Why won't my PC burn disks?
October 23, 2011 2:22 PM   Subscribe

My PC (lenovo something, bought this year) has a problem reading CDs. I'll put in a disc to burn something and the burning program (iTunes or CDBurnerXP) will say it doesn't recognize the disk or it's not writeable or it's not blank. They're all blank. I try multiple ones from the batch. They're not sketchy disks, they're Sony Supremas 700 CDs. I've tried other brands, same result. Is this a hardware problem and how do troubleshoot/fix it?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Probably the drive is bad. There are two solutions:

1. Replace the drive.
2. Get an external USB drive.

#2 is less of a headache.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:31 PM on October 23, 2011

You're drive reads disks right?
Have you tried the built in CD burning program? Its rare but I've seen times when 3rd party software doesn't work at all.

If its within a year on a thinkpad I'm sure its in warranty. For Ideapads I don't if it is.
posted by Rubbstone at 2:35 PM on October 23, 2011

I've had that issue with my lenovo, I usually rub the tiny little clearish lens in the cd reader and it fixes it. I don't recommend that because you aren't supposed to touch it, but it has worked for me.
posted by firei at 4:04 PM on October 23, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry, not a laptop, its a tower. It does read, it just doesn't seem to play nice with any cd burning software. I will try the native xp burning but I want to be able to burn right out of itunes. How can I verify if the drive is bad?

external cd drive? No can do, the top of the tower is literally the only space I have for this and there's already a USB disk drive up there.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:31 PM on October 23, 2011

If native XP burning works, uninstalling and reinstalling itunes will likely fix the issue. May I ask is there any particular reason you're still on XP?
posted by Rubbstone at 6:16 PM on October 23, 2011

Bought this year? Make them send you a new CD burner. That's what the warranty is for.

If you want to verify that it's not a software issue before calling Lenovo, make an Ubuntu LiveUSB stick using unetbootin and see if you can get it to work in Ubuntu. If not, it's almost certainly a hardware problem. It's not terribly uncommon for CD/DVD burners to not be able to write and still read, although the more usual failure mode in my experience is for it to stop working entirely.
posted by wierdo at 9:40 PM on October 23, 2011

This really seems like a bad burner. Here's about all of the troubleshooting that is necessary:

1. Try to burn with a different program. Go get a trial version of Nero or some different software to burn.
2. Clean the lens. Use a very soft, dry cloth to clean it, such as one that would be used to clean a pair of eyeglasses. Do not use any solvents, water, etc. to clean with; you will kill the drive this way.
3. Replace the drive.

If your computer is in warranty, then the drive should be replaced by Lenovo. One year is standard warranty on Lenovo products and standard for virtually any optical drive. If it is out of warranty or you wish not to bother with Lenovo tech support, then you'll need to replace it on your own. All of their current tower models seem to use very standard 5.25", SATA CD/DVD burners. If you do replace on your own, may I suggest the ASUS one. It's quite solid.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:43 PM on October 23, 2011

Before calling for a replacement drive, try the following:
- from the Start menu, select My computer
- right click on the DVD drive
- select Properties
- click the last tab (Recording? - haven't got English Windows machine handy)
- verify the first box is checked
- and even if it is, manually select the recording speed (Fastest)
- click OK/Apply
I used to have the same problem and this is what fixed it; I have no idea as to the source of it. I had to do it each time I wanted to record a disc, until I reinstalled Windows.
posted by hat_eater at 6:57 AM on October 24, 2011

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