|The laser lens may be "dirty". |
Try using a laser lens cleaning CD in the drive if this is a desktop computer, or if this is a laptop, eject the tray and with no disk on the tray. clean off the obvious laser lens with a tissue or a soft cloth.
All optical drives have lists of media - brands and types of blank CDs and DVDs - that are known to work in them 100% correctly. If the blank disk you're using isn't one of those, it may not be detected correctly. On the other hand, the drive should always recognize some brands and types of blank disks, so if it doesn't recognize any, something else is wrong
If you have re-loaded Windows from scratch since the last time blank disks were detected, burner drives may not be detected correctly if you did not load the main chipset drivers for the mboard after Setup was finished, especially if the optical drive is connected to the secondary IDE channel / header. If burner drives aren't detected correctly, burnable disks may not be detected correctly, and burning software probably won't detect the burner drive as a burner drive.
You are more likely to have problems if you have loaded two or more burning programs in Windows that have a module that runs all the time, other than the simple one built into XP. E.g. Nero and Roxio software have such a module.
Some system installations have problems if INCD has been loaded in the Nero Software installation. If you have loaded Nero software, if you don't need to use INCD and it has been loaded, you can remove it by clicking on the Nero software listing in Add or Remove Programs and selecting Change.
IDE combo DVD/CD burner drives that are capable of burning DVD-R or DVD+R disks at 16X or greater speeds require that you connect them to an 80 wire data cable, because they support UDMA66 burst data speeds (UDMA 4 mode in XP) . If you connect them to a 40 wire data cable they may not be detected as burner drives; if they are detected as burner drives they will not be able to burn at their higher rated speeds. (SATA combo burner drives that are capable of burning DVD-R or DVD+R disks at 16X or greater speeds have the same max. data burst speed.)
Burner drives have at least two lasers, and associated circuits. After the drive has been used a lot, sometimes one laser or it's associated circuits malfunctions.