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DVDs Not Playing in Windows

dvd drive is not recognizedDigital Versatile Discs (DVDs) are still a very commonly used format for software, media, and storage. A single DVD can store up to 4.7 Gigabytes of data. Yet, sometimes a DVD won’t play on your Windows PC, and this could be due to a missing driver, an appropriate media player not being installed, or due to a file format issue. If you’re having an issue with it, check out this guide and see if we can’t help you fix it!

Disc Drive Manufacturers

Standardization isn’t something manufacturers like doing. Each manufacturer would prefer you only use their product and so, will create their standard for the technology. Luckily with the development of DVDs, this risk was taken into account and reduced when many manufacturers adopted the ISO-13346 Universal Disc Format (UDF) Standard.


The standard established the normal read and write criteria for DVDs including file system and error checking requirements, while remaining vendor neutral. Ensuring most DVDs could be read by most DVD Drives. Note that there are exceptions to this.

Types of DVD Discs and Drives Available

Many types of DVDs available and just as many Drives can read or write to them. Some of these types are now deprecated, but the Drives may still be used in some older PCs. Most modern

The main types (from oldest to newest) are:

1. DVD

The first generation read-only disc used to deliver software packages or videos to consumers and cannot be overwritten with any new data.

2. DVD-R

The first writable standard which stands for DVD-Recordable. These can be used to write data to the disc only once.


DVD-RW was based on CD-RW which was popular until the release of DVD Drives. It can re-write data to the disc up to 1000 times.


An update pushed forward by Sony and HP. These discs had major improvements in reliability and performance as well as increasing the write speed the disc could handle. It is also capable of 1000 rewrites to the disc but boosts error detection and correction during the writing process.

Solving DVD Playback Issues

Is the Disc Readable?

The first step in solving a DVD Playback issue is to ensure the drive is reading the disc. From your Windows Explorer, select the Disc Drive and check if you can see the files on the disc. If the files are not visible, it could mean your drive is broken or missing a driver.


If you are missing the correct driver, or you are unsure if you have the correct driver installed for your DVD Drive, Driver Support is an application that can solve this problem. The software creates an inventory of your PC’s hardware and installs the correct OEM Drivers. It will also check for any missing or outdated drivers and update them as required.


If the drive itself isn’t functioning, it may need to be replaced. If you have a desktop, replacements are relatively cheap. If you have a laptop, you can get an external USB drive and it’ll function just the same!


As noted earlier, there are many deprecated DVD Drives still in use today. Checking that you have the latest OEM drivers installed is usually a good place to start when facing DVD Playback issues in Windows.

Do you have the Correct Codec?

Codecs are the different flavors for media files. They are used during the compression of files and can determine which formats can or cannot play on a device. Codec Packs can be downloaded and installed to solve many of your playback issues.

Do you have the Right Media Player Software?

Windows Media Player has been the stalwart solution for media playback on Windows PCs. When it was first released it supported most of the available file types used. As the industry evolved, it’s sad to say Windows Media Player hasn’t always kept up.


Many users now prefer to use VLC Media Player which supports most of the file formats of today. For Windows Media Player, a codec pack may be required to play FLV and MKV formats while VLC will support these file types immediately.

Compatibility Issues

Sometimes the drive isn’t compatible with the disc. Incompatibility could be due to regional restrictions placed either on the drive manufacturer or DVD distributor. In these cases, advanced solutions will be required to fix the playback issue.

If your CD or DVD drive is not recognized by Windows, it could be a sign that you need to update out of date or missing drivers. You can do this manually, but it does take quite a bit of research and time. Driver Support offers an innovative solution that will safely scan your computer for any drivers that may need updating in a matter of minutes.