CDROM & DVDROM problems are often noticed by the "dirty disc" problem.
This doesn't always mean the disc is dirty. I often notice drives spinning
up and spinning down as they try to access the data.
(1) Always look at this disc itself for any major scratches, dust or grease.
On the surface of the disc or near the centre hole. Clean the disc if
dirty and then try the disc again. If it doesn't work do you get the same
problem with different discs?
(2) Use your cd or dvd lens cleaner, the one that looks like a standard
cd or dvd. Try to access the problem disc(s) again, or try it in a
(3) Is the drive a highspeed drive (ie +24x CDROM, or +2x DVDROM), and does
it play standard media fine? How does a music CD sound or DVD? If it plays
regular media fine, it could be the spindle motor is dying, the laser is
jittering or the catch mechanism is wobbling or not quite grabbing.
If your drive is still acting funny, you have to decide will I void the
warranty or replace. If you feel you're not clumsy and can safely handle
delicate parts, now's the time we dismantle the computer to access the drive
assembly. If you're replacing, I expect you know what to do.
(A) Before removing, unit eject drive platter, then turn off power.
(B) Remove unit from computer case, and prepare a work surface.
(C) If you didn't follow step A, then: does your unit have a pin hole to
manually eject the disc, if so then eject the platter mechanism to
or plug drive poer back in and complete steps A & B.
(D) Remove screws from cdrom/dvdrom case to remove metal shielding. Be
aware of warnings listed on case, they are valid.
(E) Now that the external case has been removed, you should see the disc
is simply held between 2 metal discs by a magnet. Also notice, the
discs often have a rubber coating to help hold the disc firmly.
(F) Clean the rubber coating gently with a cotton swab, to remove any
grease or other dirt.
(G) Gently draw the platter to it's fullest extension. At this stage
you will be looking to see how the laser lens assembly rides backward
and forward. You may see parallel metal rods, metal riding on metal
or plastic riding on plastic. This is often the failure point. As
most people know, you wouldn't drive your car without oil in the
engine, these drives are the same. These rails, if dry, will often
cause the laser to jump or jitter as it is trying to track. This
jittering will cause a unit to be unable to read a disc reliably.
A little grease on these rails will do wonders.
(I) Throw in a problem disc and try reading it again, if it works great!
If it still doesn't seem to work, don't worry, insert a favourite
music CD or DVD and let it play for a bit, then shuffle some tracks.
Often the grease needs to be worked in, with the problem often going
away after a bit.
The above works in general for almost all CD or DVD based equipment. Check
the back for extra jumpers, some units have factory jumpers that "downgrade"
the drive (ie 52x to 48x), thus preventing the drive from spinning up to
maximum speed, where they may be less reliable as they get older. If the
problem still persists, the likely problem is the spindle motor. As I have
been told by someone in the repair industry, replacing a spindle is often
going to cost in excess of $50, plus labor, and is rarely worth the effort.
This doesn't necessarily mean all is lost, my first generation DVD player,
makes a great MP3, SVCD, VCD and audio CD player.
If you think this is crap, this has reliably repaired at least 10 different
cdroms, 3 cd-writers, first generation computer DVD rom and a couple stereo
Article by Slam, Last Updated August 2004