Why CDs Won't Play in Your Laptop

By Pat Smith

CDs hold about 72 minutes of music in traditional audio formats.
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Compact discs, or CDs, hold data and often music. The disc drive in your laptop can theoretically read any CD, but sometimes you'll encounter an unreadable disc. This can indicate various problems, most of which can be solved through troubleshooting. It rarely indicates a problem with the laptop itself, although sometimes disc drives do wear out or are faulty.

Faulty CD

CDs can be burned incorrectly or digitally corrupted due to age. To test whether it's a problem with your laptop or the CD, try running the CD in a different computer. If it works in another computer, try a couple more CDs in your laptop. If no CD will play in your laptop, contact the manufacturer for a refund, replacement, or repair.

Incorrect CD Protections

Some disc drives only accept discs with certain kinds of copyright protections. For example, an audio disc of burned or illegally downloaded music may not play in your laptop. This is more common with traditional CD players, but older laptops with similar disc drives often reject improperly formated copyright protections.

Incorrect Insertion

Make sure you're inserting the CD with the text side (or less shiny side if there's no text) facing up. The disc cannot be read upside down. Also, if your laptop has a separate CD and DVD drive, make sure you're putting the CD in the proper drive. Also, make sure the sound on your computer is turned on and is loud enough if it's an audio CD.

Dirty or Damaged CD

Dirt and scratches can prevent a CD from working correctly. Working with a lint-free cloth, wipe gently from the inside to the outside of the CD, going around the circle. Do this several times to work away any oil or dirt. Dirt is one of the most common reasons an otherwise working disc won't play.