How to Fix a DVD or CD Drive That’s Not Working

What do you do if your computer’s CD or DVD drive quits working? Fortunately, it’s often an easy fix.

What Causes This Issue

If your Windows 10 computer includes a CD or DVD drive, there are several issues that can cause it to stop working or appear to stop working. These include:

  • Bad disc. Sometimes it’s not the drive, but the disc. Try a different disc and see what happens.
  • Wrong type of disc. If you have a CD-only drive and insert a DVD disc, it won’t work. Likewise, if you try to play or record a Blu-ray disc in a regular DVD drive, that won’t work either.
  • You don’t have the right playback software installed. Believe it or not, Windows 10 does not come with a DVD player program installed. So, if you’re trying to play a DVD movie on your Windows 10 PC, it simply won’t work, at least not right out of the box. You’ll need to download and install a DVD playback app. You can find several good ones in the Microsoft Store online.
  • It could be a faulty Windows update. The regular Windows updates that Microsoft forces on your system can sometimes cause unexpected problems. If your CD/DVD drive stops working immediately after a Windows update, you may want to try uninstalling the update. (Open the Settings window and select Update & Security > Windows Update > View Update History >, Uninstall Updates.)
  • It could be caused when you install another app. Likewise, installing new software on your computer can sometimes cause conflicts with existing hardware and software. If your CD/DVD drive stops working immediately following the installation of a new software program, try uninstalling that new program and see what happens. (Open the Settings window and select Apps > Apps & Features, then select the app and click Uninstall.)

Is It a Driver Problem?

If you consider all of the previous advice and Windows still doesn’t recognize your CD/DVD drive – that is, if you insert a disc and it doesn’t appear in File Explorer – then chances are there’s an issue with the drive’s device driver.

A device driver isn’t a physical thing inside your computer. Instead, it’s a small software program that enables your PC to communicate with and control a specific hardware device – in this case, your CD/DVD drive. If a device driver is deleted or somehow becomes corrupted, that device will no longer work.

You can review and fix some driver problems by using Device Manager, a special diagnostic tool included with Windows. Follow these steps:

1. Launch Device Manager

Right-click the Start menu and select Device Manager.

2. Look for Resource Conflicts

One of the biggest causes of driver issues is what’s called a resource conflict. Any potential conflicts are highlighted in Device Manager.

Device Manager groups all devices by type. Double-click the DVD/CD-ROM stores item to display your system’s CD/DVD drive. If there is a problem with this device, it will be identified with one of the following symbols:

  • A yellow triangle with a black exclamation point (!) inside indicates that the device is in what Windows calls a “problem state.” Note that a device in a problem state can still be functioning, even though it has some sort of problem. The problem will be explained by the accompanying problem code.
  • A red “X” indicates that the device is currently disabled. This usually means that the device is physically present in your system but doesn’t have a driver loaded. This could also mean that a driver is loaded but not functioning properly.
  • A blue “i” on a white field indicates that the device is not using the automatic settings but has a manual configuration instead. (This isn’t necessarily bad because it doesn’t indicate a problem, only a different type of configuration.)

3. Display Device Properties

If you have a device conflict, right-click your CD/DVD drive select Properties from the pop-up menu.

4. Find the Conflict

This displays the Properties dialog box. Select the General tab. If everything is working normally, you see the message “This device is working properly” in the Device status box. If there is a problem, you should see a message indicating what it is, and the steps Windows recommends to solve the problem. The message might also display a problem code and number that can be useful when consulting with a technical support specialist, or prompt you to launch a troubleshooter for the device that is showing a problem.

The most common error codes include the following:

  • Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19)
  • The device is not working properly because Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device. (Code 31)
  • A driver (service) for this device has been disabled. An alternate driver may be providing this functionality. (Code 32)
  • Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)
  • Windows successfully loaded the device driver for this hardware but cannot find the hardware device. (Code 41)

How to Update Your CD/DVD Driver

Many driver problems are caused by a missing or corrupted device driver. The fix for any of these issues is to update the driver for your CD/DVD drive.

Fortunately, updating a device driver is relatively easy. Windows should include the original device driver for your CD/DVD drive. You can also find and downloaded updated drivers from the drive manufacturer’s website.

Just go to the manufacturer’s website and look for a “downloads” or “drivers” or “technical support” link. Click the link and search for your peripheral by model number. If the driver is there, you should also be able to find instructions on how to install it.

Once you’ve downloaded the latest driver to your computer, follow these steps to install it on your system.

1. Launch Device Manager

Right-click the Start menu and select Device Manager.

2. Right-Click Your Device

Double-click to expand the DVD/CD-ROM section, then right-click your device.

3. Update the Driver

Click the Update Driver option.

4. Install the New Driver

This opens the How do you want to search for drivers? Window. if you’ve already downloaded a new driver from the manufacturer’s website, click Browse my computer for driver software then navigate to the folder when a new driver is located. Otherwise, click Search automatically for updated driver software to have Windows search your computer and the Internet for the latest driver version.  Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the installation.

Uninstall and Reinstall the Driver

If, after updating the driver, your CD/DVD drive still doesn’t work, try uninstalling and then reinstalling the driver. This often fixes the problem.

1. Launch Device Manager

Right-click the Start menu and select Device Manager.

2. Right-Click Your Device

Double-click to expand the DVD/CD-ROM section, then right-click your device.

3. Uninstall Your Device

Click Uninstall device.

4. Reboot Your Computer

When the device driver is uninstalled, you now need to reboot your computer. (Save any open work first, of course!) When your computer restarts, it will automatically install the now-missing CD/DVD device driver.

Maybe the Drive Is Bad

If none of these steps gets your CD/DVD drive working again, it’s possible that the drive itself has physically gone bad. You may need to replace the drive – or hook up an external CD/DVD burner via USB.

Driver Support Can Keep All Your Devices Up to Date

Fixing a CD burner not working is just one example of updating system drivers to keep your computer operating smoothly. You can use Driver Support to keep all the drivers on your computer current and in prime operating condition.

Driver Support scours your system for all active device types supported. When you fully register the service, it automatically updates any drivers that are missing or out of date.

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