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Reference number: CH000227

CD-ROM not working in Windows 9x, 2000, or XP.

Issue:

CD-ROM not working in Windows 9x, 2000, or XP.

Cause:

Below is a listing of reasons why a CD-ROM may not work in Windows.

  1. Bad or dirty CD.
  2. Corrupt or bad drivers.
  3. Corruption in Windows.
  4. Computer Virus.
  5. Bad CD-ROM drive or connected improperly.

Solution:

Bad or dirty CD

Make sure you've tested more than one CD in the disc drive, it is possible for one CD to be bad or dirty and not be read properly.  If all CDs work but one or two fails, it is likely that CD is bad or dirty. For instructions on cleaning your CDs and CD-ROM see our cleaning page.

If after cleaning the CDs that do not read you're still getting errors it's likely the disc is bad.

Check Device Manager

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Control Panel
  4. Double-click System
  5. Click the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button or just the Device Manager tab.

Within Device Manager verify that the CD-ROM has no exclamation marks or red Xs. If listed with a yellow exclamation mark or red X, remove the CD-ROM by highlighting the drive and pressing the delete key and reboot the computer to reinstall the CD-ROM drive.

Additional information on Device Manager can be found on our Device Manager page.

Corruption in Windows

Try testing the CD-ROM in Safe Mode. Additional information about how to get into Safe Mode can be found on document CHSAFE. If the CD-ROM works in Safe Mode but not in Normal Windows it's likely that another program is running that is causing the issue or that drivers are corrupt. Open Device Manager and highlight and remove the CD-ROM currently installed and remove it by pressing the delete key. Once done reboot the computer and let Windows reinstall the CD-ROM.

Try booting a CD or bootable diskette

Windows 2000/XP users:
If the above recommendations do not work attempt to boot from the Windows 2000 / XP CD to see if the computer can detect and boot from the CD. If the computer is able to boot from the CD you're encountering a windows driver related issue attempt the above recommendations again.

Windows 98 users:
If the above above recommendations have been attempted, try booting from a Windows 98 diskette or other bootable diskette with CD-ROM drivers to see if the CD-ROM works from MS-DOS. If the CD-ROM does work from MS-DOS, this indicates that you have a corruption with Windows. If, however, the CD-ROM does not work, refer to the next and final possibility. Additional information on bootable disks can be found on our boot disk page.

Verify computer running in 32-bit mode

Windows 95 / Windows 98 users only:
Verify that your computer is running in 32-bit mode by clicking Start / Settings / Control Panel / double-click System / click the Performance tab. Under performance by File System verify it says '32-bit'. If your File System indicates 'MS-DOS' mode see document CH000221.

Bad CD-ROM drive or connected improperly

If you have recently installed or moved your computer verify that your CD-ROM is connected by reading through  document CH000213. If the connections appear to be correct unfortunately it is likely that the CD-ROM is bad.

Bad drive

If all the above steps have been tried and you're still encountering errors with reading discs in your drive it's possible that the actual drive may be bad. See document CH001090 for additional information about testing a CD, DVD, and other disc drives for hardware issues.