I say â€œAâ€ solution because I think there are multiple reasons why this happens. I will describe my symptoms, hardware and software and describe what worked for me â€“ I hope this helps many people.
I have Windows XP Home SP3 and use Nero 6 (the fix is a Windows OS registry edit so I do not think it matters what burning software you have â€“ BTW, I do not yet know what caused the problem). I have a dual boot system: XP and Linux OpenSuse 11.1 (which I only mention because it is related to the diagnosis of the problem â€“ and nothing to do with the problem itself).
I know this is a somewhat long post but I think it will show people lots of things that do not fix the problem. If you are in a hurry then just read the Symptoms and The Fix.
I suddenly discovered that I could not read CDs or DVDs in XP and I knew these were good discs because I could read them on other Windows PCs and in Linux. This told me that this was a Windows software/driver issue. The whole time this was going on I could burn good CDs and DVDs! I just could not read them on my PC! My drives (a CD-RW and a DVD-RW) were both detected and setup properly in Windows, assigned drive letters, etc. When I inserted a good CD or DVD into either drive I would get â€œWindows cannot read from this disk. The disk might be corrupted, or it could be using a format that is not compatible with windows.â€ Properties of the disc showed that Windows thought the file system was â€œRAWâ€. On other PCs Windows indicated the file system was CDFS on the discs I tested. My optical drives are Memorex 52MAXX 3252AJ1 internal EIDE CD-RW and Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7240S SATA.
Abit Fatal1ty AN8 (Fatality) nVidia nForce4 Chipset
Dual Channel DDR 400 Socket
939 ATX Motherboard with 6 Channel Audio
2 Gb RAM
WD 150Gb 10,000RPM Raptor
Windows XP SP3 and Linux Opensuse 11.1
Memorex 52MAXX 3252AJ1 internal EIDE CD-RW
Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7240S SATA
What I tried
The short answer: You name it, I tried it, short of fdisk, format, clean reinstall.
I tried numerous Windows KB â€œfixesâ€ like the deleting Upper and Lower Filters, Uninstalling and reinstalling drivers and the drives, uninstalling and reinstalling Nero, trying Nero 9 Trial Version, trying other CD burning software (trials or free), contacting Sony and Nero Tech support, etc. Uninstalling / reinstalling / updating the IDE and SATA drivers. I tried physically disconnecting both drives and booting and then shutting down Windows several times and then reconnecting the drives hoping that Windows would somehow set them up differently when they were redetected. I did numerous searches of the Windows KB and various forums. I did firmware updates on my drives. Very frustrating.
I finally got on the right path of looking into the CD file system driver from a forum discussion: cdfs.sys. At first I tried going back to ones before SP3. I took a further look at the system information: Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information. Under “Software Environment”, “System Drivers” I saw that “cdfs.sys” was “disabled” and “not started”. Big clue. I did searches on â€œcdfs.sysâ€ in the Windows KB but did not find anything that directly fixed the problem. Somehow the cdfs.sys file system driver was not being loaded by Windows. I did find http://support.microsoft.com/kb/103000 entitled â€œCurrentControlSet\Services Subkey Entriesâ€ that was helpful. It describes the various services and settings of these services in the Registry.
In my Registry for the CDFS service I had
I am not a Registry expert by any means â€“ so I made the following change in all four sections of the Registry â€“ and rebooted â€“ but I probably only needed to make the change in the â€œCurrentControlSetâ€ section.
Of course, the very first thing you need to do is BACK UP your Registry or, at least BACK UP the sections you will be editing: high light â€œHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdfsâ€, click on File, Export and name the .reg file something that makes sense and make sure you remember where you put it.
Here is a copy of the backed up .reg file BEFORE the edit:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
Notice â€œStartâ€ is set to 4 which means the service is disabled and â€œNOT TO BE STARTED UNDER ANY CONDITIONSâ€. Well, that certainly takes care of that service!!! No need to worry about it being available!!!
Change the â€œStartâ€ value to â€œ1â€ and reboot! You then see under System Information and System Drivers that cdfs.sys is â€œstartedâ€ and â€œrunningâ€.
I also looked at Udfs.sys under System Information and saw that it was also disabled and not running so I did a Registry edit fix for that as well:
BEFORE the edit (copy of the backup .reg file):
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]CurrentControlSet\Services\Udfs][/FONT]
Change the â€œstartâ€ value to â€œ1â€ and reboot. Again I had four of these and changed all four ( CurrentControlSet, ControlSet002, ControlSet003 and ControlSet004) but probably only needed to change the CurrentControlSet one.
I could read CDs and DVDs once again!
I have no idea how these file system drivers got disabled but I assure you that I did not go into the Registry and do it!
I hope this post helps lots of people â€“ I have seen lots and lots of forum posts where people can no longer read their CDs and/or DVDs with XP (and Vista).