ComputerBill's Computer Repair
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CD Drive problems are fairly prevalent. The first possibility to resolve is whether the problem is with the drive or with a particular disk or disks. The question which needs to be answered is whether the CD problem occurs with every disk or only with some disks. If the latter is the case your CD drive is probably fine but it is the disk itself which needs attention. Examine the back (non-printed) side of the disk for fingerprints, smudges or scratches. Since CD drives are optical devices, anything which disrupts the ability of the laser light from shining on the microscopic series of pits which constitute the information recorded on the disk will cause trouble. If cleaning seems appropriate, use your breath to add moisture to the surface of the disk and gently use a lint free cloth to wipe the disk radially, i.e., in lines from the hole in the center of the disk outward.
If the problem occurs with all disks, or is sporadic there may be dirt in the drive. Blowing compressed air into the drive with the tray open can sometimes be beneficial but if it does not the best approach is to replace the CD drive.
If your operating system does not detect the presence of your CD try forcing the issue by loading the appropriate driver during start-up. Note the location and name of the CD driver on your hard disk as well as the location of a file called mscdex.exe (often found in c:\windows\command). Modify your autoexec.bat file to include a line such as <path>mscdex.exe /d:cd0001, where "<path>" is the location of the mscdex.exe file (e.g., c:\windows\command\mscdex.exe /d:cd0001) and modify your config.sys file to include a line such as device=<path><CD driver> /d:cd0001 where "<path>" is the location of the driver file and "<CD driver>" is the name of the driver file (e.g., device=oakcdrom.sys /d:cd0001). After rebooting your machine, your CD should be present in Windows.
If your problem has not been covered please e-mail specific questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
ComputerBill's Computer Repair. All rights reserved. Last reviewed: 21 June 2001