DVD-ROM reading only DVDs, not CDs

Hi all:

I have a Toshiba SD-M1502 DVD-ROM, which suddenly has stopped reading CDs: when I put one in, it will start spinning trying to read it, but eventually the light will just stay on, and Windows XP will say that it can’t read the contents of the disc (the filesystem is not compatible with Windows, or something like that). However, it can read DVDs, both movies and DVD-R data discs.

I am almost sure that it’s a hardware problem and not a Windows-related one, because I’ve tried to boot from it with a Linux CD, and it did the same thing: spinning, light staying on, etc. I haven’t upgraded the firmware recently either (I did so a couple of years ago to make it region free, but it’s been working since and it only started failing two days ago). I have also tried installing it as master and slave; neither worked.

From what I’ve seen in Google, the consensus seems to be that it’s indeed a hardware problem: the laser used for reading CDs (which is different than the one for reading DVDs) is failing, or something like that. My question is: could it be anything else? I just want to make sure before I write this drive off. If anyone else has experienced something similar, did it help to open the drive and clean the lens?

Yeah, it is definitely a good idea to open the drive an clean the lens. Do not use any chemical cleaning fluids - just a lint-free piece of cloth and water.

Here is a link to a page on which the whole procedure is illustrated - for another drive, though. For my Toshi SD-M 1612, it was much easier. I just removed the internal drive from the case, removed the dust and cleaned the lens.

http://www.llamma.com/xbox/Repairs/cleaning_your_dvd_drive.htm

Good luck and post if it worked!