How to Troubleshoot Playing a DVD on a Dell Laptop

By Greyson Ferguson

Fix your DVD problems with a few simple steps.
i a dvd-r disc image by wayne ruston from

Dell laptop computers now come with a standard built-in DVD player drive. The drive can handle most DVD movies, ranging from home created disks to movies you purchase from the store. Although movies may play flawlessly on your Dell laptop, you can run into the occasional issue where a DVD does not play correctly, which thankfully you can often fix with just a few system and DVD checks.

Step 1

Check the surface of the DVD. Scratches, dust, fingerprints and other debris can cause the disk to not play correctly.

Step 2

Clean off the dust and fingerprints with a damp rag. Start at the center of the DVD and move in an outwards motion. Rotating around the DVD while cleaning it can actually push dust into the small moles of the disk.

Step 3

Insert the DVD into a DVD repair kit. This is a small device that actually sands down the disk slightly and removes scratches. Deep scratches are not going to come out, and you will have to buy a new DVD because you won't be able to fix the blemish.

Step 4

Spray compressed air into the DVD tray of your Dell laptop. This should remove dust buildup on the drive lens.

Step 5

Refer to the user manual for the Dell computer. If you have an older Dell computer with a DVD drive, some home recorded DVD formats will not function (such as DVD+R or DVD-R, depending on the drive manufacturer). If you are using a DVD that isn't supported by the Dell DVD drive it isn't going to play.

Step 6

Log onto the Dell website, then select "Support," followed by "Drivers." Search your particular laptop and download the drivers made specifically for your operating system. Updating the drivers on your laptop computer can correct any playback issues you are having with the DVD drive.

Step 7

Enable DirectDraw on your Dell Laptop. If DirectDraw is powered off, DVDs can fail to play. To enable DirectDraw click "Start," "Run" and type "DXDIAG," followed by clicking "OK." When a new window appears select "Display," click "Enable" and close the window by clicking "Exit."