Drives will only recognize DVDs



Ok, I am stumped. I have tried searching the forum, but the search engine does not appear to work and I can’t take trying it one more time.

I have a Toshiba Satellite laptop with the following drives:

Internal Matshita DVD-RAM UJ-811
External NEC DVD-RW ND-3500AG USB

Both drives recognize DVDs just fine and I copy/burn just about any DVD I want to. However, I cannot get either drive to recognize an Audio CD or a CD-ROM.


While I am not a complete idiot, I do not understand alot of the more technical stuff I have read here. I can navigate Window just fine and can make most adjustments with some direction. If you have a possible solution for me, please just be as specific as you can.

Thank you in advance to anyone that can help me. I can’t bear to ask my wife to borrow her laptop any more.


Hi and Welcome!

to sort out system issues, please try to boot up your system with a bootable CD. To test your external drive, just connect it to another computer.




Thanks for the reply.

I tried the external drive on my wife’s laptop… same problem.
I tried booting from the internal drive with a Windows XP CD… same problem.

Is this just coincidental that both drives are having the same problem? Seems very strange.

Approx 1 month ago my hard drive crashed. I bought a new one, installed it, and booted from the same Windows CD to install the OS. Everything worked fine. I do not believe that I have tried using any type of disc other than a DVD until now.

I have read about firmware updates needed for drives and about contacts needing cleaning for internal drives. Is it possible (or likely for that matter) that I am having two different problems with my drives simultaneously? Because it was both drives having the same problem at the same time, I figured it was an OS or BIOS issue (or something along those lines).

Thanks again for any further advice you might have.



So at least there is a hardware problem with the internal drive as using the bootable CD should have ruled out any Windows issue.

Is this just coincidental that both drives are having the same problem? Seems very strange.
It is really rare, that two drives fail within a short period of time, indeed.
As DVD writers have two optical units, one for DVD, the other for CD, it is a common issue that you can use either CD only or DVD only on a drive with one laser that has died.

I have read about firmware updates needed for drives
:disagree: No, this won’t help in your situation. Simply said, firmware consists of a set of instructions how to handle certain media, and the list of supported media.

and about contacts needing cleaning for internal drives.
There shouldn’t be a problem with the contacts, but you could try to clean the lens. Don’t use one of these cleaning discs, but try canned air or one of those soft brushes used for camera lens. You might have to open up your drive to do that.

Is it possible (or likely for that matter) that I am having two different problems with my drives simultaneously?
Yes, such is not impossible. But you can’t do anything else but clean the drives. If this is not successful, you’ll have to replace them.



Here’s what I have so far…

  1. The internal drive worked today when I tried the ol’ “close the drawer with firm pressure to the right of the eject button” trick.

Any idea why this works?

  1. I guess the only option to for the external drive is to open it, clean it, and give it another go?

Thanks again.


I’m having the same problem as you. My internal drive handles DVDs just fine, but won’t recognize CDs at all. About two months ago, I burned a bunch of cds from Windows media player and had no problems. Last month I uninstalled a bunch of duplicitious software, including things like itunes, Quickplayer, Norton system works, etc, because my computer was running so slow. I upgraded to 2G of RAM a few days ago and got the speed back, but when I tried to burn a CD yesterday, nothing. When I go to My Computer and click on the drive, I get an error that says the drive is not accessible due to an i/o error. How can that be, when the same drive handles DVDs just fine? Feels like a software conflict, or something in the registry got messed up when I was uninstalling programs. Now I find that for some reason, my computer restore points aren’t functioning, so I can’t go back. Probably interference from Norton again. Ugh!!

Has anyone found a solution yet? I’ve been reading similar posts dating back years and haven’t seen a solution.

Satellite P15 -S409
Matshita UJ-811
Windows XP Home


I think I may have identified the problem. I reloaded itunes and quicktime. I also made sure the DVD ROM feature was set to manual in the config. After a couple restarts, the unit started recognizing cds again and even burns. However, I got a message through Windows Media Player that all my music files were corrupted. Now nothing plays. Sounds like blown speakers and skips and hangs when playing from WMP. Looked and apparently itunes converted all my music files to mp3. So I have now uninstalled itunes and quicktime again. Apparently a conflict between those two programs and WMP.

Now to see if I can get my music files back without losing all of it.


Checked on the Toshiba website and found a link that talks about the issue of the drive not recognizing CDs. They have found this problem when CD Creator/CD Extractor is removed from the computer. The program must take a necessary .dll file with it or something. Anyway, I checked my registers and found an entry for poitka (or something like that) that I didn’t recognize. Sure enough it was the leftovers from CD Extractor that I must have removed a long time ago. Went to the website and reloaded the free version, but no difference. Uninstalled it again, no difference. Then, while trying to play a CD, I bumped the computer, and everything immediately started working fine. Bumped it again, just to check, and everything went back to not working. So, apparently I solved the software issue and my drive now recognizes and reads/records cds, but I also seem to have a bad connection inside the computer hardware. I’ll have to try opening the computer and cleaning the connections for the sound card (is there a sound card?) and the drive.

I’ll let you know what happens.


Well, I went inside and found a pinched wire that I think was to the sound card. Fixed that and cleaned the contacts on the sound card and all my sound came back.

Then, I was happily ripping some of my music CDs to store on my hard drive, using WMP, when suddenly, the drive quit recognizing CDs again. #@%&*##! It still runs DVDs just fine. When I insert a music CD I can feel it spooling up, then quit. I have made sure all the settings are correct, including selecting the “allow recording to CD” on the DVD RAM properties. Doesn’t seem like a hardware problem, but I sure can’t find the software problem. HELP!