Partial PC DVD drive failure
April 6, 2008 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Why won't the DVD player in my computer play legitimate DVD's?

I have a Plextor PX-708A DVD drive in my PC which has stopped recognizing real DVD's, but still does everything else like it should: it can read and write CD's, write DVD's, read DVD's that I have burned from images, and even read game DVD's! Real, store-bought movies don't show up in Explorer at all, and cannot be accessed from any program I've tried. The drive is set to region 1, and worked fine until maybe 6 months ago. I have a variety of DVD related software installed (like DVD Shrink and DAEMON Tools) if that could make a difference.
posted by Who_Am_I to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: Probably it's out of calibration now. That can happen with drives over time. That's why it can read DVDs it writes; those DVDs are also out of cal. (And probably can't be read by any other drive.)

It needs to be replaced.
posted by Class Goat at 8:23 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The DVD's that I burn from the drive are playing fine on my standalone DVD player, plus the drive can still read store-bought game DVD's.
posted by Who_Am_I at 9:13 AM on April 6, 2008

"Out of cal" isn't all-or-nothing. It's a gradual thing. Probably the game DVDs were created in a different foundry than the movie DVDs you can't play anymore.

The fact that your drive can read store-bought game DVDs doesn't affect my answer, or my solution: it needs to be replaced.
posted by Class Goat at 9:16 AM on April 6, 2008

Is there a chance that your region could have gotten reset to something different? That might affect legit DVDs more than the burned ones that are working.
posted by bassjump at 12:39 PM on April 6, 2008

Update all your software. I needed to update Daemon Tools recently to be able to read DVDs again.
posted by kdar at 1:07 PM on April 6, 2008

How old is it? Is it still under warranty? Once you've exhausted all other possibilities (like installing/reinstalling software, trying the drive in a different machine, etc.,), get an RMA by calling Plextor at 800-204-0332 or emailing them at (Information found here.)

Apparently you have to pay shipping both ways, but I'd personally rather pay ~$10 than ~$150 for a new DVD-R burner.
posted by ostranenie at 2:02 PM on April 6, 2008

You could try updating the drives firmware. (However, I have no idea if this would do anything; it might, if the problem is a design flaw within the drive's internal 'software' -- one thing to do would be to check online regarding whether others have had similar problems with that model as of late. Also, keep in mind that updating firmware is not without its risks).
posted by astrochimp at 3:58 PM on April 6, 2008

I had success once fixing this sort of problem with a firmware update.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:04 PM on April 6, 2008

Response by poster: Well I updated the firmware and Daemon Tools, and cleaned up some other stuff, and it's still not working right. The drive is several years old, probably reasonable for it to fail by now. Unfortunately I think Class Goat is right. Thanks for the ideas.
posted by Who_Am_I at 11:13 AM on April 8, 2008

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