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Troubleshooting a Computer DVD Player

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011

You use your computer for everything from surfing the web, to watching movies, to playing music CDs. Suddenly, though, your DVDs no longer work on your computer. These troubleshooting steps might help you find out why and how to fix the problem.

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    The DVD Tray

    To begin, make sure you have the DVD in the correct drive. If you are not certain, try it in every drive just to rule that out as a problem. If the DVD is in the drive and the tray will not eject, then you have a hardware problem. Whether you want to try and pry it open or would rather have a professional look at it depends on your knowledge of the hardware.

    If the DVD tray ejects, and it is in the correct drive, but it makes a noisy vibrating sound when you try to play a DVD, there might be a loose screw in the computer's DVD drive. Again, you might wish to attempt to tighten the screws yourself or you may decide to opt to have it repaired.

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    The DVD

    Try playing the DVD on a different DVD player. This is especially true if your computer will play CDs and some DVDs but not one in particular or a handful of them. If the DVDs do not play on another device, then the problem is likely to be with the DVDs themselves and not with your computer.

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    Audio Only

    If you are able to hear audio from CDs and DVDs on your computer, but cannot see any video from the DVDs, there are two possible problems. If you have only recently installed DVD playback software onto your computer and have never been able to view DVDs, your system may not meet the software's requirements. Visit the DVD software's website to find out what the system requirements are and whether your computer meets them. If not, you will either need to upgrade your computer to meet these requirements or find a different DVD playback program that is compatible with your computer.

    The second problem that might cause you to only hear audio from CDs and DVDs, but not be able to view the DVD videos is that the DVD player's drivers need to be updated. To check the driver status and look for updates for your computer's DVD player, go to the Control Panel and open Device Manager. Expand the DVD drive and right click the DVD player device. Select Properties and check the status to see if the device is working properly. Then, go to the Driver tab and click Update Driver. Select to search the Internet for updates. If Windows is unable to find an update, visit the website of the DVD player's manufacturer to check for and install any available driver updates.

    This should also fix the problem if you can see video but not hear any sound, and may fix the problem of the DVD player not working at all.

    DVD Player Properties 

    If you do not see a DVD player in the Device Manager, either there is not one installed or it has died and needs to be replaced.

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    If you are using Windows Media Player to watch DVDs and play CDs on your computer and it is not working, there are some settings that might need to be changed. Open Windows Media Player and select Options from the Tools menu. Go to the Performance tab and click on Advanced. Clear the checkbox that says Use Overlays under Video Acceleration.

    Another setting you should check is the DVD Region. If you have a DVD recorded using the Canada region code, but your computer is set for Mexico as the DVD region, the DVDs will not play. Go back to the Device Manager from the Control Panel and expand the DVD player in the list. Right click the DVD player and select Properties. Go to the DVD Region tab and select the proper region for your DVD player.

    DVD Region 

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