How to Fix a CD-ROM Drive
By Ty Arthur
Without a working CD drive, your computer will have seriously decreased functionality. You won't be able to install new programs or run existing ones that require a CD. If your CD drive has stopped working entirely or only works intermittently, there are several different troubleshooting steps you can follow to fix it yourself before having to contact the manufacturer.
Power on your computer and press the "Eject" button on the CD drive to see if it has power and ejects on its own. Pull out the disc and make sure that it is a CD and not a DVD that the drive can't read. Make sure the label is facing up and the clear side is facing down. Flip it over and make sure that the CD doesn't have any scratches. Put a different CD into the drive and see if it will run normally in case the original CD is defective.
Click on the "Start" button on the bottom toolbar and then click "Control Panel." Choose the "Device Manager" option and then click on the plus sign next to the name of your CD drive. Click on "Settings" and then see if there is a check mark in the box next to the "Auto Insert" link. Check the box if it isn't already checked. Turn your computer off and then back on and try putting a CD in the drive again.
Navigate back to the Device Manager and then choose the Settings of the CD drive. Click on "Device Driver" and then choose the option to search for a new driver. Click on the link to download a new driver if one is available.
Turn the computer off. Unplug the power cord and the cables for the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers from the back of the computer. Use a screwdriver to take out the screws on the left side of the computer case. Take off the left side panel so that you can see inside the computer. Remove the screws holding the CD drive in the bay and then disconnect the SATA cable that connects it to the power supply. Inspect the drive and the SATA cable for any visual damage, such as bent or broken pieces. Spray off the drive and the drive bay with canned air to remove any dust or debris. Check the orange or yellow plastic piece on the back of the drive and see if it snapped into the location that says "Master" or "Slave." Move the piece over to the "Slave" setting if it isn't already there and put it back into the drive bay.
Reassemble your computer and try the drive bay again. Contact the manufacturer to find out about their warranty options if it still isn't working.
- If the CD tray has become stuck, you can wiggle it out by unfolding a paper clip and inserting it into the area between the drive and the case.
- Don't attempt to take apart the CD drive and repair its internal components yourself, as that will void the manufacturer's warranty.
Ty Arthur has been writing technical and entertainment-related articles for a variety of online sources since 2008. His articles have appeared on Metalunderground.com and many other websites. Arthur attended the Great Falls College of Technology and studied both computer science and creative writing.