I need help in writing to my CD/DVD drive

Hewlett-packard / PAVILION
August 26, 2014 at 16:12:07
Specs: Windows Vista, Intel Pentium D 925
About half way thru copying a folder to my CD/DVD drive I started getting a message that said the destination drive was not there. I have reseated the drive cables to no avail. When checking the drives in my Computer the CD/DVD drive is there, but no indication of the space available on the drive. When opening/exploring the drive I get the message to insert a disc and the drive opens so I can. But there is a disc already there. So it seems the computer knows the drive is there, but the drive is not reading the disc.

I restored to an earlier date, but this did not fix my problem. I also thought of replacing the driver with a driver in another drive that was cloned to my main drive several weeks ago--the system will not let me delete the driver and replace it. I tried downloading a new driver, but am told I have the latest version--so no download.

It seems my only option is to replace the drive, but that is a bear in my computer so am planning to buy an external USB drive. I'm at a dead end to solving the problem. Does anyone have any advice for me?

Thanks a bunch, Uncle Dewey

See More: I need help in writing to my CD/DVD drive

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August 26, 2014 at 16:32:13
Are there any warning symbols beside your optical drive in device manager?

If the drive does a lot of work it could be that the laser has died / worn out. Out of curiosity will the optical drive read a pressed disk such as a shop bought CD or DVD? Sometimes a worn laser won't read or write to blank / written to media but still work with pressed media.

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August 26, 2014 at 16:43:08
There is no warning sign in Device Manager. I tried my Turbotax CD and it was not readable.

Thanks for your interest. Uncle Dewey

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August 26, 2014 at 16:59:49
I rarely use my CD/DVD drive now, I have all my important stuff, including Operating systems, on thumb drives.
EDIT: I should have also said, in addition to thumb drives, everything important is also backed up to a second hard drive.

message edited by Johnw

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Related Solutions

August 26, 2014 at 17:27:11
Long shot, have you tried rolling back the driver (if the option is available to you):


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August 26, 2014 at 17:46:25
I do a clone back up to a second hard drive and a condensed backup to a removable hard drive. I have so many cd discs, so will never need something else--it says here.

Uncle Dewey

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August 27, 2014 at 09:17:11
I checked "rollback" before and did so again now, but it is not available to me.

Thanks again for any thoughts anyone might have! Uncle Dewey

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August 28, 2014 at 01:59:02
You can try a cleaning disk but it's quite possible the drive is going bad.

Don't forget to preorder your Hatch green chili for this fall. Many vendors ship world-wide.

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September 4, 2014 at 14:10:18
Hi Dave,

I tried to find a drive cleaner on e-bay and they all need a working drive or are for TV discs. I now have an external drive which does the job, but is not as convenient as the drive that came with the computer.

Thanks, Uncle Dewey

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September 4, 2014 at 15:21:49
re' thumb/flash drives... They are not considered as safe and reliable for serious long term storage - although very few have known them to fail when in storage themselves. But certainly for transfers of data etc they are more convenient than a cd/dvd... That you also have all your "stuff" on an external hard drive is wise - and I get the feeling you are pretty well across most issues re' data storage and security.

I wasn't aware that there appear to be two kinds of disk cleaners...; one for computers and another for tv disks (whatever they are). I have only ever seen the one type of cleaner disk which is a disk with a set of soft mini brushes on it... It works fine in any computer, audio player, and cd/dvd recorder (whatever style of unit it may be).

That you have an external unit that works ok does tend to point to a failing built-in cd/dvd drive; especially as these days most (all?) drives use the same whatever driver that comes with the currentOS? I have had one combo-drive go down in a manner similar to your in the not so recent past. That I have had only one fail in 25yrs or so... does have me feeling they are (or at least were) pretty reliable bits of kit overall?

The laser is often the problem - it simply dies...; less common is the actual transport itself; and sometimes the micro-switch which activates the drive once the disk is in place and so on... Also often overlooked is the actual tracking mechanism which allows the lens head to track across the disk. It can simply seize up due to lack of adequate lubrication; and sometimes as a result of a too much/too long a period of constant use - when they get "rather warm..."

Several years ago a Sony dvd player which ran in a loop 24x7 (provided a background screen in a tv studio news set) - simply stopped working. Sony tech support were amazed it had lasted as long as it did; as the unit was not intended for 24x7 continuous running...; and this one hit a very high hour figure... It had simply dried out in terms of lubrication of the lens tracking aspect. A colleague took it to bits, cleaned the assembly (a small round steel bar along which the laser head "slid"), lubricated it afresh with whatever... and it worked fine again for an age. And that same colleague did the same with another brand too - again it was running 24x7 for a very extended period of time.

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September 4, 2014 at 15:55:29
Hi Again,

I meant they were designed for a CD/DVD player for my TV. Also, the one that was designed for a computer disc needed a working drive. Taking apart the installed drive is just too difficult. Also, I sensed that the drive knows the disc is there it just can't read it. I can hear it trying.

Alas, Uncle Dewey

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September 4, 2014 at 16:10:17
See if you can find a way to suit your skills.

clean cd drive laser

Here is a start.


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September 4, 2014 at 16:25:35
The disk cleaner is a single/simple cd type disk with brushes. It goes into the unit as if a normal disk and spins up etc... Logically if the drive won't spin the disk then it won't clean the lens assembly... They work in "any" cd/dvd drive - player and/or recorder for tv and computers, ghetto blasters, and portable cd players too...

But if the disk won't spin it won't work... So if your computer cd/dvd unit won't spin the disk then the drive more than likely faulty for any one of the reason I posted above. The trying and failing may well be the microswitch(es); or the lens tracking assembly.

You might insert a disk (any disk); then simply use the emergency eject pinhole to eject that disk. I have known that "fudge" to resolve the problem you describe in terms of trying and failing... I have done it with power on and also power off... It doesn't always work but sometimes has... Another wild car/long shot - if for any reason the laser (lens) itself or the assembly has become misaligned you may again get the try and fail loop...

I find it useful to note the position of the disk label when I insert it into the unit; and note if it its position has changed at all when I remove it (when trouble-shooting a "faulty" unit). If it hasn't altered - then the drive didn't spin; check the microswitch at least. If it has altered position then the drive did at least spin. But if it won't play a disk then one needs to look into the assorted issues re' microswitches (being intermittent); dirty lens assembly; sticking lens tracking...? Your unit does sound as though it's any of the above - possibly two or more. But they're not worth repairing these days; unless you're well into that level of maintenance and so on...; and have time and tools - and maybe even access to appropriate spare parts...?

My own observation is the the current style of slim line (external) units are not so well made or reliable as the earlier bulkier external units; and definitely not as well made or reliable as the larger/bulkier internal models.

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September 5, 2014 at 09:30:37
Dear Friends,

Thanks for the latest info. I checked the Google search and they too say the instructions are on the disc, I ignored them since my drive does not read. I guess I could put the disc in my new external drive and read the directions and then insert the disc in dead drive which I have been reluctant to do. Then their is the question of wet vs dry cleaning for the drive. Thought the computer and thus the drive are about seven years old the drive has not had a lot of usage--only occasional.

I guess I should just get off the pot and just order a disc cleaner and give it a whirl.

Thanks for tolerating me. Uncle Dewey

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September 5, 2014 at 11:24:32
cd/dvd drives are generally dry cleaned; other than possibly one might moisten the brushes on the cleaning disk - although I have "never" had a cleaning disk that came with cleaning fluid...

The disks I have used do actually "play" and produce a screen or two with instructions etc. and then run the cleaning process; and often a few test utilities too.But if your drive won't even run then no-way you can run the disk etc...

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September 5, 2014 at 15:36:45
I did what someone suggested and noticed the position of the disc before inserting, then check again when ejecting and it had changed positions. So, if I can read the instructions on my external drive and then follow those instructions when inserted in the troubled drive I'll be satisfied I've done all that can be done without removing the drive from the computer which is a near impossible task.

No doubt I'll order a disc just to satisfy myself and those of you are helping me.

Uncle Dewey

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September 6, 2014 at 01:19:51
Is this hp a desktop or a laptop?

And have you tried the remove hardware option (control panel), rebooting, and then if the drive isn't automatically detected and "re-installed" then do it manually (add new hardware - in control panel)?

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September 6, 2014 at 09:03:29
Hey trvir,

Yes I uninstalled the drive which automatically reinstalled upon booting.

Tx, Uncle Dewey

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September 6, 2014 at 09:29:47
And it works OK?

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September 6, 2014 at 11:47:42
No, it stayed the same. I sense that the computer knows there is a drive there, but cannot read any info. I should have said I did this some time ago. I have ordered a cleaning disc so will eventually eliminate the last thing I can do without taking the drive out and apart which I have deemed as too difficult to even get out of the desktop computer. I'll let you know how it goes after it is cleaned--I'm not optimistic.

Tx again, Uncle Dewey

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September 6, 2014 at 12:13:25
Removing a drive from a desktop is not usually a difficult task. Usually they are held in place with four small screws and that's all. Power down the computer completely - and remove the power cord! Remove the side panel and depending on make/model etc. you are usually able to see the assembly/housing which holds the drive (and any other drives too). Some of this assemblies/cages are fully removable, some not so.

Regardless - if you can see how the cd drive is installed then likely you will be able to see where the retaining screws are. Obviously you will need to disconnect the cables/connectors at the back of the drive too.

If you can/will post the actual model details of the HP Pavilion computer likely we can find the actual manual for it (on-line) and point you to the how to remove section for the cd drive...?

Whilst waiting for the model details I had a quick "shufftie" (as they say in the UK...) for a typical Pavilion service manual. On some current models removing a cd/dvd drive is very simple - once one has removed the appropriate side panel(s)... Seems there may not even be screws - just a clip or three... So knowing exact model you have will be most useful so as to point you to exactly how to set about it all.

message edited by trvlr

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September 7, 2014 at 09:22:22
My computer is a HP Pavillion a6100y. I see the screws, but to reach them it seems I need to remove the case (don't see how easily) to get near the screws and there are are a lot of cables that seem to easily become disconnected, and I'm not working on a bench, but rather bent over from above trying to do the job without messing with the rest of the computer--like dropping a screw one cannot find.

At 86, am I getting too old to fool with this stuff? I don't need more trouble than I already have. Thanks a gain--you guys are great! Uncle Dewey

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September 7, 2014 at 10:00:44
Don't give up - yet... All the manuals for your HP are here:


Download the Upgrading and Servicing guide

and the Troubleshooting and Maintenance guide.

The first one has a full how to take it apart instructions; and pretty clear pics/diagrams too...?

Make a pot of tea (or kawfee); grab a cookie or some cake; find a comfortable chair... and have read. Then using the correct screwdrivers (and you likely need only two) have a go... Remove the side(s) and thus access the CD/DVD unit...

Be sure to remove "all" power completely' which means remove the power cord from the back of the tower.

It will likely not be a daunting as it may first appear.

Let us know how you get on... et "bon chance..."

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September 19, 2014 at 15:40:18
While I'll be, trvir!! I just tried the CD Cleaning disc and it did not help--you may remember I thought the drive did not sense there is a disc in the drive and I guess I am correct. I was about to tell you that when I read your last message. Soooo, I looked at the manual and have removed the drive--I already knew how to get the covers off. Now I need to read the manual in more depth to see if they can guide me on repairing the drive, that is look for the sensor that detects the drive I suspect I won't be successful in that endeavor, but... If all else fails, I'll have to search for a replacement drive.

The drive is now on my cluttered work bench, so I'll read the manual shortly and let you know what's happen'. My external drive does the job, I just don't like it's location, it's short USB cord, nor that it slides whenever it is touched--all fixable, but how much better to have it installed inside.

Take care, and I really appreciate your help. Uncle Dewey

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September 19, 2014 at 16:19:39
Well I solved my problem. I just bought a Samsung drive with all the features-at $21.95 it was cheaper then my external drive which I will sell when the new one is installed. Will let you know when it is installed and running!

Am I happy or what. Uncle Dewey

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September 19, 2014 at 16:36:38
You sound like a chap after my own heart 'n mind; one of the "olde" school; a cursed and stubborn spirit; one wot won't give up - easily...

Besides it being possibly an issue wth the sensor, it "might" be the head is just not able slide/track along the arm. (Think of the olde turntables with their tone arm (as was often called) at the end of which was the pickup cartridge assembly. In time the complex of moving parts under the deck could/would slowly glue up/solidify - due to dust and intended lubricant baking more or less solid in the heat in that area.

As in one of my earlier responses here, cd/dvd units have similar issue at times. The arm however doesn't move (the olde turntable tone arm did of course) but the lens/head assembly does.... unless the minimal lubrication there in effect dries out. That can be addressed and the arm/head assembly cleaned and lubricated again; so that the lens/head assembly will slide along the fixed polished chrome/steel or whatever round arm/bar.

Interesting project to play with; suitably reinforced with tea/coffee/hot choccy 'n cookies/biscuits - even cake...

Which having said a replacement unit would go straight in and likely would quite inexpensive? The only issue you might have with a replacement unit is finding one that is the correct connection/interface. Originally they were all EIDE but I think they are mostly SATA nowadays? But likely one can find whichever via eBay, Amazon, New Egg etc.?

Computer fairs sometimes can have EIDE units, as may clearance houses etc.?

A decent slightly longer usb cord would be an investment; I've usually found Amazon good for those. And a wee patch (actually 3 or 4) of velcro on the base would allow you to park the external unit on top of the computer tower, and thus stop it sliding about?

The current slim line units are a pain in that regard, which is why i suggest the velcro option (or even a little double sided tape, or single sided in loops) on the base?

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September 19, 2014 at 18:23:03
Hey Again,

My extra hard drive is an EIDE and I use to clone my primary drive. My desktop will cable to a SATA or EIDE, since the original is a SATA that is the kind I will use. I'm expecting a easy installation and easier than trying to fix an older one and then for how long. It is true I'm stubborn--my grandparents immigrated from Sweden & Norway. I also have an attitude of "if it's broken, fix it". Served me well when I started out with IBM fixing their computers that filled very large rooms. It was a great time in my life-- doing what I loved to do. However, now I'm a full time househusband and caregiver, so I just don't have time to fix my DVD drive.

As an aside, one of our best friends were from England. They moved in next door and it was a lot of fun for us as their three children played and argued in their backyard, all with an English accent. A long time ago,--the man of the family died several years ago and the wife calls my wife at least once a week. We loved them and keep up with the kids and grand kids to this day. We also visited them when the husband had a two year assignment in England--great fun and no rain.

Memories! Take care and I'll let you know when I'm back in the saddle with an internal drive. Uncle Dewey

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September 23, 2014 at 09:54:39
The new disc drive arrived yesterday and was installed very easily went. I did have a problem with getting the front cover back on, but with patience it is back on and all is well. Thanks to all of you as you helped me conclude it was the drive, but it took a little while until trvir showed the way for an easy removal and replacement of the internal drive. Trying to repair the old drive is not worth it when a new one only cost me $21.

Thanks to everyone--I now know more than I ever wanted to know, but wiser no less.

Uncle Dewey

PS: Anyone looking for a external disc drive? ud

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September 23, 2014 at 10:23:03
Well dun Uncle Dewey; time now to enjoy a hot choccie or a latte (mocha or otherwise)...?

Good to hear it's all working "proper like" now... Times when it's definitely not worth the pennies to repair sumat when it's broke... But one can at least put the duff unit/part(s) into recycle bin?

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September 23, 2014 at 15:36:47
It is headed to the recycle bin. It would be interesting (fun) to try to take it a part and fix, but.. It would take a few hours and then maybe not be able to fix it. Besides I'm very busy as I'm a full time househusband and caregiver.

Live marches on and one must take one day at a time. Uncle Dewey

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