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Windows 7: Dell Vostro 1400 laptop internal DVD writer not reading/writing DVDs..


28 Oct 2011   #1

MS Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 
Dell Vostro 1400 laptop internal DVD writer not reading/writing DVDs..

My 4 year old Dell vostro 1400, a carryover from my son's college days, has stopped reading and writing DVDs, though it reads and writes the CDs perfectly.

I replaced the DVD drive with a new Optiarc internal DVD writer. This new Optiarc has worked for about six months and then again same problem not reading and writing DVDs only.

Is the problem with the DVD writer or with the laptop? I am apprehensive to replace the DVD writer again.

By the way the OS is Windows XP professional.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Oct 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Normally it can be attributed to the laser burning out. The drive uses a different wavelength to do CDs than DVDs. They often don't burn out like a light bulb but just can't do the higher wavelengths.

Optical drives are notorious for sudden failure. On a desktop it's no big deal - a $20 repair. But a laptop is expensive to do replacements on. I'd be bumming too.

Curious (dealing with a similar issue with a laptop here):
When you go into Device Manager and check the properties of that Optiarc drive, is the name 'garbled'?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit
 
 

What is the status of the drive in the Device Manager? Does it show working correctly or is there an error showing, such as Code 39 (a common one). Generally optical drives last a long time. I do a lot of support on the Dell community users forum and usually drive problems are not the physical drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Oct 2011   #4

MS Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 

Here is the screen of Device manager showing the Optiarc DVDWriter properties.


Attached Thumbnails
Dell Vostro 1400 laptop internal DVD writer not reading/writing DVDs..-optiarc.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Mmmm. Not the same problem at all. The laptop I'm dealing with, the DVD drives name is all garbled. I assumed that to be a firmware issue.

I assume you have tried this fix here?: Your CD or DVD drive can't read or write media

And you have checked for upperfilters in the registry?
Your CD drive or DVD drive is missing or is not recognized by Windows or other programs
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #6

MS Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 

I ran the first link on my Dell Vostro laptop and it has connected me to the microsoft fixit site, where it has downloaded a CD_DVD_Diagnostics program.

I ran this program and this program has correctly identified the Optiarc DVD writer. But when asked by the program, I have inserted an original Dell Reinstallation DVD and ran a test on it. The program after running for about 5 minutes or so, gave an error

"Media in CD/DVD drive is not readable (Optiarc DVD RW AD - 7580A)" with the fix status "Not fixed"

Then it has redirected me to the microsoft website where it has given me some options and told me to update the windows to the latest service pack. But my computer is with service pack 3 and up-to-date as on today.

I tried the second link and checked the registry for UpperFilters and LowerFilters. I did not find any registry entries by these names in the given location.

Still the problem is not resolved.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #7

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit
 
 

If there were a upper/lower filter problem you would be getting an error in the Device Manager.

Dell has hardware diagnostics, accessed by F12 at POST (Power On Self Test). You can try that and see if anything shows up. I think you will need a blank disc for one of the test.

As previously noted, DVD's and CD's have different Laser light requirements. Have you tried a commercial CD such as a commercial music CD to see if it will play.

I do part-time PC support and rarely run into a bad optical drive. Usually any problems are something other than the actual drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #8
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Since this is the 2nd "failed" drive, see if you can see if the drive connector is loose inside, or pull it out and re-seat it and test.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

+1^

The PC I'm working on also gave the ""Media in CD/DVD drive is not readable " error. But the symptoms deteriorated from there.

I also tried:
  • Uninstalling the drive from the laptop, checking the contacts, reinstalling.
  • Uninstalling the drive from Device Manager and Restarting the computer to re-load the optical driver.
  • Tried updating the firmware, but the drive was not recognized.
  • Tried updating the CDROM driver, but the drive was not recognized.
You can try all of these to see if they will help, but some are somewhat unrelated to your specific issue.

I have had 3 or 4 optical drives just stop working on me over the years. Being who I am I had to pull the first ones apart and try and repair them but quickly found that the tolerances required to calibrate the laser heads goes far beyond what you can do without machines, so I conclude repair of optical drives is just not practical.

Give every constructive test that people suggest a test before giving up the ghost, but at some point you have to move on, I think.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Dell Vostro 1400 laptop internal DVD writer not reading/writing DVDs..




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