How To Fix CD Or DVD Drive Not Detected In Windows

A DVD or CD drive may not be detected in Windows 10 or earlier versions of Windows but this problem is often simple to fix.

A common problem I see in my computer repair business is when a CD or DVD drive suddenly no longer appears in File Explorer and other programs like iTunes can’t see it either.

So you can’t play or access a CD or DVD, even though the drive continues to eject OK, and you may hear it spinning when you insert a disc.

Why Is A DVD Drive Not Detected In Windows

First of all, it’s important to note that this article applies specifically to a DVD or CD drive not detected in Windows – but was previously. So it now does not appear in File Manager or Computer, even though it is installed and it appeared there before.

Tip: if the drive does appear in Windows with a drive letter (e.g. D: drive or E: drive etc) then it has been detected. If the drive hardware is faulty, see how to replace a broken DVD drive.

The most likely causes of a drive that is no longer detected in Windows are:

A Windows Update Or Upgrade

In my experience this occurs after an update in Windows 10 more than in previous versions of Windows. The drive works OK until the update and then stops working immediately afterwards. Feature updates in Windows 10 are especially problematic.

In Windows 10 – click Start / Settings / Update & Security and check for any outstanding updates, especially driver updates. Apply them and then restart the computer – check if the drive is now detected.

In earlier versions of Windows, click the Start button and type ‘Updates’ into the search box then select Windows Update from the Control Panel options. In Windows Update, select ‘Check for updates’ in the left hand panel and apply any that are outstanding.

Apply them and then restart the computer – check if the drive is now detected.

Corrupted Registry Entries

This is usually a fault with (or conflict between) different DVD burning programs on your computer. Such programs often install their own software called ‘filters’ that should allow better integration with your drive.

Unfortunately, as you install more CD burning programs, you may end up with several of these filters which all compete with each other to access the drive at the same time, causing the drive to ‘lockup’ and not be recognized in Windows.

This will continue until the offending filters are removed – to remove the filters you need to edit the Windows registry. NB after doing this you may have to reinstall your CD burning programs (e.g. iTunes or Nero etc)

Warning: the registry is a very important database containing Windows configuration settings. Before editing it you should always create a new System Restore point in case you need to revert back to before the changes.

How To Fix Corrupted Registry Entries

1.  Hold down the Windows logo key on your keyboard and press the letter R to open the Run dialog box

2.  In the Run dialog box type regedit and press OK to open the Registry Editor – you navigate down it by opening the folders and subfolders in the left panel (double click to open or click on the + sign to open subfolders and click the – sign to close them)

3.  Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

4.  Highlight this key by left clicking on it once

5.  In the right hand panel, right click on UpperFilters (if it is not there, move on to the next step) and choose Delete and OK to delete the value

6.  In the right hand panel, right click on LowerFilters (if it is not there, move on to the next step) and choose Delete and OK to delete the value

7.  Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer

Your DVD drive should now be showing again in File Explorer and other programs. Remember to test your CD burning software – if it doesn’t work, uninstall it and then reinstall (use the latest version of the software available).

How To Avoid Drive Not Detected Problems

Try not to overload your computer with several CD burning programs. Choose one and stick to it e.g. iTunes – the more such programs you have installed, the more likely they are to conflict with each other and cause this type of problem.

Also, try to keep your CD burning software up to date – upgrade to a newer version if available to ensure better compatibility with Windows updates and other programs.

Many of these issues I see are caused by software that is years old and never been updated.

If you still have an old version of something like Nero or Roxio burning software that was already on the computer when you bought it, and you’ve never even used it, just uninstall it to prevent future problems.