Replacing the CD-ROM drive

I’ve had a wonderful Dell computer for less than 18 months.

It included a DVD/ROM drive. DVDs stopped working after a months. Now the CD-ROMs are refusing to play. When ever I insert one, Windows tells me there’s no CD in the drive. This happens regardless of the Auto Insert Notification being checked on or off. I bought a CD-ROM drive cleaner, and it had no effect. As all the CDs usually fail to run, I’m assuming its a drive problem. Just how difficult is it to replace a CD-ROM drive yourself? I have a degree in programming, but I’ve never tinkered in the inside of the computer before. How much would it cost me?

Extremely easy.

  1. Yank out old drive.
  2. Look at jumper.
  3. Set jumper on new drive to the same setting.
  4. Hook up new drive in old drive’s place.

You might have to install a new DVD program.

You can get a DVD drive for about $75 online including shipping.

Try just wiggling the IDE cable on the old drive first, worth a try.

I use a can of compressed air to clean the laser eye.

Otherwise its pretty easy to put in a new one. I bought a dvd drive from Circuit City the other day for $20 after rebates.


Did you buy your computer new? If so, isn’t it still under the parts warranty at least? Get your service tag number (should be on the label on the front of your CPU) and check it out at the Dell web site to see if it’s still eligible for parts and/or labor.

MBlackwell’s advice sounds pretty solid. Be careful if you follow Handy’s suggestion. Compressed air may cause damage if it comes out with too much force.

Good luck!

This happened on a Dell that I helped someone fix. After about an hour on the phone with Dell, they gave me these options:

  1. Uninstall and reinstall software
  2. Uninstall and reinstall physical drive (including drivers) and then software.
  3. Format and reinstall Windows (which is a bitch especially if your CDR isn’t working…)

I never got to option 4 (which i was hoping to be "give us your address, we’ll send a new one) because I figured out that the drive only works now when you let it “rest” for like 5 hours. That means shutting off the computer and doing something dumb like reading :wink:

I didn’t want to wait for Dell to send a new one. So my friend is still having to let her computer cool down for a long time before she can use the CDR.

Good luck!