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 drvupdate.com" 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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