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Cranky CDs

Have you ever been playing a game and it seems like your computer is having a hard time reading the CD? You can hear it speed up, slow down, speed up… you know what I mean.

This can be caused by several different problems.

First off, if it only does it with one CD, you may want to check that CD for scratches. Maybe it’s the CD itself and not the drive that’s causing the problem.

If you find that it does this with all your CD’s, you may need to clean your CD-ROM drive. The best way to do this is to try to get a CD cleaning kit and run it in your drive. Now, keep in mind that most CD-ROM cleaners aren’t meant to be run in a computer, so you may run into a snag or two (ideally, find one that is meant for cleaning CD-ROM drives, not just CD players).

If you are stuck with a regular CD player cleaner –

The biggest problem with a regular CD player cleaner in a CD-ROM drive is that is just won’t run. If you can’t get the CD cleaner to run on its own, try using the CD Player program. You can get at it by clicking your Start button, Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, CD Player . If it shows a track, try to play it.

If that doesn’t get the CD-ROM clean (or just doesn’t work), you may need to use some canned air to blow the CD-ROM drive out. Be careful with this one though. If you hold the can a at funny angle it may spray out some “gunk” that can really mess up the lens on your CD-ROM’s laser.

Another problem may be your CD-ROM performance settings. Hold the ALT key down and double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop. Click the Performance tab on the resulting screen, then the File System button. Now, under the CD-ROM tab, try setting the “Supplemental cache size” up or down (probably the larger the better). You may also want to experiment with the “Optimize access pattern drop box.”

Finally, there may be an internal problem either in the computer or the drive. The controller on the motherboard may have gone bad or maybe the ribbon cable needs replaced.

If you suspect that the drive itself is bad, you’ll be out looking for a new drive since there’s really no economical way to repair an internal problem with a CD-ROM drive. Sorry.

~ Steve