up and stop and spin up several times.

I would put this down to a hardware issue with the drive itself, however this is the second drive I've installed, so unless I have a vampire disk in my collection I'm beginning to think it's the O/S that's having the problem.

I've uninstalled any drive emulators and uninstalled and reinstalled the drive, checked for firmware updates, installed imgburn which reports:

LBA : 0

Error: Logical Unit is in process of becoming ready

These disks will read fine in any other computer, and will read any DVDs that I burned on it fine (as can everyone I give them to) but it doesn't seem to be able to read the file system on any disks I buy (games, etc). I installed Windows 7 from that drive recently as well!

Any ideas?
posted by chrisbucks to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
"... Any ideas?"
posted by chrisbucks to computers & internet

What kind of machine/motherboard are you running? Some DVD-RW or combo drive issues are resolved with BIOS updates. Others, with drive firmware updates, but you say "checked for firmware updates," which I hope means you've got the latest internal drive firmware and compatible Win 7 drivers, etc.

All that being true, I might try another data cable.
posted by paulsc at 9:42 PM on March 30, 2010

I think you have just had terrible luck with drives. How about buying (or borrowing) an external USB drive and giving that a try? When you replaced your drive, was it with the same brand? (A cheap brand?)

A drive that is out of spec will have no trouble reading a disk burned with that drive, because the disk will also be out of spec.

Can you take your burned disk, and your commercial disk, to a friend's place and see if his (her) computer can read them? I bet the commercial disk reads find but maybe your burned disk doesn't.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:45 PM on March 30, 2010

Took BF:BC2 to room mates computer and made ISO from there which solves the immediate problem, so the DVD worked on there, and also dvd-r that I have burnt from this drive are readable on other computers as well.

MB is an MSI Platinum P35 I believe.

The drives I have both sourced through a wholesaler and are completely unbranded (box is at home, if not been recycled into toilet paper somewhere), so yeah I expect they're on the cheap side, the drive has "Update your firmware and drivers at" printed on the front, the utility from there tells me I'm running the latest drivers/firmware.

Might have to biff it then! Surprising that this hasn't been reported by anyone else that has purchased the drives through the wholesaler (my dad).
posted by chrisbucks at 5:16 AM on March 31, 2010

A DVD drive is a very hi-tech opto-electro-mechanical system that requires high precision to function correctly. As a practical matter, I would avoid no-name DVD burners when you can find any number of name brand drives under $30 at places like NewEgg, complete with user ratings and reviews.
posted by exphysicist345 at 7:19 PM on March 31, 2010

Can you borrow your friend's dvd drive and install it in your box? And/Or take your drive and put it in your friend's box? That will narrow down the failure points.
posted by defcom1 at 7:39 PM on March 31, 2010

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