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CD/DVDs appear blank

February 24, 2010 at 11:19:23
Specs: Windows XP

I have run into a rather odd problem involving my DVD drive.

When I put a disk into my drive it appears blank. doubleclicking on the drive simply displays a blank window and doesn't attempt to access the drive. I rarely use the drive so I cannot say how long it has been going on.

Originally I thought this was related to a virus or malware that I had been hit with, but since cleaning that up it has not changed the situation with the drive.

I tried replacing the drive but this did not solve the problem, it did, however reveal that the drive works when the system initially starts up. If I open the drive window shortly after Windows starts it will work, but if I change CDs or leave it alone it will stop working.

I have also discovered that it will work whenever I have the Disk Management window open.

I haven't received any errors, it just appears as though the drive doesn't bother to try to read the disk unless the computer has just started up or Disk Management is currently open.

Any suggestions as to what could be causing this would be appreciated.


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#1
February 24, 2010 at 19:30:25

"When I put a disk into my drive it appears blank.

Was it a supposedly burned disk ?
If so,
See response 4:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

"I tried replacing the drive but this did not solve the problem...."
"that the drive works when the system initially starts up. If I open the drive window shortly after Windows starts it will work, but if I change CDs or leave it alone it will stop working.

I have also discovered that it will work whenever I have the Disk Management window open."

If it's an IDE drive...

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittant, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

If it's a SATA drive....

Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.


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#2
February 24, 2010 at 20:05:37

Thank you for your response.

The disks are retail video game disks and driver CDs. I have used them before and they work flawlessly in any other computer I have.

The drive I am currently using is IDE and has been plugged in for the last two years with no change to the cable. The one I tried replacing it with was SATA. Both experienced the same symptoms. I returned the SATA drive since it didn't fix the problem and am still using the IDE drive.


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#3
February 25, 2010 at 07:02:31

"I tried replacing the drive but this did not solve the problem...."

Burner optical drives have at least two lasers - sometimes one laser burns out, or the circuits for one laser burn out, or if the laser lens is dirty you can have problems reading a disk, but replacing the drive with a new one eliminates those possibilities.

The only other thing I know of that can cause your problems is a poor data cable connection, or a damaged data cable, or the circuits for the data cable header you connected to on the mboard are damaged, which is extremely rare, in which case for your situation no SATA drive would would work properly when connected to the same SATA header you connected the SATA optical drive to.


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