CD-ROM, DVD, or disc drive not working in Windows

Bad or dirty CD

Computer CD-ROMMake sure you have tested more than one CD in the disc drive it may be one CD that is bad or dirty. If all but one or two discs fails, that CD is bad or dirty. For instructions on cleaning your CDs and CD-ROM see the computer cleaning page.

If after cleaning the drive and CDs you still get errors it is likely the disc is bad.

Check Device Manager

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Double-click System
  3. Click the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button or just the Device Manager tab.

Within Device Manager verify that the CD-ROM has no exclamation marks or red Xs. If listed with a yellow exclamation mark or red X, remove the CD-ROM by highlighting the drive and pressing the delete key and reboot the computer to reinstall the CD-ROM drive.

Additional information on Device Manager can be found on our Device Manager page.

Corruption in Windows

Try testing the CD-ROM in Safe Mode. If the CD-ROM works in Safe Mode but not in Normal Windows it's likely that another program is running that is causing the issue or that drivers are corrupt. Open Device Manager and highlight and remove the CD-ROM currently installed and remove it by pressing the delete key. Once done reboot the computer and let Windows reinstall the CD-ROM.

Try booting a CD or bootable diskette

Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and later users

If the above recommendations do not work, boot from the Windows disc to see if the computer can detect and boot from the disc. If the computer can boot from the CD you are encountering a Windows driver related issue attempt the above recommendations again.

Windows 98 users

If the above recommendations have been attempted, try booting from a Windows 98 diskette or other bootable diskette with CD-ROM drivers to see if the CD-ROM works from MS-DOS. If the CD-ROM does work from MS-DOS, this indicates that you have a corruption with Windows. If, however, the CD-ROM does not work, refer to the next and final possibility. Additional information on bootable disks can be found on our boot disk page.

Verify computer running in 32-bit mode

Windows 95 and Windows 98 users only
Verify that your computer is running in 32-bit mode by clicking Start, Settings, Control Panel, double-click System, click the Performance tab. Under performance by File System verify it says '32-bit'.

Bad CD-ROM drive or connected improperly

If you have recently installed or moved your computer verify that your CD-ROM cables are properly connected.

Bad drive

If all the above steps have been tried and you're still encountering errors with reading discs in your drive it's possible that the actual drive may be bad.

Additional information

  • See our CD-ROM, DVD, and Blu-Ray definitions for further information and related links on these terms.