Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
DVD Region Codes are intended to restrict where a DVD can be played. Computer DVD drives can sometimes alter region codes, but only a few times.
I am in England so when I played an English DVD, the region changed. But now I want to watch American DVDs so I need to change it back. But when I put the DVD in, the change the region prompt doesn't come up. I went through the device manager to try to change the DVD, but when I press ok to have it changed to region one, it says:
"Unable to update region settings. Please make sure the drive contains a region 1 media and you have administration privilege."
I have never had a problem with administration privilege before, so how do I fix this? And how do I change the DVD region? I am sure I have administration privilege, it's my computer.
DVD region coding is one of the most controversial aspects of commercial DVD production. It's trying to solve a problem, doing it poorly, and as a result consumers are once again stuck in the middle, getting burned.
Yes, I think that things are much worse than you imagine.
Region codes define the area of the world that a DVD is "allowed" to be played in. Regular DVD players are encoded with the region code that they're targeted for, so when you put the two together - DVD's coded for region 1 (North America), can only be played on a player purchased in North America. Send it to your family overseas, and they'll not be able to view it.
The stated "reason" is copy protection, and the fact that movies may be released in one country on DVD before it's finished playing in theaters elsewhere in the world. Being able to ship the DVDs to that country could cannibalize theater attendance. I don't buy it, myself, but that's at least part of the thinking.
I ran into this exact scenario you're facing some years ago when a relative of mine in Holland sent me a commercial DVD of the Dutch royal family. I couldn't view it, since I live in a different region code than the DVD was targeted for.
With the advent of DVD players in PC's, things got even more interesting. Like stand-alone DVD players, DVD drives are initially configured to a specific region code as well. However unlike they standalone players, the region code can be changed.
This, of course, defeats the purpose of region codes all together.
So, DVD player manufacturers set a compromise: if the region code can be changed at all, it can only be changed a small number of times; usually something like 5. After the 5th region code change, it can no longer be changed at all.
Very frustrating. Again.
And that's where I believe you are. This isn't about administrative privileges, it's about having exceeded the number of times you can reset the region code on your drive.
And to the best of my knowledge there's no legal way to circumvent it with that single drive.
If this is something you do often, perhaps it's worth installing a second DVD drive, configuring it to the "other" region code. Watch region 1 DVDs in one drive, and region 2 DVDs in the other.
You'll note that also defeats the purpose of region codes, and that's one of the reasons I thing it's such a poorly considered approach.
There are illegal solutions - such as ripping the DVD contents to your hard disk, which I'm lead to believe will remove the region code. With enough space on your hard disk (not uncommon these days) you can then watch the movies without the DVD player at all.
But as I said, those approaches are technically illegal in most countries.