A Solution to not being able to read CDs and DVDs in Windows XP & Windows 7


I say “A” 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 “Windows cannot read from this disk. The disk might be corrupted, or it could be using a format that is not compatible with windows.” Properties of the disc showed that Windows thought the file system was “RAW”. 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
Gigabit LAN
USB 2.0
PCI-Express 16X
2 Gb RAM
Radeon X800
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 “fixes” 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 “cdfs.sys” 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 “CurrentControlSet\Services Subkey Entries” 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

(1) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdfs
(2) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Services\Cdfs
(3) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet003\Services\Cdfs
(4) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet003\Services\Cdfs

I am not a Registry expert by any means – so I made the following change in all four sections of the Registry – and rebooted – but I probably only needed to make the change in the “CurrentControlSet” 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 “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdfs”, 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

“Group”=“File system”


Notice “Start” is set to 4 which means the service is disabled and “NOT TO BE STARTED UNDER ANY CONDITIONS”. Well, that certainly takes care of that service!!! No need to worry about it being available!!!

The Fix

Change the “Start” value to “1” and reboot! You then see under System Information and System Drivers that cdfs.sys is “started” and “running”.

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]
“Group”=“File system”

Change the “start” value to “1” 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 – I have seen lots and lots of forum posts where people can no longer read their CDs and/or DVDs with XP (and Vista).


Thanks. It would be interesting to know if a registry cleaner like Eusing would also correct this problem:



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 – BTW, I do not yet know what caused the problem).


I would say that fix your mentioned was most likely the culprit that caused the problem. I never heard of a fix in Win registery for Nero 6. Reason being I had Win XP Pro SP3 with Nero 6 Ultra and never needed any kinda registry fix to get it to work with Win O/S beyond the Nero updates. I am not sure why you did such a Registry fix when for Nero 6 to work you just input your registration serial and uncheck the check for updates and Nero 6 is ready to use. It would be good to know what your fix was that you used to find out what it did as well in that way we at least know what it was do cause Nero from my using and installing it never needed any kinda fix rather then just updates from Nero site.

My older computer with XP Pro SP2 & Nero 6 reads all the CD’s & DVD’s I’ve put in it.
It’s Registry settings for the cdfs is start 4.
In system information/Software Environment/System Drivers/cdfs shows:
Started: yes Start Mode: Disabled State:running
So my guess is even though it is set not to start in the registry by Windows some software is starting cdfs.
It’s Registry settings for the udfs is start 4.
In system information/Software Environment/System Drivers/udfs shows:
Started: no Start Mode: Disabled State:stopped
My other computer with Vista has the same registry & System information on cdfs & udfs as XP Pro SP2 .
Yet Vista can’t read the same DVD -RW recorded -VR mode that XP Pro SP 2 can.
I tried setting the registry to Start for both in Vista & it still won’t read this disc.
So I returned the settings to 4.
I recently replaced the udfs &cdfs files in Vista with the XP Pro ones.
The cdfs.sys seemed to have no effect.
The udfs.sys did allow Vista to partly read this disc.It could now veiw the DVD_RTAV folder but not the files inside.VLC player would now play the disc in Vista.
However there were other problems that this file caused in Vista.
The two I noticed before putting the original Vista files back were :
Vista could no longer veiw the files in a regular DVD compiliant folder & could no longer format Windows Live .
If I had tested more I probably could have found more problems.
My conclusion is these problems for Vista are caused by the cdfs.sys & udfs.sys files not written correctly in the first place .Or they have been corrupted by some software I installed.
So although the registry settings change worked for jimusa they are not a fix all solution.

Don’t know why but I never had to use any registry change to get my Nero 6 that was used on my previous XP pro system.

I am having this issue with W7 but the change to System (1) did not change anything. I am trying to read a USB device with a CDFS formatted virtual CD on it.
It is showing as start mode = SYSTEM and RUNNING after reboot, but it still won’t read it.

Hi and Welcome!

you may please try this: http://support.microsoft.com/mats/cd_dvd_drive_problems/en-us

For accessing CD images, you need additional software like Virtual Clone drive or similar products.


[QUOTE=BillRuggirello;2568610]I am having this issue with W7 but the change to System (1) did not change anything. I am trying to read a USB device with a CDFS formatted virtual CD on it.
It is showing as start mode = SYSTEM and RUNNING after reboot, but it still won’t read it.[/QUOTE]

What does the topic title say? “windows XP!”

[QUOTE=chef;2568953]What does the topic title say? “windows XP!”[/QUOTE]
Right chef I will add Windows 7 to the title.:smiley:

Registry fixes cannot be used cross OS without risks, therefore my post. :wink:

[QUOTE=chef;2569034]Registry fixes cannot be used cross OS without risks, therefore my post. ;)[/QUOTE]
As my post in this topic was trying this with Vista & it did not work for what I wanted anyway.
So I agree with chef the registry settings probably are not the same for Windows 7 or Vista.
If you play around with the registry it’s a good idea to use a registry backup software & have a Linux disc handy.

Cannot argue with that. :wink: