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Problems reading CDs in a DVD drive could be because the CD is faulty, or your drive is incompatible. There is an easy way to tell which it is.

Hello. My DVD drive will not read a new game I just bought. It doesn't react at all when I put the CD in and when I go into the DVD drive it says, "insert disc". All my other games work. What should I do? My computer is an HP Pavilion and I use Windows Vista.

In this excerpt from Answercast #91 I look at a case where a game CD cannot be read on an apparently good DVD drive.

Reading CD in DVD drive

There are two things that are worth noting about buying CDs or DVDs.

Damaged disc

One is they could be damaged. The very first thing I would do is take that disc that you're trying to use to a different computer and see if it works there. If it does not, then I'd actually return it for a replacement disc.

My guess is there's something about that disc that is damaged enough to making it unreadable. Yea, it does happen. It's not very often... but it absolutely does happen. You could be the lucky/unlucky person to have it happen to them.

Incompatible drives

The other scenario is that, sometimes, the media on which a DVD or CD is written is incompatible with some drives.

Now, unfortunately, if you take that CD to another machine and it works there... then it points a finger at your own DVD drive. Even though it may be working with other DVDs, or other CDs, clearly it's having a problem with this one.

Solutions include replacing that drive, or potentially doing something like getting a temporary external USB/CD drive. I know they exist; I have one. Using that to read this one CD so that you can get your software loaded.

But my inclination, my first reaction is to think that this is probably a problem with the media that you've purchased - and that replacing might be the simplest and most expedient way to solve the problem.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

End of Answercast 91 Back to - Audio Segment

Article C6286 - January 28, 2013 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
January 29, 2013 3:25 PM

I had that happen one and actually believe that a pure CD drive was more sensitive than a device that reads multiple media. I do not know if a DVD switches lasers to read DVD and DVD-R's and RWs. Or it is one laser doing double duty. DVD's should require a different wavelength that a CD. Blue ray is totally different than a red CD

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