Alert from CNET Staff

 Attention forum users:  We want you to try out the new CNET forums platform! Click here to read the details. Thanks!

Community Newsletter: Q&A forum: 12/09/05 Help! My system no longer recognizes my DVD or CD-ROM drives

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) December 8, 2005 2:41 PM PST

Like this

0 people like this thread

Staff pick

12/09/05 Help! My system no longer recognizes my DVD or CD-ROM drives

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 12/8/05 2:41 PM


One day I went to bed, and my computer was fine; the next
morning, my system no longer recognized my DVD-RW and
CD-RW. As far as I know, I did nothing to provoke such
outrageous behavior. Both drivers load without a problem, and there's power going to both drives. I checked the control panel and got yellow with error 41. What gives? I love burning stuff to CD. I am desperately missing my CD fix. Can you help a fellow out? Running Windows XP. Thanks in advance!

Submitted by: Nike W.

(First, a word of WARNING: This weeks answer and some recommendations suggest the task of editing your Windows registry, MAKE SURE you back up your registry in case you do something wrong and need to revert. If you are unfamiliar with this task, keep your hands off and let someone who is experienced in this field perform it. You don't want to accidentally delete/edit a file that is critical to your system--which can/will wreak havoc in your computer. So be cautious and know what you are doing before proceeding! Edit and Delete files in the Windows registry at your own risk. Thank you.)



Let's see if we can resolve this for you. I will assume you don't have removable drives since this is typically not a plug-and-play issue. Also, outdated, incorrect, or damaged drivers may in fact load but not operate well enough for your hardware to work correctly. You may need to run Windows Update to make sure your OS is functioning properly with other newer drivers and programs.

The error code 41, with the yellow you are getting, is in fact for drivers that were loaded, but Windows cannot find the non-plug-and-play device. This can happen from a simple update that may have occurred, even if you had no knowledge of it. It can cause a conflict with the drivers that renders your hardware unusable, as in your case.

First of all...Do you have a good anti -virus software, a firewall and ad\spyware remover? These are things to be considered as you may have a virus or some other type of infected file that may be doing damage to your system drivers amongst other files you don't know about yet. Free anti virus programs such as AVG are good and ZoneAlarm for your firewall, there is also Ewidos spyware\malware remover, Adaware, amongst others that are or have free versions. If all checks out and you have done the above, let's move on...

The first thing to do would be to click and open My Computer ,find Local Disk C: , which is typically your main hard drive and OS (operating system), right click\properties and then the tools tab\ and click the Check Now under the Error checking. A box will come up and you should put a check in each one, auto fix and attempt recovery of bad sectors. Click start. You will be told you cannot run this and asked to do so on next start up, click YES. You then close all windows and restart the pc. It will start the error check on it's own and may take a while to complete. When it is back to the desktop , you can then see if your drives are working as this will sometimes fix errors. This is far from an absolute for your type of problem but it may solve other issues allowing you to better test your problem at hand.

The next thing I would like to suggest is a system restore. This can restore your computer to a working state before the problem occured. If you are sure this issue occured the morning you woke up, then you would want to restore a day or two, or the closest possible day to before the night you went to bed and shut the pc down. To do this, click on START\ All Programs\Accessories\System Tools\System Restore... You will be asked to restore or create a restore point..choose restore to the nearest date before the trouble. If this does not work we go on to your drivers.

You may also check a few things, click START\Control pannel, (switch to classic view) and then click on Administrative Tools. Find Event Viewer and click on it to open. To the left , click on "System" and you will find a list to the right now. You can scroll through to the time and date close to when an error has occured. You will see the yellow warning symbol or the red circle error symbol with an X in it. You may see the cdrom , or something pertaining to it , under the "source" column. You can double click it and a box will come up with an (albeit not always user friendly) description of the problem and a link to microstoft to help you pinpoint the problem. Not always do they have a fix or the one for your issue. You should also look in the "application" section above the system and security, and follow the same steps.

Now, i would like to touch on the driver issue. The first thing you should do is on your desktop, right click My Computer\ Properties\Hardware tab\Device Manager\ (find DVD\CD-ROM drives and click on the + in the box next to it to expand it.
What you should see are your drives listed, and should in this case, have a yellow exclamation point.

<The reason may be you need an updated driver for the device to function correctly with perhaps an update that occured on your system or something you installed\uninstalled earlier on in the week even, you may not realize or remember happened. >

Right click the drive, and choose to update the driver. If the driver updates succesfully the yellow "!" will be resolved and your device should in theory work. You may need to restart the pc for this to take effect. This is not always the case however and not always so easy to accomplish. You may be asked to insert a cd with the drivers or access the internet to search for the appropriate drivers. You may also need to search for updated drivers on your own. This would mean finding the site that supports your drives, locating the correct updated drivers and downloading and installing them yourself.

If this doesn't work and assuming once again, that you have non-plug and play drives you may also click Start\Control pannel\ <switch to classic view on the left upper corner>click \Add Hardware and follow the instructions.
This will help you to troubleshoot and hopefully help you repair this issue.

There is also a possibility that your IDE cable has loosened a bit, is no longer making a proper connection, may be bad , or your IDE socket on the motherboard is not functioning. This is the extreme of what may be wrong but first, test the connections to see if they are still tight. Note: if you are not sure about this, contact someone who is skilled enough to go into your pc, it's better to be safe than sorry.

You first need to make sure your computer is unplugged from the wall outlet and unplug any peripheral devices. Try to put the pc up on a level elevated surface that is easy to work on and away from other electrical devices or speakers, and a surface that does not promote static. You then need to (depending on the type of pc) remove the screws which hold the side cover on the tower itself. Some have slide off sides, some the whole outer casing slides off upwards. There are many different pcs but these are just some of the more common methods. Now, before you touch anything inside the pc, you need either a "grounding wrist strap" or to ground yourself to the chassis of the pc in order to prevent damage from ESD <electro static
discharge> This would be like rubbing your feet on carpet and touching
discharge> a doorknob and zapping a cat's nose, but it's far more than enough to do damage to a pc component, circuit, or chip , on the motherboard. Try not to stand on a carpet or rug while doing this, it also promotes more ESD.

Now, your IDE cables are long flat cables made up of many small wires in a row that connect to the pins on the motherboard and your Hard drives, cd drives etc...Notice the position of your rom drives, locate them inside the pc, and make sure the ends of the IDE cables are in well by pushing the connection onto the drive and motherboard, (not too hard though). Also make sure your power cables on the drives are on securely also. They are located to the right of the IDE cable. If you have a lot of vibration where you live as I do, trains etc...this can cause a cable to loosen. Put the pc back together properly and then hook up you peripherals etc...plug the pc back in and boot it up. If this does not work, we get into your registry...

This is quite a bit more technical. I suggest if you feel uncomfortable in any way or don't feel you are able to do this, "don't." Making changes to the registry can cause your OS to be rendered completely useless and you should back up your information in any way you can, since your disk drives do not function.
That said, we need to try this....

Start the Registry Editor by clicking on the Start\Run\ ...then type
(regedit) in the command box, click ok. Look for the Upper filters value under the following key in the registry...
On the edit menu click delete and then click ok...
Look for the lower filters value under the same key in registry...
On the edit menu click delete, and then click ok...
After you remove the upper filters value and the lower filters value and you have a loss of functions in a certain program, you may need to reinstall the certain program.
Now you restart your computer..

If all went well, your drives will now be detected properly...If not...try this as well,

Reboot your computer, tap the DEL key every two seconds or so as soon as the computer begins to power up. This will take you to your CMOS settings. I have to stress the point , do not edit anything in CMOS unless you absolutely know what you are doing, as this can cause you startup problems among many other problems. For this situation you will simply browse or use Auto Detect. You will have to use your TAB key and ENTER key to get around since the mouse will not function in the CMOS box. There should be an IDE HDD AUTO DETECTION or something similar, this varies from pc to pc. You need to TAB until highlighted, hit ENTER and under the {Hard drive and second Hard drive, (may say auto or no drive if not one there) it should say CDROM and another CDROM} under that.

This is a very simple example of some of what you may see....and as I said, may vary from pc to pc...
Example: User >typically a hard drive
Example: Auto >typically a hard drive
Example: CDROM >typically cdrom\dvd
Example:NOT FOUND >typically cdrom\dvd

If not you may use AUTO DETECT which will detect Hard drives and CDROM devices, TAB until you have highlighted one of the above examples and hit ENTER, if it then auto detects, you now have CDROM listed under both, hit the ESC key and then F10, when asked to save to CMOS and quit hit Y and enter. You will be taken out of CMOS and the pc will reboot. Hopefully the pc will now detect the drives. If none of the above helped, then you may have a more serious problem and need to take your pc into a liscensed technician to have the motherboard looked at.

Good luck with everything!

Submitted by: Paul K. of Gladstone, Michigan

Forum Icon Legend

  • UnreadUnread
  • ReadRead
  • Locked threadLocked thread
  • ModeratorModerator
  • CNET StaffCNET Staff
  • Samsung StaffSamsung Staff
  • Norton Authorized Support TeamNorton Authorized Support Team
  • AVG StaffAVG Staff
  • avast! Staffavast! Staff
  • Webroot Support TeamWebroot Support Team
  • Acer Customer Experience TeamAcer Customer Experience Team
  • Windows Outreach TeamWindows Outreach Team
  • DISH staffDISH staff
  • Dell StaffDell Staff
  • Intel StaffIntel Staff
  • QuestionQuestion
  • Resolved questionResolved question
  • General discussionGeneral discussion
  • TipTip
  • Alert or warningAlert or warning
  • PraisePraise
  • RantRant

You are e-mailing the following post: Post Subject

Your e-mail address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the e-mail and in case of transmission error. Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose.

Sorry, there was a problem emailing this post. Please try again.

Submit Email Cancel

Thank you. Sent email to


Thank you. Sent email to


You are reporting the following post: Post Subject

If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

Offensive: Sexually explicit or offensive language

Spam: Advertisements or commercial links

Disruptive posting: Flaming or offending other users

Illegal activities: Promote cracked software, or other illegal content

Sorry, there was a problem submitting your post. Please try again.

Submit Report Cancel

Your message has been submitted and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.


Your message has been submitted and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.


You are posting a reply to: Post Subject

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to the CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to CBS Interactive Site Terms of Use.

You are currently tracking this discussion. Click here to manage your tracked discussions.

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

Sorry, there was a problem submitting your post. Please try again.

Sorry, there was a problem generating the preview. Please try again.

Duplicate posts are not allowed in the forums. Please edit your post and submit again.

Submit Reply Preview Cancel

Thank you, , your post has been submitted and will appear on our site shortly.