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My DVD drive no longer recognizes dvds, but does recognize CD-ROMs. When a DVD is in the drive, the computer continues to act as though there is no disc in the drive. However, when a normal CD-ROM is in the drive, it appears to work normally.

I have tested on several discs, both video and game, and the behavior is consistent.

I have also tested this on both Windows Vista and Ubuntu 9.10, and the issue remains the same.

Can anyone recommend a way to fix this?

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Have you tried cleaning the lens? Otherwise, it might be a problem with the sled motor not being able to read some of the disc areas peculiar to DVDs. – amphetamachine Feb 22 '10 at 4:37
See for a look inside. It may help you think through what may have gone wrong with it. – amphetamachine Feb 22 '10 at 4:40
Does the drive start spinning when you insert a DVD? I mean, does it try to detect what's inside? – Martin Feb 22 '10 at 9:38
The disc spins for several seconds when they are inserted. I will give cleaning a try and report back on how it works out. – user29001 Feb 22 '10 at 23:01
What are the brand and model number of the DVD drive? – rob Mar 29 '10 at 20:20

The key difference between DVDs and CDs when reading are track pitch, speed of reading, and laser frequency (the frequency used for CDs has too long a wavelength to be able to resolve the thinner tracks and smaller pits on a DVD).

With you getting no error, just discs not being recognised, I suspect a laser or lens problem. In the latter case a head clean may help (something on the lens that affects one light frequency worse than the other or simply blurs things enough to stop the small pits on the DVD being resolved is not entirely unlikely), in the former case getting a new drive is all you can realistically do.

If the issue is track pitch of speed regulation problems I would expect the disc to be recognised initially but for there to be problems reading (possible absolutely nothing could be read, but I would expect the disc type to be detected at least).

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I had the same problem with an LG Super Multi DVD burner a couple of years ago. It could not read movie DVDs (i.e., CSS-protected DVDs), but it could read CDs and unencrypted DVDs. It could also read its own DVDs (i.e., I could burn a DVD, then read it in the same drive). Cleaning the laser lens had no effect.

I'd suggest trying different types of DVDs (various CSS-protected movies, unprotected movies, pressed DVD-ROM discs, and burned data DVDs) to narrow down the nature of the problem--for example, if it's only failing on certain CSS-protected DVDs, all CSS-protected DVDs, or all DVDs, period. After that, try flashing the firmware, if possible.

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