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I don't usually play movies on my laptop (prefer the standalone with the tv), but I tried to watch one the other night, and noticed playback was really choppy and had audio artifacts in places.

I thought it could be related to memory issues so I rebooted and tried again, but the results were the same. I considered that it could be an issue with the disc, so I tried to clean it but again there was no change.

I don't think the problem is with the disc, because I tried another disc and it also had the same problem. I don't think I've ever watched the second disc since I've had it, so it should have been safe in its jewel case. Also, there were no issues when I watched an episode off the first disc in my standalone player.

What I'm wondering is: are there are any (free) utilities that can check for issues with the drive itself? I looked around but most of the software I found focuses on integrity checks for the disc, not the drive.

I have had issues with this laptop recently (had to replace the keyboard when the cat damaged it while I was cleaning dust out and the machine was ripped apart, also replaced part of the chassis after I cracked it when I tried to open it not knowing a screw was still in it) so I may have just replaced the drive incorrectly. I'm going to check on this while I await an answer to this question.


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What make and model of laptop are you using? What software are you using to playback the DVD? Have DVDs ever played correctly on the laptop? Have you tried more than just one disc? – Chris S Mar 22 '10 at 2:44
up vote 2 down vote accepted

First you can try another DVD.

If you have windows XP go to control panel > system > Hardware tab > Device manager. Then expand 'IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers' Click on each IDE channel in the list and go to 'advanced' > make sure 'transfer mode' is on DMA for each device.

I have a laptop with XP pro and if you remove, then add the drive it sets to slow PIO mode.. which makes movie playback laggy and jerky.

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This could be the answer! At Christmas, my mom got my girlfriend a scrabble travel game, and I remember it had issues playing and I had to play with a setting to make it work. Your comment seems eerily familiar to me. I'll have to play around to figure it out. Thanks! – AgentConundrum Mar 22 '10 at 21:37
It was set to PIO just like you thought. I switched it back to "DMA if available" and tried the DVD again. Worked like a charm. Thanks! – AgentConundrum Mar 22 '10 at 21:52

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