The disc drive in my laptop (a Dell Inspiron 17R, about 1.5 years old) won't read DVDs anymore. The drive spins up several times as if attempting to read it but gives up about 2 seconds later every time. It does so about 5 times and then just stops spinning the disc. It doesn't eject the disc then, but if I click the disc drive icon in the explorer, it tells me that no disc is inserted and then opens the drive.

It used to play CDs and DVDs with no problem. I'm using Windows 8.1. I tried updating the driver for the disc drive by letting the device manager search the internet, but it says I already have the latest driver installed. It also shows that the drive apparently works perfectly, although it obviously doesn't.

The drive can still open CDs, but I tried three different DVDs and it could read none of them. They can be read by other devices though, so they're not the problem.

The name of the drive in the device manager is HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GU70N.

I found this question that sounds similar, but the OP sent the laptop back to have the drive replaced as a solution. I'm looking for the reason of the problem and what I could do myself instead of using my warranty (if I even still have it).

What could be the problem and what could I do?

  • 1
    Can you explore a DVD? – Austin T French May 11 '15 at 20:47
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    @AthomSfere No, it tells me that there is no disc inserted and opens the drive. (I suppose by explore the DVD you mean if I can open it in the Explorer, that's what I meant in the first paragraph. English isn't my first language so I wasn't sure how to describe it). – Kodama May 11 '15 at 20:50
  • Perfect, exactly what I meant/ asked. If it's under warranty: I suspect a bad drive. – Austin T French May 11 '15 at 20:52
  • possible duplicate of DVD R/RW Drive Would only read CDs not DVDs – Karan May 11 '15 at 20:56
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    Have you tried a lense-cleaner cd already? – ott-- May 11 '15 at 21:02

It sounds like the laser can't focus and more often than not that's due to dust covering the lens. Some drives make a clicking noise when trying to focus the lens, listen for it, it may be faint. If you can see the lens when the drive is open, try gently rubbing the lens with an alcohol soaked q-tip to clean it, leaving the drive open for a few seconds afterwards to be sure it's dry. Do be very careful to only get it on the lens and it would probably be best to power off the computer and pull out the battery.

If that doesn't fix it, it may just be damaged.


Although I am on Windows 7 (x64) system, have you checked the DVD Region tab of your DVD Drive's properties, in Device Manager? I had a similar problem with not being able to recognize any DVDs and found out that no Region had been selected to run a DVD in my drive. Once I selected my Region (United States), my drive will now read / recognize my DVDs.

  • No, my drive is already set to Region 2, I just checked. It used to play DVDs fine until a couple of months ago. I guess it really is just damaged. But thanks for the answer anyway. :) – Kodama May 25 '15 at 9:52

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