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Old 13th November 2019, 12:06 AM   #1
Cain
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PC's DVD Player Does Not Recognize Certain Discs

I've had difficulty Googling for people with similar issues, so I'm going to bother you folks again.

The Problem: Approximately 50% of DVDs (movies) are not recognized (as in the computer thinks I inserted nothing). The discs work on other players. I'm also quite certain it was not always this way. For example, it's not recognizing Children of Men, and I want to say I've watched this disc on this machine. (It's not a region-encoding issue.)

What I think caused the problem: I tried just about everything when dealing with my 100% disk use issue, and I suspect I monkeyed with something that messed with the DVD player. I didn't notice it right away because I had been primarily relying on streaming services. When I open Device Manager, go to DVD/CD-ROMs, and click on the Events tab, it logs three timestamps for 18:53 on 9/27/2019 (nearly simultaneous):

Description: Device migrated.
Infomration: Device SCSI\CdRom&Ven_hp&Prod_CDDVDW_SH-216BB\4&181aa5b9&0&020000 was migrated.

Last Device Instance Id: SCSI\CdRom&Ven_hp&Prod_CDDVDW_SH-216BB\4&181aa5b9&0&020000
Class Guid: {4d36e965-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}
Location Path:
Migration Rank: 0x0
Present: true
_____________________________

Description: Device Configured (cdrom.inf)
Information: Device SCSI\CdRom&Ven_hp&Prod_CDDVDW_SH-216BB\4&181aa5b9&0&020000 was configured.

Driver Name: cdrom.inf
Class Guid: {4d36e965-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}
Driver Date: 06/21/2006
Driver Version: 10.0.18362.1
Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver Section: cdrom_install
Driver Rank: 0xFF0005
Matching Device Id: GenCdRom
Outranked Drivers:
Device Updated: false
Parent Device: PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1E02&SUBSYS_339A103C&REV_04\3&115 83659&0&FA
_____________________________

Description: Device Started (cdrom)
Device SCSI\CdRom&Ven_hp&Prod_CDDVDW_SH-216BB\4&181aa5b9&0&020000 was started.

Driver Name: cdrom.inf
Class Guid: {4d36e965-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}
Service: cdrom
Lower Filters:
Upper Filters:
_____________________________

I've checked my web-browser's history to see what I was doing at the time listed, but it shows no activity hours prior and hours after. I'd guess that I was updating Windows 10 while away from home.

Any suggestions are kindly appreciated.
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Last edited by Cain; 13th November 2019 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 13th November 2019, 04:39 AM   #2
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Do you have a lens cleaning disc?

Next I'd try uninstalling the device driver, restart the PC and reinstall.
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Old 13th November 2019, 07:27 AM   #3
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Also, cleaning the discs.

Water and a bit of dishwashing detergent. Gentle rubbing radially (from the center to the edge). Rinse with lots of lukewarm water. Dry on a kitchen paper towel, without rubbing, if possible. If you can't resist the urge to rub, rub radially.

Back when Netflix was still mailing DVDs, this solved 90% of playback issues.
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Old 13th November 2019, 08:13 AM   #4
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Could be missing codec packs or the system not able to recognize the file format, but that generally would pop up a warning. You could try downloading another media player as well. If it's not doing anything it could be the autoplay settings as well.

It's weird it randomly works though.
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Old 13th November 2019, 09:44 AM   #5
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I had the same problem from time to time. Tried the reinstall, the update, the whole nine yards. Some discs apparently have some weird encoding that just won't work under certain conditions.

Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
...
Back when Netflix was still mailing DVDs, this solved 90% of playback issues.
Netflix is still mailing discs -- it's my go-to movie service. Although now it has morphed into being labeled "DVD.com".
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Old 13th November 2019, 09:54 AM   #6
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Do you know anyone with a USB DVD player? They're quite cheap. Try it on your system. If it fails the same way, probably OS/drivers. If it works, probably something with your hardware.
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Old 13th November 2019, 11:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BowlOfRed View Post
Do you know anyone with a USB DVD player? They're quite cheap. Try it on your system. If it fails the same way, probably OS/drivers. If it works, probably something with your hardware.
I got one because both of my laptops do not have DVD drives and I wanted to play some older PC games. I've had some success with DVDs but I don't watch them on that player on a regular basis.
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Old 13th November 2019, 12:32 PM   #8
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I still think most likely cause is dust on the lens throwing the alignment off a little. Cleaning discs are around £5.
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Old 13th November 2019, 02:00 PM   #9
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Cain, I just had a few ideas. Is this a laptop or a pre-fabricated desktop? As in, did you order it from HP\Dell\Lenovo already put together and built?

One thing you could try is in the device manager, right-click the CD\DVD player and upgrade the driver for it. There's an option to just search for one online. I had some time this afternoon so I dug into your issue and I think that might fix it for you.

If this works I can give you an explanation as to why I think this issue started\the cause.
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Old 13th November 2019, 02:45 PM   #10
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Thanks to all.

I should have mentioned that the first thing I tried was updating to the latest driver, but Windows claimed the "best" drivers are already installed.

As for cleaning the discs... since these DVDs worked on a junky 15+ year-old player, I figured that wasn't the problem, but in the interests of being complete, I thoroughly cleaned one of the DVDs, popped it in, and after a LOT of whirring... it worked. What. the. hell? I cleaned another that wasn't recognizing, popped it in, after a lot of whirring... it didn't work. So I cleaned it some more, and it recognized. Since science obviously runs in threes, I tried a third, but no matter how thoroughly I cleaned it, it wouldn't work. Then I re-tried that first disc again and it didn't work. I tried it about a half-dozen more times... nothing. I found some old blank CDs still in the shrink wrap, popped one in, and the computer recognized it instantly. Since this undoubtedly boosted the DVD-ROM's confidence, I retried that first disc again and it worked.

I'm inclined to believe Wudang's suspicions are correct. I'd never heard of a lens cleaner, so I'll try ordering one.
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Old 13th November 2019, 06:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Cain View Post
Thanks to all.

I should have mentioned that the first thing I tried was updating to the latest driver, but Windows claimed the "best" drivers are already installed.

As for cleaning the discs... since these DVDs worked on a junky 15+ year-old player, I figured that wasn't the problem, but in the interests of being complete, I thoroughly cleaned one of the DVDs, popped it in, and after a LOT of whirring... it worked. What. the. hell? I cleaned another that wasn't recognizing, popped it in, after a lot of whirring... it didn't work. So I cleaned it some more, and it recognized. Since science obviously runs in threes, I tried a third, but no matter how thoroughly I cleaned it, it wouldn't work. Then I re-tried that first disc again and it didn't work. I tried it about a half-dozen more times... nothing. I found some old blank CDs still in the shrink wrap, popped one in, and the computer recognized it instantly. Since this undoubtedly boosted the DVD-ROM's confidence, I retried that first disc again and it worked.

I'm inclined to believe Wudang's suspicions are correct. I'd never heard of a lens cleaner, so I'll try ordering one.
In all honesty, I wonder if the DVD player and the CD player use different lenses. I guess that'll give me something to google tomorrow afternoon...
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Old 13th November 2019, 11:54 PM   #12
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I remember those cleaning discs. If that works I'll be very surprised.

It's probably a bad drive assuming the discs are clean. Try them on another computer or just buy a new drive.
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Old 14th November 2019, 01:40 AM   #13
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Dirty lens are not that common but it's simple to do and eliminates it as a cause. Other physical issues are the laser mechanism having some dirt so the laser can't traverse the full way - again we're talking nanometers here
From the guys who wrote DVD Anywhere
https://www.aimersoft.com/play-dvd/dvd-wont-play.html
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Old 14th November 2019, 10:02 AM   #14
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Just go on Craigslist and ask "what should I do with my dirty DVDs?" - I'm sure you will get a few helpful responses.
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Old 14th November 2019, 01:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
Just go on Craigslist and ask "what should I do with my dirty DVDs?" - I'm sure you will get a few helpful responses.
And perhaps a date or two.
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Old 15th November 2019, 05:49 PM   #16
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If you're not already using it, try VLC player - that should eliminate any (unlikely) codec problems
Open VLC, press CTRL-D to open the Disc option and tick 'No disc menus' then play. I've seen a few discs that really choked on the menus... Go figure
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Old 15th November 2019, 05:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
If you're not already using it, try VLC player - that should eliminate any (unlikely) codec problems
Open VLC, press CTRL-D to open the Disc option and tick 'No disc menus' then play. I've seen a few discs that really choked on the menus... Go figure
I was never able to get any disc to play with VLC player but I had not tried that option. I'll keep that one in mind.
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Old 16th November 2019, 04:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
If you're not already using it, try VLC player - that should eliminate any (unlikely) codec problems
Open VLC, press CTRL-D to open the Disc option and tick 'No disc menus' then play. I've seen a few discs that really choked on the menus... Go figure
I must try that. Thanks.
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Old 16th November 2019, 06:24 AM   #19
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Try a plastic card wrapped with a glasses-lens cleaning cloth

Sounds like it could be a dirty laser & lens inside the drive; like Wudang mentioned.

If so, this is likely a cleaning issue. Consider using a thin, plastic card (like a credit card size but something without raised printing) wrapped on one side with a glasses lens cleaning cloth. The cloth needs to face the the laser and lens.
  • Wrap the card on one side with a glasses-cleaning cloth so the cloth is wrapped over the leading edge (the edge of the card you'll stick in the drive).
  • Insert the cloth-wrapped card into the drive with the cloth-side facing the laser and optical pickup lens. The card needs to go far enough into the drive to almost where the center of a disc would be. It might have to reach the drive motor area, laser and lens system, and tracking mechanism.
  • Wiggle the card side-to-side, then pull it out along with the cloth.
  • Repeat until the laser & optical pickup are clear so the drive reads discs.
The lens-cleaning cloth should be the thin-type, for glasses-type use, and not thick microfiber towels for things like automotive use.

I am not responsible for any damage that might result. But using the card/cloth/wiggle method to clean the laser/lens should work with no damage.
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Old 16th November 2019, 08:13 AM   #20
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I've had pretty good luck with VLC player on my cheap Win 10 laptop. I never heard about the "skip menus" option, though, and I'll have to try that on a few disks that don't seem to play on anything.

I watch a lot of DVD's and there always seem to be a few that cause problems i one player but not another. I have a couple of computers, a DVD player and a Blu-ray player, and often a disk that flops in one will manage on another.

One thing to remember is that CD's and DVD's, unlike vinyl records, play from the inside out, so dirt or damage near the hub can prevent it from working.
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Old 17th November 2019, 12:13 AM   #21
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I bought a lens cleaning disc, which arrived today. I ran it, put in a disc that wasn't working, and... it's still not working. I ran the cleaner a couple more times, and tried some DVDs I just got from the library. None of them worked. I washed these new discs, and now one of them is finally playing.

It turns out I bought the lens cleaner for CDs, but according to customers it's supposed to work for DVD players. My computer is a "slim-line," so it has a vertically mounted DVD-drive. I don't think that should make a difference, but maybe. The same brand lens cleaner that I have sells a one for DVDs, but it costs three times as much. I might as well just get an external disc drive, maybe even one that can play Blu-Rays. If the PC's software is the problem, I can hook the external to my laptop, and HDMI that to a monitor.

I'll try the credit-card idea, but it'll have to wait until I'm done with the current DVD (because if I remove it, it'll be a chore to get it to play again).

VLC has been my default player. I can try the loading option when I'm done with the current film.
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Old 17th November 2019, 03:41 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Cain View Post
I bought a lens cleaning disc, which arrived today. I ran it, put in a disc that wasn't working, and... it's still not working. I ran the cleaner a couple more times, and tried some DVDs I just got from the library. None of them worked. I washed these new discs, and now one of them is finally playing.

It turns out I bought the lens cleaner for CDs, but according to customers it's supposed to work for DVD players. My computer is a "slim-line," so it has a vertically mounted DVD-drive. I don't think that should make a difference, but maybe.
The cleaner for CDs should work fine, CD & DVD drives are identical enough at that level for it to not be an issue and the drives verticality shouldn't make a difference either.
Quote:
The same brand lens cleaner that I have sells a one for DVDs, but it costs three times as much.
That sounds about right, it's the same product though
Quote:
I might as well just get an external disc drive, maybe even one that can play Blu-Rays.
The external ones can be loud, if that's an issue, and the Blu-Ray ones can be prohibitively expensive and you'll have to supply your own playback software (Leawo is free and 'quirky' but still beats the paid for offerings hands down). It may be worth thinking about a replacement drive in the PC before thinking about external options, a new DVD drive can be had for a little over £10 here
Quote:
If the PC's software is the problem,
If you meant the driver - it's very unlikely, optical disc drivers are old and very generic for a reason. If you mean VLC then, again unlikely given it plays others fine.

Quote:
I'll try the credit-card idea, but it'll have to wait until I'm done with the current DVD (because if I remove it, it'll be a chore to get it to play again).
I'd be wary of this, especially if you've already run a proper cleaning disc through it.
Unfortunately it's either an older drive that's on it's way out (I believe PC drives have tighter tolerances than DVD players as they can be used to read data as well) or some crappy discs. Are all the ones you're trying from the library as my experience is people are crap at taking care of shared property.
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Last edited by Mongrel; 17th November 2019 at 03:54 AM.
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Old 17th November 2019, 06:09 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
The cleaner for CDs should work fine, CD & DVD drives are identical enough at that level for it to not be an issue and the drives verticality shouldn't make a difference either.

That sounds about right, it's the same product though

The external ones can be loud, if that's an issue, and the Blu-Ray ones can be prohibitively expensive and you'll have to supply your own playback software (Leawo is free and 'quirky' but still beats the paid for offerings hands down). It may be worth thinking about a replacement drive in the PC before thinking about external options, a new DVD drive can be had for a little over £10 here

If you meant the driver - it's very unlikely, optical disc drivers are old and very generic for a reason. If you mean VLC then, again unlikely given it plays others fine.



I'd be wary of this, especially if you've already run a proper cleaning disc through it.
Unfortunately it's either an older drive that's on it's way out (I believe PC drives have tighter tolerances than DVD players as they can be used to read data as well) or some crappy discs. Are all the ones you're trying from the library as my experience is people are crap at taking care of shared property.
VLC should be able to play Blu-Ray, too. Haven't tried it, though. (Might choke on some discs because of DRM.)
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Old 17th November 2019, 06:52 AM   #24
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If you have the space and don't need the portability, maybe a regular Blu-Ray player would be the way to go. I'm guessing that some would even be cheaper than PC-specific external Blu-Ray players. But it depends on the connections and capabilities that your laptop has.

I bought an external USB DVD drive (for playing old PC games) and kind of wish I had gotten a Blu-Ray instead so I can watch the discs I get from Netflix out in my back yard.
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Old 17th November 2019, 06:56 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
VLC should be able to play Blu-Ray, too. Haven't tried it, though. (Might choke on some discs because of DRM.)
Out of the box, no it's not supported. It's theoretically doable but I've never got it to work and would probably only work with older discs.

The data is encoded before it's put on the discs and the keys to decode are updated regularly, you have to rely on someone cracking new disks and updating the key files then remember to update them regularly on your own system
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Old 17th November 2019, 07:05 AM   #26
Ernie M
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While there is good reason to be wary of sticking a plastic card wrapped with a glasses lens cleaning cloth into a CD/DVD drive, I've tried it, and it worked. If the drive is under warranty you could have it serviced by a technician. Or if out of warranty, you could pay to have it serviced (cleaned), or replaced (if possible).

Multiple sources have mentioned a credit card with lens cloth approach, with some suggesting, as an additional step, to moisten the cloth with a lens cleaning fluid. I got a drive working with a card and a microfiber glasses lens cleaning cloth, without using lens cleaning fluid or other liquid cleaner/solvent.

It took several tries of finding the right amount of lens cleaning cloth to stick in the drive, and wiggling the card/cloth around before pulling them out.

I experienced a fair amount of resistance sticking the card/cloth in the drive when I had the cloth wrapped around both sides of the card. The cloth needs some amount of pressure to ensure proper cleaning. This method worked for me; DVDs and CDs played, and no damage to the drive.

Here are some online sources that mention using a cloth-covered card:

"Cures for an uncooperative CD/DVD drive"
By Christopher Breen, Senior Editor, Macworld. 11 APR 2012.

"Use this clever way to clean a Mac's SuperDrive"
Michael Grothaus, Engadget. 11 Feb 2014

"How to clean a DVD Superdrive using a credit card !"

"Clean Your Laptop's Slot-Loading DVD Drive with a Credit Card"
Alan Henry, lifehacker. 19 March 2014.
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Old 17th November 2019, 12:00 PM   #27
Darat
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Over here you can get a new internal DVD player and writer for a PC from about £15, or an external USB one for the same.

Is it really worth trying to fix a temperamental one?
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Old 17th November 2019, 07:12 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by plague311 View Post
In all honesty, I wonder if the DVD player and the CD player use different lenses. I guess that'll give me something to google tomorrow afternoon...
If memory serves, they use different lasers-one for cd's and one for DVD's.

Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
I remember those cleaning discs. If that works I'll be very surprised.

It's probably a bad drive assuming the discs are clean. Try them on another computer or just buy a new drive.

Agreed. If Cain has a DVD drive in his Laptop he can try the DVD's in that drive since the compact nature of the Laptop drive puts the disc a little closer to the laser. I have known this to work-sometimes.

Other than that, have you tried using a different SATA cable? You can also try pulling the the SATA cable and booting up with no Drive and then plugging the cable back in and rebooting to reset the Drivers.


Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Over here you can get a new internal DVD player and writer for a PC from about £15, or an external USB one for the same.

Is it really worth trying to fix a temperamental one?

It's the same in the States. And an M-Disc internal BluRay player is only 50 bucks!*

75 years archival life, dude!
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Old 17th November 2019, 07:29 PM   #29
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This might be unrelated to the OP problem but it took me a while to figure out that some DVDs I play respond differently to commands.

Sometimes I have to push play, sometimes the center button, sometimes menu, whatever. When it says "that command not recognized" I just push other options until I find the one that works with that DVD,
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