How can I fix my CD-R?
November 19, 2006 9:02 PM   Subscribe

How can I fix my CD-R?

I have a Dell Dimension 9150 that has a built-in DVR and CD-RW drive. While it can still play DVDs, it can no longer write CD-Rs or audio CDs. I hear creaking noise when it writes and it crashes after a minute with an error message: ""Error Sense Data: SENSE KEY: 3 ASC: C ASCQ: 0" While this error message comes from CDBurnerXPPro, other programs that I use to write CDs also crash. (These include Roxio, Itunes, Windows Media Player)

I am pretty sure that the problem is with the drive. I still have a warranty on my Dell Dimension which I bought only a few months ago. However, since I bought it online, I am wary of sending it to their warehouse for repairs. I do not want to spend a few weeks without a computer.

Do you think that I can fix the drive myself somehow? Perhaps the issue is something that I can handle on my own without sending the computer back for support. Any suggestions?

(P.S I have tried to write CDs at varying speeds, raning from 48x all the way down to 2x. The cd-writing process crashes at all speeds. I also closed all other applications so that nothing would interfere with the CD-writing process. Also, if anyone wants to know, my CD-R brand is TDK 700mb 80min)
posted by gregb1007 to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
If you have to ask, the answer is no. Sorry.
posted by IronLizard at 9:05 PM on November 19, 2006

Oh, and that's a "Peripheral Device Write Fault" error.
posted by IronLizard at 9:07 PM on November 19, 2006

I still have a warranty

Call Dell.

They'll probably send you a new drive, with a mailer to return the failed one. If you, or someone you know, is capable of swapping out a drive (and you should be -- it's really easy, unless you're lacking opposable thumbs, and it's something that IMHO all computer owners should know or learn how to do -- like changing a tire), then you'll be back in business without having to send your whole machine back.
posted by toxic at 9:40 PM on November 19, 2006

When this happened to me, they sent someone out to replace it for me. This was a few years ago, maybe they still do it...
posted by susanbeeswax at 9:42 PM on November 19, 2006

You should check what kind of warranty you have; It'll be printed on your parts list. Dell's most common plan is the 1-year economy in-home plan, where they'll send a contractor to your house the next business day (usually) if phone tech support can't resolve it.
posted by boaz at 10:09 PM on November 19, 2006

be very very wary of mailing the computer to them. I did it once- they refused to fix the problem, even though it was under warranty. They demanded an outrageous price to fix it, I said "no thanks", they sent it back with the problem unfixed AND the plastic body of the laptop physically broken so the keyboard was actually popped out of the frame.

The people I dealt with on the phone were the most rude and unhelpful I have ever encountered. Just one anecdote, of course, but I'm sure you can find other stories about their absolutely hideous customer service on the web.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:39 PM on November 19, 2006

Response by poster: drjimmy, thanks for writing that up. I am always grateful for warnings of potential problems with customer service. I've actually read somewhere that Dell's technical support has gotten worse over the years. There are apparently quite a few dissatisfied customers.
posted by gregb1007 at 10:57 PM on November 19, 2006

That said, it won't cost you anything but irreplaceable minutes of your life to call them and tell them your burner has failed inside the warranty period.

FWIW, my experiences dealing with Dell technical support for an obscure and intermittent RAM issue in my Inspiron 8200 laptop were positive, apart from having to spend an outrageous amount of time on hold.
posted by flabdablet at 11:16 PM on November 19, 2006

Here is the official Dell support web page explaining, with pictures, how to remove and install your CD/DVD drive. It looks pretty easy if you follow the instructions as written. Don't forget to do the Before You Begin instructions; those are safety instructions.

If I were you, I would call Dell and explain that you wish to replace the drive yourself, under warranty, following these instructions. They'll probably just ship you out a new one, as toxic suggested above.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:43 PM on November 19, 2006

Just so you know, these are not terribly expensive parts, and if Dell fails to make good you can replace it yourself for under $25, or with a DVD burner for under $40 (newegg,, etc.)
posted by alexei at 11:56 PM on November 19, 2006

what alexel said. A top-of-the-line DL DVD-R drive is $30 + tax & shipping at newegg. Depends on how much your time is worth to you, I guess.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:24 AM on November 20, 2006

if dell doesn't mail you a replacement, just go get one yourself and put it in

i actually tried to fix a dvd drive a few months ago, but couldn't figure out what was wrong with it after a few minutes of poking around in it ... at the prices they go for, it's really not worth a lot of time
posted by pyramid termite at 5:13 AM on November 20, 2006

The Pioneer DVR-111 is a very good drive that costs about $35. If Dell won't help you, just pick up one of those.
posted by Malor at 8:06 AM on November 20, 2006

I'd suggest getting a NEC DVD burner—they run about $40 these days, and they're the best (most compatible, fastest, best construction) you can get.
posted by limeonaire at 10:27 AM on November 20, 2006

« Older How to ask the IRS to give me a break   |   The prices I'm seeing now, they make me weep. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.