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CD/DVD Is Not Recognized
Many times, after inserting a disc into the CD or DVD drive, the disc is not recognized by that drive. CD-read and DVD-read issues can be caused by many sources. Perform the procedures presented in this General Computer Advice article when troubleshooting CD-read and DVD-read issues.
Begin with the first procedure and continue through the list. Try using the CD or DVD after each procedure is completed. For any procedure that requires changing current system settings, record the original settings before completing the procedure.
Verify that the correct disc (CD/DVD) is used when prompted to insert the disc.
For programs on DVD, verify that the drive containing the DVD is a DVD drive and not a CD-ROM drive. Most DVD drives will haveDVD printed on the front of the drive. For programs on DVD, consider the following:
DVD drives can read both DVD's and CD's.
CD-ROM drives can read only CD's.
If multiple disc drives (e.g., CD-ROM and CD-RW, or DVD and DVD-RW, or CD-ROM and DVD-RW, etc.) exist on the computer that can read the disc (refer to the items under Step 2), insert the CD or DVD into the other drive and try the program again.
If you are attempting to install a program and the installation does not begin after inserting the CD/DVD into the proper drive, refer to the program's instructions for the installation procedure.
Clean the CD/DVD in the following manner:
Place a small amount of nonabrasive liquid soap on the shiny side of the CD/DVD.
Using your fingertips and warm water, gently rub the soap on the CD/DVD in a circular motion.
Rinse the CD/DVD thoroughly and dry it using a clean, soft T-shirt or lint-free towel. (Do not use paper towels or tissue paper.)
Try to use a different CD or DVD in the drive to see if that disc can be read.
If possible, insert the problem CD or DVD into the DVD or CD drive of another computer to see if the issue persists.
In these drives there are two lasers and two pick-up sensors. Normally in a combined head. One set is used for the DVD and the other is used for the CD. From you description it sounds like the optical sensor for the CD laser has expired! When you place a CD into the drive a small amount of information is read by the drive that identifies the disc type, manufacturer, it's status, capacity etc. If the drive cannot read this then it thinks nothing is present.
If you insert a disc does the LED on the front the the unit flash a few times while it spins the disc. Does it do this repeatedly? If it fails to read the disc does the LED stop blinking and the drive no longer spins the disc? If this is the case then your drive may indeed be faulty.
I know your problem however it is easily fixed, the burner has worn out, the laser basically is not putting out enough light for it to work properly, the best and easiest fix, goto tigerdirect.com and replace the burner, they now start as low as 24.00 and go up to around 65.00 so it's not an expensive fix.