My Dell XP machine reads only music, not data CDs

Hi! I have a 6-month old Dell desktop running Windows XP Professional with a big problem–it refuses to read or burn any data CDs or DVDs, but it reads music CDs just fine!

When I browse in Windows Explorer, DOS, or any application to an optical drive, there’s nothing at the root level–no files, no directories. The disc name isn’t displayed (although it does have a drive letter and recognizes the type of hardware).

I’ve hooked up three drives to it, and all of them behave exactly the same:

  • internal OEM Dell CD burner
  • internal Plextor PX-716A DVD/CD drive
  • external USB Plextor PX-740UF DVD/CD drive

I’ve tried hooking up 1 and 2 of these drives simultaneous as master and slave through the motherboard controller. I also tried installing a separate PCI drive controller card. The problem remained unchanged–music CDs are fine, but no data appears on data discs.

Since my hardware swaps seem to rule out drive or controller hardware problems, my guess is that it’s an XP configuration problem. In addition, Plextor’s diagnostic program seems to think everything is fine–it tells me that there is data on the drives. Device manager reports that I’m using DMA, and that the drives are working properly. I’ve tried deleting and reinstalling the drives upon reboot, and there was no effect. I’ve tried home-burned data CDs, Plextor factory data CDs, Microsoft data CDs, and others, and there was no difference. Music CDs continue to work just fine. I do not have an audio cable going to internal CD drives–just the data cable and power. I’ve tried 40-conductor and 80-conductor cables, including the brand new cable that came with one of my Plextor drives.

I’ve searched for hours to find a potential solution. I’ve searched these forums, Microsoft’s site, Plextor’s site, and Dell’s site. Plextor and Dell each suggest I reinstall Windows. Ugh!

Do you have any suggestions?



PS: In case someone else has a similar problem, here are other reports that might be helpful to you–but sadly they didn’t help me:,guid,b0be737b-517a-496a-88cc-2ecc82d233ec.aspx

Uninstall Sonic DLA?

Sounds like a typical software/driver conflict here.

Uninstall Packet-Writing Software and Virtual Drives as suggested by tehGrue.

Hi! I have the same problem as the original poster. My system has dual booting XP and Linux The CD/DVD drive works OK under Linux but only sees/plays music CDs not data discs under XP. I do not have sonic DLA installed or any similar programs as far as I am aware. Any help would be appreciated.


Update your bios and check all your bios settings!