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Possible Fixes For A Non-Functioning DVD Drive

Dan from Nevada, Texas writes:

I cannot get the DVD player on my laptop to function. I have to manually open it through the tiny hole, but once the DVD is inserted, it does not play, no light comes on, etc. I checked the Device manager and it said it’s operating properly. What can I do? This is under 2 yrs. old and has been rarely used.

Hi, Dan.  Well, the first thing that I’d recommend is to check your warranty.  Since I have an HP, I know that they warranty their machines for two years, and have ever since Costco, one of their largest Vendors, started extending the manufacturer’s warranties on their electronics about four years ago.  That way, if it IS still under warranty, you just flat don’t have to mess with it.

If it’s no longer in warranty, then I would recommend starting from scratch on your drivers.  The first thing that you want to do is open your device manager.  It sounds like you’re pretty conversant with doing this, but for those who aren’t, here’s what you do…

Click on your start button (that’s the Windows icon at the lower left of your screen for Vista and 7 users) and type “device manager” into the search box.  Once you see the device manager, click to open it.  Then expand the “DVD/CD Drives” category to find your drive.  Right-click on your drive.

Before uninstalling this and starting over from scratch, you may want to try clicking on “Update Driver Software” and see if Windows can find an update for your software.  If it does, then install the new software, reboot your computer and see if that helps.  If it doesn’t, then it’s time to roll your sleeves up and go a little deeper.

If you have to do that, then reopen your device manager, expand your CD drives, (jot down the model number of your drive, just in case) then right-click and click on “Uninstall”.  This will completely remove your old software.  When that’s done, reboot your machine.  Once your machine is rebooted, some versions of Windows will open the “Found New Hardware” wizard.  If this happens, just follow the instructions to have Windows find the correct software.  In Windows 7, it does this automatically in the background, and you’ll see a dialogue box that looks like this:

Once that’s done, check your CD drive and see if it works.  If Windows can’t find the correct driver, then Google the model number, find the driver and install it manually.  Typically, the manufacturer’s website is your best bet. If none of these methods work, then you may want to consider getting a new drive – they go anywhere from $20 to $60, depending the brand.

Hope that this helps!

~Randal Schaffer