Troubleshooting a DVD player on a laptop

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Troubleshooting a DVD player on a laptop
Laptop with DVD player. (Cohdra/morguefile)

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Eject Malfunction

One of the most common problems encountered on a DVD player on a laptop is that the DVD tray does not eject. There could be several reasons why; one is that the drive does not sit on the bay. The screw is either loose or missing. In this case, try removing and reinstalling the swappable DVD tray. Make sure that the release latch snaps to the locked position and then screw it on tightly.

If the DVD tray does not eject even when the drive is properly seated, power down and use the emergency pinhole on the front faceplate. Do this with the DVD trays for swappable types.

Another cause of the DVD tray not ejecting is that there is a broken DVD disk stuck inside. Insert a paper clip through the pinhole on the front of the DVD tray. Then, when the DVD tray ejects halfway through, remove the broken pieces of the DVD.

If the problem with the DVD tray not ejecting is due to the ejector mechanism, it may not be practical to do the repair on your own.

Troubleshooting a DVD player on a laptop
Laptop with DVD player.

A DVD Is Not Recognized by the DVD Player

If the DVD movie does not play on your laptop's DVD player, it could be due to dirt or smudges on the disk. Clean the DVD with a nice lint-free cloth, and then inspect for scratches and surface build-up. If cleaning does not work, check if the drive can read other CDs or DVDs. Test using a brand new factory-sealed DVD. If it still does not work, that means the problem is not the disk but the DVD drive could be broken and may need replacing.

If the DVD does not play, it could be that your DVD player needs a CODEC (Coder/Decoder). There are some downloads available online to update your CODEC. If the problem is software-related, find a way to fix it by calling the software manufacturer instead of downloading the CODEC each time you want to play a DVD. They may be able to send you a patch that you can install to fix the problem.

DVD Drive Failure

On rare occasions, you would see hardware failure errors during boot up. This shows up as "DVD Drive Failure" error, or the drive disappears from the CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) set up. This could be due to the drive electronics failure, which may be why the DVD drive has stopped communicating. You can remove and reinstall the DVD driver or software and then test the connection. If it still does not see the DVD drive, you can remove and reinstall the DVD tray and see if that would fix the problem. If the problem persists, it may be time to replace the DVD drive with a new one.

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