Fix “DVD Drive Not Recognized” in Windows 7

There has been many questions by Windows users (both XP and Vista) who have recently switched over to Windows 7 regarding DVD and CD-ROM device compatibility.

So what is the cause of the frustration?

DVD/CD-ROM drives (and software programs) that worked well with Windows 7 predecessors are now causing problems or are simply not working at all. Some users may be surprised to find that their DVD drive is not recognized in Windows 7 explorer even though the DVD-ROM drive is listed in the BIOS during system boot.

Windows Device Manager – DVD Drive Missing

If you check the device manager, you may noticed that the drive is marked by a yellow exclamation mark. It will look like this (with your manufacturer device model):

Device Manger Error - Windows 7

DVD Drive Error Code Messages

Let’s look at some of the reasons for this malfunction and troubleshooting methods to solve the problem.

You may get one of the following errors that are related to your DVD Drive not being recognized:

Error Code 31 – “The device is not working properly because Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device. (Code 31)”
Error Code 19 – “Your registry might be corrupted. (Code 19)”
Error Code 32 – “A driver for this device was not required, and has been disabled. (Code 32 or Code 31)”
Error Code 48 – “The software for this device has been blocked from starting because it is known to have problems with Windows. Contact the hardware vendor for a new driver. (Code 48)”

Or you also might receive an error in notification area:

Error Code 41 – “Windows successfully loaded the device driver for this hardware but cannot find the hardware device. (Code 41)”

Common Solutions For Fixing “Drive Not Recognized” Errors

Before you start going through the possible solutions in the steps below, I seriously recommend you download a hardware update tool that I personally use to make sure all my device drivers are updated with the most recent manufacturer-released drivers. You should be updating your PC regularly and this is the easiest way to avoid (and fix) problems with your hardware.

Troubleshooting Method #1: Reinstall the DVD (or CD-ROM) Drive

If you are getting the above mentioned errors then you need to uninstall the device (DVD) and reinstall again. Follow these steps to uninstall the DVD drive:

  • Click “Start”.
  • In the “Start Search” box, type “Device Manager” and press Enter.
  • In the Device Manager window that is displayed, locate the DVD/CD-ROM drives and click on “+” sign to expand it.
  • Right-click on the DVD drive and select “uninstall“.
  • Restart your computer.
  • On restart, Windows should automatically detect and reinstall DVD driver.
  • Once the driver installation is complete, check your DVD drive to see if it works now.

If the DVD drive is still not recognized after reinstalling, one of the reasons for the DVD drive not being recognized may be corrupted registry entries.

Troubleshooting Method #2: Delete Corrupt Registry Entries

Let’s take a look at the steps to get rid of corrupted registry entries that may be the reason for DVD drive errors.

  • Click “Start” and then select “Run”.
  • Type “regedit” and press Enter to open the Registry Editor window.
  • You may be prompted to enter Administrator password.  Enter the password and click Allow.
  • The registry window will be displayed now. Here locate the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in the left navigation pane.
  • Click on the “+” sign to expand the registry key or right click on the registry key and click on Expand.
  • Navigate to following sub registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}.
  • Once you reach the above mentioned sub registry key you will be able to see Upper Filters registry entry in the right pane.

Note: You will also find an UpperFilters.bak registry entry. You are not required to remove it. If you do not see UpperFilters registry entry, you still have to remove the LowerFilters registry entry.

  • Right-click on the Upper Filters registry entry and select Delete.
  • In the same way delete the Lower Filters registry entry.
  • You will be prompted for confirmation for deletion. Click on Yes.
  • Exit the Registry editor.
  • Restart your computer.

Troubleshooting Method #3 – Disable Integrity Checks

  • Go to “Start > All programs > Accessories
  • Right click on “Command Prompt > Run as administrator
  • Type “bcdedit /set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS” and press “Enter“.
  • Restart your computer.

If your DVD drive is still not recognized after following the troubleshooting methods above, you can try to download and install a hotfix released by Microsoft. For this, you need to go to Microsoft support site and search for hotfix “976187“. The hotfix can help fix some DVD drives issues.

One last point: Some users have reported that certain DVD drive software like WinDVD (for watching movies) have been the cause and after unistalling the software or upgrading to the newest version, their DVD-ROM drive was then recognized in Windows.

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