Cd drive not functioning properly

Dell latitude / Ppo1l
January 17, 2009 at 02:48:33
Specs: WinXP, 1ghz/256mb
Hi this machines dvd/cdrw combo drive is not working properly. The light on the front of the drive reacts properly when a cd or dvd is loaded but windows doesn't open it automatically like it should. It is listed correctly in device manager and in My Computer also as a cd drive. When I put either a data(burnt cd or dvd), dvd movie(factory made) or any other it doesn't show as loaded at all but the light on the drive shows it is trying. When I click on the cd drive icon in My Computer it opens to an empty file. Doesn't matter what I put into the drive it is always the same. I also did 'safely remove hardware' a couple of times and then reput the device back and windows saw it like it should but nothing improved. The former owner of this machine said it was working and roughly pushed the cd drive in to show that this is the way to get it working and I told him off for that. Anyway that didn't do any good. He said he had previouly played cd's or dvd's but to me that rought behaviour will only result in damaged hardware. He did say he hadn't used the machine in a while so maybe the machine had finally had enough. Is there anything else I can try? Maybe clean something? I am not sure what to try?

"The meaning of life is to be happy and useful" Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama


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#1
January 17, 2009 at 07:38:38
Sounds like dirty lenses or lasers that are weak or dead. You could try a lense cleaning kit if you can find one at a reasonable price.

Could also be an issue with Windows components. To find out, try booting to a bootable CD and see if it works on that environment.

I consider burners expendable hardware. You can buy a burner at newegg.com for less than $30 shipped.


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#2
January 17, 2009 at 08:05:40
Yeah the odd thing is that error doesn't come up that the drive or media can't be read. I can't remember that error as I don't use windows anymore. I have never seen it open and then the thing is blank. Yes the lens could be dirty. I have one of those lens cleaning kits so will try that. The laptop is going overseas for some children that can't afford pc's. Just a project a friend of mine put together in his country. I don't like to spend money on these things because I don't have any myself being on a pension. I like to do as much as I can that is free. Labour costs...no charge he he.
Actually the first thing I tried was a bootable cd(DreamLinux so I could install it) and changed the boot sequence so it would boot into it but no go. That is why I tried other cd's/dvd's.

"The meaning of life is to be happy and useful" Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama


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#3
January 17, 2009 at 08:10:38
Mmmmm ok well I am using windows media player and the light is consistant on the cd drive(green). At the bottom of windows media player it is going from the letter E which is the cd drives letter to 'last played'. Not sure what that means as I don't use that program. Or haven't in a long time. It goes from E to Last Played the E then Last Played and it keeps going like that. The pause button is present the whole time so it is trying to do something I guess? This is all while the lens cleaner cd is in the drive sorry.

"The meaning of life is to be happy and useful" Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama


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Related Solutions

#4
January 17, 2009 at 08:31:11
Didn't realize this was a laptop. If the drive doesn't work right in the pre-OS stages then the drive may be defective or the boot order may be set wrong.

Also, if the drive is a removable drive it may not be seated properly.

Does the drive show in the POST screens at start up?


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#5
January 17, 2009 at 08:56:14
Sorry forgot to mention that it is a laptop. Yeah there seems to be a problem with the seating i think. I have reseated it carefully a few times but I feel the roughness of the former owner has made things worse even though he said it would work if he roughly put it back the way he did. I got mad at him.
I don't think this machine shows what is where as it was loading. I went into the bios and it was listed and there is a sound when you put it in and then take it out. It shows something in the systray too.
Anyway I think it is sick and I will say goodbye to it tomorrow.

"The meaning of life is to be happy and useful" Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama


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#6
January 17, 2009 at 09:18:42
If you are handy and careful maybe you can correct the contact issue then. When you remove the drive from the bay you should be able to see the contacts in there somewhere. They may be distorted. If so, gently prodding back into position may solve the problem.

Of course perform this operation with the battery and AC removed. Exercise antistatic precautions. Check the contacts on the drive too. Tweezers and/or dental picks may be useful.


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#7
January 17, 2009 at 11:57:49
PPO1L isn't the specific model number - that's an additional label assigned to several different Dell models -
e.g.
Latitude C500, or C510, or C600, or C610
Inspiron 4000 series - three possible mboards.

Enter the Service tag number on a Dell site to find what specfic model it is, and what particular components the laptop has.

If the hard drive has had Windows installed on it from a regular CD, sometimes the optical drive is not detected properly until AFTER the main chipset drivers have been loaded.
Whenever you load Windows from a regular Windows CD (or DVD) from scratch, after Setup is finished you must load the drivers for the mboard, particularly the main chipset drivers, in order for Windows to have the proper drivers for and information about your mboard hardware, including it's AGP or PCI-E, ACPI, and hard drive controller support. If you have a generic system and have the CD that came with the mboard, all the necessary drivers are on it. If you load drivers from the web, brand name system builders and mboard makers often DO NOT have the main chipset drivers listed in the downloads for your model - in that case you must go to the maker of the main chipset's web site, get the drivers, and load them.

If the optical drive module has a contact problem, you could also try cleaning the contacts by wiping them off with a cloth or tissue, and/or using isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol; preferably a 99% solution, or methyl alcohol, or ethyl alcohol (e.g. vodka) on a cloth ot tissue to clean them.
Don't touch them with your fingers.

Usually you can easily see and get at the laser lens when a laptop optical drive tray is ejected - in that case wipe it off with something such as a tissue, cloth, or Q-tip.

"When I put either a data(burnt cd or dvd), dvd movie(factory made) or any other it doesn't show as loaded at all but the light on the drive shows it is trying. When I click on the cd drive icon in My Computer it opens to an empty file."

Is the former owner SURE he was able to read DVDs in the drive?? Going by info I found on Dell sites, this laptop may be old enough that it may NOT have come with an optical drive capable of reading DVDs, and it probably did NOT come with a drive capable of burning DVDs.
If the drive only did those things when a DVD is inserted, but behaved normally when a CD is inserted, those symptoms are typical when you try to read a DVD in a drive that cannot read them.

Also,
- if there is nothing wrong with the drive or it's connection, you should have no problem reading an original CD or CD-R burned CD, but a CD-RW or other type of burned CD or DVD may not read properly in a drive it was not made in.
- if it can read DVDs, it should have no problem reading DVD-R and usually DVD-RW disks, but it may be old enough that it may not be able to read other types of burned DVDs.

If the drive can't read any disk that's another matter - if fiddling with the contacts doesn't help, the circuits for it's board may be damaged, or sometimes a laser, or the circuits for it, burns out - a drive that can read DVDs has two lasers.
"...the light on the drive shows it is trying"
That's also typical if the circuit board or the laser isn't working properly.

If you can't get the optical drive to work, you can often find new compatible modules on the web for a reasonable price if you search using the Dell part number for the original unit.


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#8
January 17, 2009 at 16:00:30
Lots of good info there by tubesandwires.

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#9
January 17, 2009 at 18:12:05
Yes i did find out after getting on the Dell site a couple of days ago that it is a C610. That other number is what i got from the underside of the machine.
I will take a 2nd look at the contacts. I forgot to address that. They looked ok but there is also these metal pieces that are curved and are like springs I think. A couple of them didn't look like they were making a connection with the back of the bay so I carefully made them the same and then the cd drive seemed to slide into place a lot better than before.
I got the firmware for the model of cdrw/dvd drive from the Dell site and made an attempt to install it(not sure if it but I think it did) so it is what I said and does say so on the drive. There are about 8 cd drives available for this model of machine. They are listed on the Dell site under the firmwire list. The firmware list had drives were that from plain cd roms to what I have here. There were none that were dvd burners.
Yes I have experienced laptops that have had the same light thing happening on the cd drive but have not been sure about it so thanks for that info. Sometimes it is a matter of waiting for it to do it's thing but sometimes it goes nowhere like in this case.
Yes I am not going to spend money on this machine as it is going to Senegal to kids in a remote area where my friend is from. We have sent a couple of laptops to his friends before but now a whole container is going there. This friend is doing all sorts of things on a grass roots level and if my poor efforts help that is ok.I am finding out so much about hardware this way with help from you guys but then I have to know when to let go.
I will get into cleaning the contacts later today!

"The meaning of life is to be happy and useful" Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama


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#10
January 18, 2009 at 01:22:16
Damn that didn't work but I can't say i gave it a good clean because it is hard to get a Q-tip into the bay area at the back. I was able to clean the contacts or whatever they are called on the back of the drive though. We don't have those long q-tips in Australia like the surgical ones. I tried to find something else.

"The meaning of life is to be happy and useful" Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama


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