Non-empty CDs/DVDs appear empty in WinXP
August 2, 2006 4:57 PM   Subscribe

Why does my Windows XP installation suddenly see every data CD or DVD as empty?

I'm running Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 2. I have an internal [IDE] DVD+/-RW drive with a Sony badge on it. Everything was working fine, but recently this drive started ignoring discs with application software. I can still access audio CDs and regular movie DVDs, but whenever I put an install disc in there for a [legitimately purchased and owned] commercial application not only does autoplay fail to do anything but when I look at the disc in Windows Explorer the disc appears to be entirely empty. What gives, and how can I fix it?
posted by Songdog to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I had that problem with a DVD player with WinXP SP2. Replacing the DVD player fixed it, although that might have been overkill - it might have just needed updated drivers or something.
posted by muddgirl at 5:02 PM on August 2, 2006

Response by poster: I checked and found a firmware update for the drive, a Sony DRU-710A (I had the BY02 firmware; the latest is BYX5). I haven't found a driver update. I installed the firmware update and rebooted. It made no difference.

I just tested with a DVD+RW that I'd put some data files on a while back. I can read that just fine. Then I tried a software CD-ROM, and as before it appears totally empty.
posted by Songdog at 5:19 PM on August 2, 2006

it's possible that some spyware/DRM crap screwed up the windows cdrom device driver stack. google around on that and you can find tools to fix it.
posted by rbs at 6:02 PM on August 2, 2006

You might try uninstalling and reinstalling the DVD drive (go to Control Panel-Administrative Tools-Computer Management-Device Manager and right-click on your DVD drive and click 'Uninstall Device', complete the steps shown, reboot (at which point the 'Found New Hardware' popup may appear, if not, go to Control Panel-Add New Hardware and find the device, then complete the wizard)). This assumes you have a driver for the drive. There's probably one on your Windows CD; if not, you can find one online.
Disclaimer: this may not be completely correct; I wrote it from memory. Do this at your own risk, I am not responsible if anything bad happens, your computer explodes, you turn into a marmoset, etc. etc.
posted by ArbiterOne at 8:49 PM on August 2, 2006

Response by poster: I've done full system scans with AdAware and SpyBot. I've updated the driver. I've uninstalled the drive and rebooted. I've even uninstalled it, disconnected the power and data cables, rebooted, shut down, reconnected it, and rebooted again. It's still my E: drive, but it still can't see pre-recorded data discs.
posted by Songdog at 1:35 PM on August 3, 2006

Just as a possibility, this (i.e both languagehat's and SongDog's problems) could be the old broken UpperFilter/LowerFilter problem. The MS KnowledgeBase article on that condition is here. It's so common that Microsoft has released a mini-application specifically to diagnose and repair it. It's generally my next step if I can boot from a CD, but deleting and re-detecting the device doesn't work.
posted by boaz at 6:00 PM on December 6, 2006

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