When I first installed Windows 7 I was puzzled that my Samsung DVD drive was not displayed in Windows Explorer. Only later did I learn that this was by design. Optical drives with no media inserted do not appear by default in Windows Explorer on Windows 7. That's fine and users can make a quick configuration change to make the drives appear all the time.
Some Windows users on the other hand experience problems with their CD and DVD drives that have nothing to do with this feature. Microsoft describes the problem the following way:
Your CD drive or DVD drive is missing or not recognized by Windows or other programs, so you cannot play or access a CD or DVD. This issue might have occurred after you installed, uninstalled, or updated a program or Windows Vista.
This is a generic description. Users who scroll down on the Knowledgebase page find details at the end of the page:
This issue may have occurred after one of the following situations:
- You upgrade a computer to Windows Vista or install Windows Vista Service Pack 1.
- You install or uninstall CD or DVD recording programs.
- You uninstall Microsoft Digital Image.
You may see one of the following error messages: One of the following error messages appears when you view the CD drive or the DVD drive in Device Manager.
- Error message 1 - The device is not working properly because Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device (Code 31).
- Error message 2 - A driver for this device was not required, and has been disabled (Code 32 or Code 31).
- Error message 3 - Your registry might be corrupted. (Code 19)
- An "error code 39" error message.
- A message that resembles the following appears in the notification area:
Windows successfully loaded the device driver for this hardware but cannot find the hardware device. (Code 41)
Users should check the CD drive or DVD drive in the Device Manager before they apply the Fix-It solution.
The Knowledgebase article offers instructions on how to manually fix the issue as well. Windows 7 users can use the Playing and Burning CDs, DVDs, and Blu‑ray Discs troubleshooter (link), while Vista and XP users have to edit the Windows Registry.
No word out yet if Microsoft will develop a patch to fix the issue permanently.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.