Fixing Optical Drive Issues

Occasionally, CD/DVD drives can disappear from Explorer menu which usually affects many Windows Vista and 7 users (even XP) at some point during their system ownership. While they can be quite a few reasons for this, one seems to be most common and that is corrupted registry entries. In this guide, we will show you how to fix that problem.


In the past, registry had to be edited manually to fix this problem. Recently, Microsoft has released an automated fix that you simply download and run. You can obtain the fix it utility from here:

After running the tool, restart your computer and check to see if your CD/DVD device is back.

There are other reasons why you may not be seeing your drive.

Drive letter Issues:

Sometimes there can be a drive letter mismatch and the optical drive will lose its drive letter. If this happens, you can re-assign the drive letter to your optical drive by bringing up the Disk Management tool. You can do this by clicking on start > right click on computer > manage > Disk management.

In the middle section on the bottom, you should see all visible drives. Provided your drive can be seen, you can right click on it and choose Change Drive Letter. You can give it a letter from the drop down box of any that are available.

Interfering Software

Sometimes certain programs can cause the drive to disappear. Viruses and malware are known for this, but even normal software like CD and image mounting programs can also cause issues. If you have any kind of program that may be using CD/DVD, virtualizing an image or performing any kind of process related to CD/DVD features, we recommend removing it temporarily to see if your drive will be visible again.


Defective Drive


Finally, if none of the fixes above revive your optical drive, then it is possible that it is defective. You can try to troubleshoot the connection between the drive and the motherboard. SATA optical drives have a SATA power cable and a SATA data cable. Both of these need to be checked and perhaps swapped out to make sure you don’t have a connection issue with either one. Your computer power supply should have enough SATA ports to try a different one in order to provide power. You can obtain different DATA cable either by using a spare or purchasing one (they’re cheap) to test with. If after replacing both connections you still don’t see your optical drive and none of the fixes above worked for you, then you most likely have a defective optical drive and needs to be replaced through manufacturer.

If you’re unable to see your drive in Windows, it’s recommended to check the BIOS of the motherboard and see if the drive is visible there. If it is, it will eliminate the possibility of bad connections and at that point, the issue is software related. If the software fixes above do not solve the problem, re-installing the OS may be necessary.

If your drive shows up but its functions such as burning are not working, then this also typically indicates that the drive is defective. Likewise, if your drive can only read one type of media such as CDs but not be able to read DVDs, this is also a common issue with the drive and needs to be replaced. You should be able to replace your drive through the manufacturer if it’s still under warranty.

*Disclaimer: AVADirect and its Staff are not responsible for any damage to software/hardware, loss of data or personal injury by following our How-To guides. These guides are provided only as an aid to help you troubleshoot system problems. If you do not feel comfortable performing these steps its always best to send in your system to a local repair shop or contact an appropriate technical support line for additional assistance.