How to Tell If Your DVD Drive Isn't Working

By Lita McLeary

i Disk in the drive image by Sergey Galushko from

The DVD drive is used to read data from optical discs. Some DVD drives, called burners or writers, can write data to optical discs such as CDs and DVDs. When the DVD drive is not working, the computer system fails to recognize the device, or the device is not able to read data from optical discs.

Step 1

Place an optical disc in your DVD-ROM. Click on “Start,” and then “My Computer” to see if your DVD drive is recognized by the computer. If you do not see a DVD drive, it is malfunctioning.

Step 2

Navigate to the “Start” menu and click “Run.” Type “devmgmt.msc” (without quotes) in the space provided. This will open the “Device Manager” window. Click on the plus sign (+) beside “DVD/CD-ROM Drives” to expand the menu. If you see a yellow exclamation point beside the name of the device, your DVD drive is not working properly.

Step 3

Right click on the name of the device and click “Properties.” Under the “General” tab, click “Troubleshoot.” Follow the instructions of the “Help and Support Center,” and see if it solves the problem. Restart your computer and navigate back to the “Device Manager Window.” If the yellow mark disappears, the DVD drive is already functioning.

Step 4

Navigate back to the “Device Manager” if Step 2 does not solve the problem. Right click on the name of the device and select “Update Driver.” Follow the instructions on the “Hardware Update Wizard” window. When you are done installing updates, reboot your computer.

Step 5

Reinstall the driver of your DVD-ROM if Step 3 does not solve the problem. If you have a copy of the driver in a CD-R, transfer the file to another external storage device such as flash drive using another computer with a functioning CD/DVD-ROM. Otherwise, download a copy of the driver from the manufacturer’s website. If it is not available from there, try other driver download sites such as and

Step 6

Run the installer and install the driver. Restart your computer. If this does not solve the problem, you may have installed an incorrect version of the driver, or the driver is simply corrupted. If this is the case, proceed to Step 7. If the installation is successful, skip the next step, and proceed to Step 8.

Step 7

Navigate back to the “Device Manager,” right click on the name of the device and click “Properties.” Select the “Driver” tab and click “Roll back driver.” Obtain another installer and ensure that you download the correct model and version of the driver.

Step 8

Place a DVD-R into your optical drive. Try to open the drive and access the files in your optical disc. If the DVD-R is recognized by your DVD-ROM, it is now up and running.