How to test a computer CD-ROM and DVD drive for failures

Note: Before following any of the steps below, make sure multiple discs do not work in the drive. If only one CD or DVD is causing problems, it's an issue with the disc itself and not the drive.

Tip: Many CD and DVD drive errors in Windows are caused by drivers or other background programs. If you're running Microsoft Windows, run through Windows disc drive troubleshooting steps first.

A bad disc drive can cause an assortment of different issues on your computer. Below are just a few of the possible issues you may encounter. It is important to remember that the issues described below can also be caused by more than just a bad disc drive.

  1. Error when reading CD or DVD.
  2. CDs or DVDs may not play audio or video properly.
  3. CD or DVD programs may not install or encounter errors after being installed.

There are different ways to test your computer's disc drive and determine if it's bad or has flaws that are causing issues with your computer. Below is a listing of these recommendations.

Software and Hardware solutions

CD and DVD drives can sometimes get dusty and dirty inside, causing problems with reading discs. You can use a CD/DVD Drive Cleaner kit to help clean the disc drive, which can be purchased at many office supply stores and electronics stores.

Below is a listing of software programs available that are designed to test your computer's CD and DVD drives and discs.

  • CDRoller - Great program that is used to test and, if needed, recover data from CDs and DVDs.
  • CDCheck - Another great program used to help check CD drives (no DVD compatibility) and can also be used to help recover data from damaged discs.

There are also other fantastic 100% commercial products. Below is one of these products.

  • CD/DVD Diagnostic - Diagnostic program from InfinaDyne that is not only capable of testing a drive and disc, but also can recover some or all data from discs that may be bad.

Check the power supply

If the power supply is not providing enough power to the disc drive, it can cause the disc drive to not be able to function properly. The disc drive may not be able to read CD or DVD if it does not have enough power. You can check the power supply to determine if it is not working correctly.

Tip: If the disc tray will not open, that may also be a result of the power supply not providing any power, or enough power, to the disc drive.

Replace the disc drive

If the disc drive is still unable to read any CD or DVD after trying the above suggestions, the disc drive is most likely bad. It is recommended that you replace the disc drive to fix the problem.