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Sir this problem as you have mentioned ocurs when the serial cable get broken or streched due to temperature change.I will advice you to change the serial cable of your DVDR. hope fully this would solve the problem.
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sometimes it depends on what kind of dvd-r you buy because they have DVD+R DVD-R DVD-DL ect it might also depend on the brand of the dvd-r most of the time the more exspencive ones work better Like sony or memorex
What is happening is that the dvdrom firmware or the laser is failing and cannot read the disc; and because the pc is using all the system resources trying to do so; it appears that you cannot get anything to run, making it seem as if the hard drive is faulty also, though not the case.
You will need to replace the drive if this is a common occurance, as the life of a dvd drive nowadays dependant on use is aprox 2 years, because as the prices come down so does the quality of the laser required to burn and read discs.
as with all writers eventually they fault at the lens and it gets out of line and cannot read discs, you can try the usual thing of checking Sony for any firmware updates, but first:-
Go to my computer>right click>hardware tab>device manager, then down list to cd/dvd drives and click '+' sign and highlight your writer, right click on it and select uninstall.
Restart PC and it will be automatically re installed, try again and if no change you will need to replace the drive as they are cheaper nowadays
You can firstly try this:-
Go to my computer>properties>hardware>device manager and look down the list for your cd/dvd drives and click the '+' sign then highlight your dvd drive and right click to delete.
Restart the pc and windows will find the drive again automatically and install the drivers.
But it may well be that your laser will need re aligning and cleaning with a cd cleaner, but if still no change the laser is on it's way out, I am lead to believe some burners have dual lasers for dvd and cd