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Not all Inspirons have CD burners (the 4 factory options were CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, and DVD/CD-RW. You can confirm that via Windows Start > Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager and double click on DVD/CD-ROM drives to see what model drive you have, then just Google it to see what it's capable of.
In case you have either a CD-RW type drive or a DVD/ CD-RW drive and it doesn't want to burn CD's , then it's a bad drive.
The CD and DVD reading portions of the drive use different sensors, so it's possible it would stop reading DVDs but still continue to read basic (audio) CDs.
The question is, will the same, working audio CD work while booted up fully?
If it does not, it may be a matter of a driver problem; unfortunately drivers cannot be found online for this model. Check this thread and make a post or comment to try to find someone who may have the drivers you need.
Interestingly, when the drive is getting old, it can read/read CDs but not DVDs. Your case is exceptional. It more looks like a software problem as well as the type of CDs you are using. Most drives prefer using CDs with a label "CD-R" but not "CD+R". Try checking on the type you are using.
Try Resetting the autorun software for the CDs as well by: 1) Right click on CD drive in my computer 2) Click on properties 3) Choose the Autorun tab 4) Choose the "prompt me each time to choose an action" option.
if your cd drive was able to read cds but cann't now then it is broken... if this is your first time testing and it can read cds but not dvds... then thats the way its made... if it cann't read anything its broken...
CD Drives read only
DVD/CD Combo drives are meant to have support for DVDs and CDs
Of course it's not going to work! it's not compatible, either buy an external CD/DVD Drive. or replace your CD Drive with a DVD/CD Drive.
It is possible that this is a drive issue, I've seen drives that one of the optical reader device has gone out, but generally it'e the DVD reader and will only read CD's. It's very rare that the CD reader goes and the DVD reader works. Before you replace drive, if it's only music CD's (you didn't mention program CD's), then update your media player. If it still won't play, then unistall the media player and completely reload it. At this point you can replacse the drive.
Have you tried booting to Windows XP CD (you should have received by Dell initially. If it's ok than you have some filter driver installed in windows that may be causing the issue. If booting from CD does not work either I'd suggest a replacement. Either call Dell or find one on ebay - I can provide link if you like.
Hi, if the PC's are older than 3 years or the cdrom drives are near it's end of life, it will make problems to read some CDR's. If you recorded the CD's you are trying to read, try recording at less than 4X speed. Sometimes, even "original" or "silver" CD's will make problems because they are not recorded correctly at the factory. If the problem is with a CDRW drive, it applies the same theory, the recording laser is damaged or used up. It will not record a legible CD or DVD even if the software says that the record operation ended successfully.