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10 Nov 2011  

Possible solution for common SATA DVD won't read disc

I have been way behind the curve on doing upgrades to my computer. I was still using XP until last weekend. One thing that stopped me was for months now my DVD R had packed it in and would no longer read discs. I seldom needed the drive so ignored the issue and I never seemed to have the time to run down and pick up a new one.
Finally decided it was time, for a number of reasons I won't get into, to do some updating. Picked up a copy of 7 Pro 64bit and a new drive and set about installing the new drive and Windows.
I disconnected all peripherals and did a clean install. All went well except for a nagging graphics issue I still haven't solved but that was a minor annoyance.
I installed all the peripherals and major software from copies saved to HD(that's why I never panicked about the dead drive).
Tonight I decided to install a game I hadn't played for a long time and MY NEW DRIVE WOULD NOT SEE A DISC! I tried numerous discs from CD's to DVD's, tried burning blanks, NOTHING!
I came to a sudden realization that the drive I just tossed in the garbage was likely NOT dead. I started hunting the forums trying to find a solution and nothing I found seemed to make any difference. It took a while before it dawned on me... I was still running XP when the other DVD cratered son it must be hardware, NOT software. After wracking my brain trying to remember when I first noticed the DVD issue and what I had changed on the system. Finally...
I had added a couple of external USB drives to store captured HDV. I unplugged the USB drives and tossed in a CD. Immediately the 'Autoplay' popped up! I tried a couple other discs. They worked fine. I even went into my shop and dug the "presumed dead" drive out of the bottom of bin, swapped it with the new one.
I now have a spare, LIVE drive.
I tried plugging in the USB drives and 'POOF', can't read a disc. After extensive testing, it turns out that with 2 old IDE HD's, one SATA HD and 1 SATA DVDr, I can only support 1 external USB HD and still be able to read a CD or DVD.
Windows 7 does not show any conflicts or problems in 'Device Manager' but obviously there is a resource issue somewhere.
Maybe someone can shed some light on how to get around the limitation but in the meantime I suggest that before buying a new DVD drive try reducing the stress on your sytem first.
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