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Why Does Windows Freeze When a DVD is Inserted?

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 11/6/2009

DVD drives freezing Windows is a very common problem. Let’s have a look at the factors that cause this problem, and some solutions you can try.

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    We face this problem from time to time on our computer; insert a DVD and Windows freezes all of a sudden. Sometimes the problem is so severe that even the normal Ctrl+Alt+Del doesn’t work and it needs a reboot. So what causes this problem?

    The first thing to check when Windows freezes after inserting a DVD disc is the disc itself. If the disc is too old with scratches all over the surface, chances are good it has become unreadable by the DVD drive, and that is the reason Windows freezes when that disc is inserted.

    To check, you can insert some other disc which you know worked fine the last time or even try it out with multiple discs. If those discs work properly then it is probably that disc which caused the problem in the first case. If Windows keep freezing with any disc inserted, then the problem lies elsewhere.

    The most common cause of Windows freezing when a DVD is inserted is a conflicting or incompatible driver. Check if the correct driver is installed for your DVD hardware and if that driver is compatible with your version of Windows. Most of the time, you can get this information from the website of the manufacturer, or in the manual.

    Check the properties of your DVD drive in “Device Manager”. To do this, right click on the My Computer icon and bring up its properties. Then click "Device Manager". In the list expand the entry DVD/CD-ROM drives, select your DVD drive, right click on it and click on properties. There you can check the driver status of the DVD drive and also update the driver if needed.

    Sometimes this problem appears after an automatic Windows update. If your DVD drive was working and has started behaving like this only after a recent automatic update, chances are that the working driver has been replaced by some outdated driver that was included in the Windows update. In this case, visit the website of your DVD drive manufacturer, download and install the latest driver and that should solve the problem.

    A corrupted system file can also cause this problem. So run a system file check to make sure there are no corrupt files on your Windows installation.

    To check if your system files are intact you can run the system file checker utility by typing in the command "sfc /scannow" at the command prompt. Windows will check and inform you if it finds any corrupted files.

    Sometimes this problem is caused by a conflicting drive ID, especially, if your DVD drive and the hard drive are not set up properly. For example, setting up your hard drive as primary master and DVD drive as primary slave is never a good thing to do. It can result in problems because of the interference caused by the devices when used simultaneously .

    In this case you should try changing the set up with the hard drive as primary master and DVD drive as secondary master.

    If you have more than one hard drive and DVD drive, then it's best to set up both the hard drives as primary (one as master, another as slave) and the DVD drives as secondary (master and slave). To change a DVD drive from primary to secondary or vice versa, look for the instructions that are typically printed on the DVD drive itself. You will have to open up the CPU cabinet to see it, and basically it will involve changing the jumper setting.