My DVD-ROM Won't Read a DVD-R

By Dustin Pitan

There are many formats of DVD--make sure your player can read the format you choose.
i dvd image by dinostock from

Computer drives and the software and programs that they run from are as varied as the media they're able to play. DVD drives can run CDs, CD-Rs, DVDs, DVD-Rs, DVD+Rs and various other disc formats. However, not all drives can play all types of disc formats, and this is where problems may arise. One of the most popular forms of disc storage is to burn it onto a DVD-R, which is playable in almost all current DVD drives. However, when those same DVD-Rs stop playing, there are a few things that can be done to troubleshoot.

Place the DVD-R in another computer or DVD player and test the disc's playability. If the disc plays, it's likely a software conflict with your initial computer, or just that the drive isn't as updated as it should be. If the disc doesn't play in the second player, try a third and fourth player. When choosing players to test your DVD-R on, try to be as varied as possible--choose different brands and different devices to try to test it on. If the disc works in other players, move on to Section 2.

Update your computer. Sometimes new programs, drives and firmware are needed to properly utilize your computer components to their fullest potential. Make sure to update the computer, as well as the specific DVD drive you are using. And visit the DVD drive's website to check for further updates as well. After finishing this, test your disc again.

Try other forms of DVD in the drive to test if they will play. Try DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD movies. Try CDs as well, just to be on the safe side. If these other disc types work, there is either a problem with the initial DVD-R disc, or your DVD drive simply isn't compatible with DVD-R (if this is the case, there's not much you can do to fix this).

Have a friend, or whoever burned you the original DVD-R, burn different media onto another DVD-R disc of the same manufacturer (if you were using Memorex discs before, use them again). Once theyr'e burned, try playing the new DVD-R and see if it works. If it works, it is likely just a burning problem with the first disc.

Reburn the original media onto a new DVD-R and test it again. If the new DVD-R doesn't work, again, you may have a DVD reader that is incompatible with DVD-R.

Obtain new DVD-burning software, such as Nero. It gives more options for burning and playing DVDs than other software is capable of and may give you a better percentage of playable DVD-R discs.

Reburn the original media onto another type of blank DVD, such as DVD+R. As mentioned, your DVD reader may just not be able to play DVD-R, and so using a different DVD type will usually circumvent that and allow you to play and read your media.