Windows cannot read from this disk.
January 16, 2004 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Why did my DVD player on my IBM ThinkPad laptop stop being able to read Audio CDs? It still plays DVDs fine, but when I insert an audio CD I get "Windows cannot read from this disk. The disk might be corrupted..." I've searched all over for a solution to this problem and have found people with similar problems, but haven't been able to find a solution. [more inside]

I'm 99% sure it's a registry problem but don't know where to start. I had installed some shareware MP3 to wave converter and think that it might have made some registry entries that weren't rolled back when I uninstalled it. Other than that, I'm stumped.

And, by the way, it really upsets me that I can't go to Microsoft's web site, enter my error and get a list of possible reasons for it. When I go to their knowledge base and search for the error message, it takes me to a generic Windows XP help page. Ugh!
posted by fletchmuy to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I have little helpful to add, but that doesn't sound at all like a registry problem to me.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:35 AM on January 16, 2004

Does it recognize CD-ROMs? If not the laser may have problems focusing on CDs, while it can focus on DVDs. A Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol on the lens may do the trick. If not, you may have to send it in for service.

An MP3->WAV converter shouldn't have touched your CD/DVD drivers or registry entries (but a burner or ripper may have).
posted by zsazsa at 11:17 AM on January 16, 2004

Thanks for the help so far. I just tried a data CD and it wouldn't read that either. I'm off to fine some isopropyl alcohol and will let you know if that clears it up.
posted by fletchmuy at 11:24 AM on January 16, 2004

I had the same issue with my machine, and for the life of me I have no idea what fixed it. That makes it one of the more frustrating sorts of problems -- it's quite possible that it's Just One Of Those Things (JOOTT). Grrr.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:52 AM on January 16, 2004

Well, I cleaned the lens and still no dice. Unfortunately, I don't have a DVD with me here at work, so I can't test it. But, the drive is not reading anything that I put into it.
posted by fletchmuy at 12:05 PM on January 16, 2004

you could try booting from a knoppix cd (or, indeed, from your windows install or ibm recovery cd). if that fails then you know it's bios/hardware, not windows.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:42 PM on January 16, 2004

Thanks for your help everyone. I just swapped the drive out with another one here at work and now everything is fine. Must have just been a hardware failure. Thanks again.
posted by fletchmuy at 12:56 PM on January 16, 2004

I know that when a CD player won't play or or a PC won't record from a scratched CD, spraying a little Lemon Pledge on the sucker and buffing it to a shine with toilet paper often works charms.
posted by y2karl at 10:34 PM on January 16, 2004

This is a failure seen often on PS2s. In their case the DVD laser burns out. In your case, I think on your drive the CD laser has given up.

It sucks, but the amount of power they try to extract from these cheap lasers often compromises long term reliability.

To extend the life of your drive, always take the disc out when not in use.
posted by shepd at 12:30 AM on January 17, 2004

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