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

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

Bad or dirty CD

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

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

Check Device Manager

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Click or double-click the System icon.
  3. In Windows XP and earlier, click the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button.
    In Windows Vista and later, click on the Device Manager link on the left side of the System window.

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

Note: If the CD-ROM drive is not found in the Device Manager, it is likely the drive's cables are not connected properly or that the drive is bad and needs to be replaced.

For additional information on Device Manager, see 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 another program is running that is causing the issue or that the drivers are corrupt. Open Device Manager, highlight and remove the CD-ROM currently installed by pressing the delete key. After deleting the CD-ROM, reboot the computer. Windows should then detect the CD-ROM and reinstall it.

Note: If the CD-ROM drive is not found in the Device Manager, it is likely the drive's cables are not connected properly or that the drive is bad and needs to be replaced.

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 disc, you are encountering a Windows driver related issue. Try 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 issue with Windows. However, if the CD-ROM does not work, refer to the next and final possibility. Additional information on bootable disks is 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, and click the Performance tab. Under Performance by File System, verify it says '32-bit'.

CD-ROM cables connected improperly

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

Note: If the disc drive is not opening when you press the eject button, check the power cable on the CD-ROM drive to make sure it is connected securely and properly.

Bad CD-ROM drive

If all the above steps have been tried and you're still encountering errors with reading discs in the CD-ROM drive, it's possible that the drive is bad. You can try replacing the drive and see if a new CD-ROM drive resolves the issue.

Additional information