Please be gentle, as I am a novice at most of this stuff.
Here's the quick version--my new, external DVD burner seems to be malfunctioning in a suspiciously familiar way (the way my old, internal CD-RW has been malfunctioning for months). It won't spin when supposedly "burning" DVDs. Please read on for the long version.
My Benq CD-RW has been malfunctioning for many months (beginning when I returned from a long trip, so not sure what happened to it). Basically, it would play CDs fine, but when I tried to burn CDs (at the time I was using a free version of Nero, 5-point-something), the software would appear to work normally, counting down time left and burn percentage, etc., but I could hear that the burner was not spinning at all. Then the CD would be ejected (usually before the fake "burn" had timed out, and often followed by a physical memory dump, blue screen and one of several messages unintelligible to me--page fault, fault in nonpaged area, etc., etc.).
I had assumed this to be a purely mechanical problem rather than anything software- or virus-related, and decided to get a new CD-RW or a DVD burner at some point.
Last week I got an NEC ND-3540A DVD burner, with an external housing (USB 2). For some time it would not recognize disks at all, until I installed a USB 2.0 PCI card (duh) and uninstalled some software (I now have only Deep Burner and some remainder files from Ahead Nero). Now the DVD burner makes CDs quickly and efficiently, and can read DVDs of movies, photos, etc. perfectly, but when I try to use Deep Burner to burn a DVD I get the identical problem I've had with the CD-RW. It makes DVD coasters just as the CD-RW makes CD coasters. This makes me pretty sure the CD-RW's problem is not mechanical. I'm just hoping it is a settings problem or some conflicting software rather than a virus or something equally serious.
To be clear, these are just regular CDs and DVDs I am trying to burn--not RWs.
Any ideas? (If memory serves--a friend built the system for me) I have an Athlon processor, Maxtor HD (18GB of 60GB free), running XP SP1. I have used device manager to make sure everything is set to DMA, and tried to clean out conflicting software (Nero, Easy CD-DA, etc.).
Thanks very much for any help. If you have read this far, I already owe you one.