Ask The Readers: Lock A DVD Drive In Windows Explorer

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 29, 2009
Updated • Nov 29, 2012

Windows will try to access the contents of a DVD that is in a DVD drive whenever the user is accessing Windows Explorer. This can become pretty annoying as the DVD drive is starting to spin up making some loud noises in the process.

The question now is if there is a way to lock the DVD drive in Windows Explorer. Locking meaning that it will not be accessed in any way when a user opens Windows Explorer, a file browser or any other means of accessing files on his computer system. Ideally the program should be able to determine direct DVD access and allow that from happening.

The only viable solution so far is to create a disk image of the DVD in the drive and mount it using a software that emulates CD drives. This is however not a perfect solution. It would be much easier to have a on and off button for the DVD drive or a program running that would automatically perform the operation. Actually there is one additional solution which would involve removing the DVD from the drive whenever it is not needed and putting it back in whenever it is needed.

Question is: Do you know of a program that can lock the DVD drive so that the DVD will not be accessed when accessing Windows Explorer?


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  1. Q said on January 31, 2009 at 2:40 am

    I believe that disabling AutoRun (or Autoplay) would be necessary to skip reading from the optical drives.

    This means that Windows Explorer would not automatically read from the drives. This also means that the Explorer shell will not automatically update the icon nor label shown for the drive.

    To disable autorun of the optical drives on Windows 2000/XP:

    Windows policies like NoDriveTypeAutoRun exist that may disable autorun for optical drives. The NoDriveTypeAutoRun is described:
    A Local Machine version of the policy may also exist.

    Also, a seeting for the cdrom.sys driver may disable autorun. The Registry DWORD value “Autorun” may be set to 0 at the following to disable autorun at the cdrom.sys driver level:


    Do not forget to reboot.

  2. chul said on January 29, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Microsoft has a command line utility called DevCon to control devices from the command line or by batch file. Download it from

    To disable all CD/DVD drives, you would use:

    devcon disable gencdrom

    And then to reenable them:

    devcon enable gencdrom

    But that will also affect many virtual CD drives, depending on which virtual CD software you use. To avoid that, you have to find your physical CD/DVD drive’s hardware ID in Device Manager and use that as the argument for the devcon enable/disable command. You can use asterisks to match partial names; for example, “matshita*” will match all Matshita drives.

  3. RogueSpear said on January 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    This problem is exactly why the first thing I do with new media is to make an .iso file. Especially with my laptop. All that spinning up and down for no reason tends to half battery time.

  4. garbanzo said on January 29, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    well, you can prevent access entirely in gpedit.msc, or you can simply disable the drive in device manager, but both require half a minute’s work to enable the drive again when you want to use it…

    i also found this:

    “you can use Nero DriveSpeed to lower the max speed of the drive(s) which will reduce the time it takes them to spin up and read the label name”

  5. Thinker said on January 29, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I don’t know how to disable it, but you can set your dvd to silent mode, look at this:

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