Saturday, March 24, 2012

Windows sees a DVD drive as a CD drive

Troubleshoot an identity crisis in Windows 7. Plus: Install software from a CD or DVD on a laptop that doesn't have an optical drive.

A FEW WEEKS ago, reader Deborah's Toshiba laptop running Windows 7 began treating the DVD-ROM drive as a CD-ROM drive. It could play and burn CDs, but it wouldn't work with DVDs.

Deborah says she scanned for viruses, checked for updated drivers, and ran Windows' DVD troubleshooter--all to no avail.

Third-party DVD-burning programs continued to recognize the drive for what it was, and it worked with them without a hitch, suggesting that the problem was limited to Windows itself. Then, about a week later, the same problem cropped up on Deborah's HP desktop, leaving her with two DVD drives that Windows thinks are CD drives.

I suspect that a Windows update or a newly installed (or uninstalled) program corrupted the Windows Registry, leading the OS to think that functional DVD drives were CD drives. Since it happened on two PCs within a week, an errant Windows update is the likelier culprit.

See for a Microsoft knowledge-base entry and Fix-it tool that may help. (Always, always use System Restore to create a restore point before attempting such a fix.) In the meantime, at least Deborah has third-party software that works.

Install CD Software on a Laptop Lacking a CD Drive

Recently I acquired an HP Pavilion dmlz. To give the system a boost, I decided to replace its poky 5200-rpm hard drive with a speedy solid-state drive.


The Samsung SSD upgrade kit I bought came with a CD for Norton Ghost 15, a utility that would copy the entire contents of my existing hard drive to the new drive. But the dmlz, like many other ultraportable laptops, has no CD or DVD drive. How could I install Ghost?

I had two options. First, I could buy or borrow an external drive. A quick check of eBay reveals tons of USB DVD burners selling for $20 to $40--not a bad investment.

Second, I could try downloading the software instead. When I checked Samsung's support page for my SSD kit, I found not only manuals and drivers, but also Norton Ghost 15.

I downloaded the program, installed it, and then activated it by using the license key that came with the actual disc.

You can do likewise with Microsoft Office: Just download the trial version that matches the version you already own, and then activate it using your product key. (This gets a little trickier with older versions of Office, as Microsoft currently offers only the 2010 edition for download. You might need to hit up some torrent sites to find older trials.)

This method should work for the vast majority of other types of software as well. Usually you can download a trial or demo version and then unlock it with your license key. And as a bonus, your system will have the latest updates right from the get-go.

Broida, Rick

Source Citation
Broida, Rick. "Windows sees a DVD drive as a CD drive." PC World Apr. 2012: 92. Computer Database. Web. 24 Mar. 2012.
Document URL

Gale Document Number: GALE|A283834120

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