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Computer Question, can you help?

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Heinz57

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Hi all,

I've got a slight question to do with the CD/DVD drive in my desktop, wondering if one of you with more pc knowledge than me could shed a little light on the problem.

Basicaly, whenever I try to watch a DVD on here, the playback isn't very good. It often stops or freezes for a minute or so, before continueing again. Sometimes upon continuing it might increase its speed, or 'fast forward' for a few seconds before resuming normal speed.
Another problem happens when I access a data disc, a 'right click' option (such as autorun) form the DVD, on my computer. Here it will run realy slow, or freeze (sometimes it will imediatly freeze after right clicking)

This problem occours on any player (Windows, VLC or Power DVD). But I have no problems with games or music CDs.

To me this screams out that the disc drive is on its last legs. But I was wondering if one of you with some computer knowledge could shed a little light before I do anything else.

Cheers,

Heinz

EDIT: forgot to add, I use Windows 7
 
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swj99

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Drive could be faulty, but how old is it if the system is Windows 7 ?

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but don't drives that can do both CD and DVD have 2 lasers, one for CDs and a different one for DVDs ? I had a DVD rewrite drive which stopped writing onto DVD but it still wrote CDs for a while, until it died completely.

Or possibly a data transfer issue. How is the drive connected to the motherboard, is it an IDE connection (ribbon cable), and if so, what else is connected to the same IDE cable on the board ? I'm just thinking if it was the same IDE cable as the operating system hard drive, you might be getting a bottleneck of data, as it can only travel in one direction at a time.

Could also be a memory problem. When a computer reads data off a disc, it buffers it by storing it in physical memory. If something else is already using that memory, you get lag. What other processes are running ?
 

Crossover

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As swj99 has said, it would be worth seeing if any DVD games or such work to try narrow down to a problematic media type. Given what you have said though it sounds like a buffering issue, as it can suddenly fast forward as it catches up. This could point to the issues mentioned above also, though could be something else equally.
 

Peter Mugridge

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Hi all,
Another problem happens when I access a data disc, a 'right click' option (such as autorun) form the DVD, on my computer. Here it will run realy slow, or freeze (sometimes it will imediatly freeze after right clicking)

Is this the only other problem? Does it freeze up at all during normal use ( ie when on the internet or e-mail? If it does and the frequency is increasing then I would wonder about a motherboard failure; I've had one recently...
 

Heinz57

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Hi there,

No it doesn't happen on anything else, just when using the disc drive.

The system itself is actualy about 4 years old, I used to have XP before making the switch to 7 late last year.

The drive is an LG one (not sure on the model) and is connected in via a SATA II cable.

I have 4GB of RAM in the system, and don't normaly have many processes running in the background.

Cheers
 

michael769

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It sounds like a driver or CODEC issue to be honest, Can you try ripping the DVD to a file on your PC's hard drive and then playing it? if you still get the jumping it will be CODEC related, if not probably the driver chain.

It is quite common for player software to fool about with the CD/DVD drive's driver chain (some older versions of iTunes were notorious for braking them completely), and this can cause issues like this. They are pretty difficult to overcome as it is hard to figure out what is causing the reduced throughput (the root cause of the stuttering) and to remove it without losing access to the drive.

Often the only effective solution is to perform a complete wipe and re install of the OS, which is a bit of a pain if you have a lot of data to back up and/ora lot of application software to re-install and set up again. On the upside a wipe and reinstall often gives a noticeable performance boost to a windows PC.

The CD and DVD functions use the same (red) laser. You only need 2 lasers if it also supports blue-ray (which requires a blue laser).
 

Heinz57

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Thanks.

The playback when it is just a file on the PC is fine, no problems at all. So it must be the driver chain, as you say.

I don't realy want to do a complete re-install as it wasn't that long ago when I did it last. Is there any other solutions that might fix it?

Cheers
 

SS4

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Have you tried updating the driver or rolling back to the last driver which was known to work
 

Heinz57

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Didn't even know it had driver software for it? I've never installed any before. Unless its in relation to say the motherboard drivers?

I think all we had to do when I originaly got it, when I first the computer, was perhaps press a few buttons in BIOS. Probably not even that.
 

SS4

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Every device comes with drivers, it's just that some are included in Windows - you can check it in Device Manager although if you didn't manually install it I doubt it's a driver problem.

Have you checked it with different DVDs? Especially an old and a new one if you have them available, if it's like blu ray there are different versions and I'd guess the drive isn't spinning quickly enough so to speak but the most likely outcome is that the drive has practically had it.
If you want the disc experience you can get software which copies discs and puts them as an image (.iso) on your hard drive which acts like a dvd (vlc and mplayer see it as a disc)
 

Heinz57

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Yeah I reckon that might be my best option.

Not too keen on messing around with drivers when I don't know what I'm doing.

Cheers
 

swj99

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Actually, that reminds me of another thing you could try. Go into Device Manager (don't ask me how you do that on W7 because I don't know).
Find the device, click on it or whatever you have to do, and uninstall it. Then restart the computer, which should detect it as new hardware. Allow Windows to install it, then see if there's any improvement.
 

krus_aragon

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My suspicion is that it's a case of the drive having trouble reading the disc at times. Have a listen to the drive when it 'freezes'. Do you hear the disc spinning up, then slowing to a stop before spinning up again, over and over? Or perhaps a more robotic noise of the laser's servo moving back and forth trying to find the right track? (That sounds a bit like an inkjet printer's head moving back and forth, but quieter.) These would indicate a hardware issue. Opening the drive and fiddling with some rheostats can sometimes help a failing laser read the disc again, but in my experience it's a temporary solution at best. You're best off buying a replacement.

Do some of the game discs have more than 800Mb of data on them? That'll mean they're DVDs. If you have DVD-based games that all work fine without an issue, that would suggest that the problem is actually somewhere in the DVD video decoding/playback software instead.

I don't expect it's a driver issue, though. DVD drives are so standardised these days that they all use built-in Windows drivrs that require no configuration whatsoever.
 

Heinz57

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Noise wise it sort of depends realy. With an actual data disc, there is quite a loud sound of the disc spinning and whirling away in there. Very loud - louder than what it should be. That also happends when it freezes. And as you say, it can spin up (loudly) before slowing to a stop over and over again.
DVDs however, when they freeze there is no sound - almost as if the disc has stopped spinning. The 'blinking LED' is also off when this happends.

DVD based games are all fine, never experienced any major problems yet. Nothing worth writing home about. *touch wood!*
 

michael769

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I don't expect it's a driver issue, though. DVD drives are so standardised these days that they all use built-in Windows drivrs that require no configuration whatsoever.

Sorry - but I can only conclude from this statement that you do not understand how the Windows driver filter chain works.

This might help you to understand just how complex and fragile it is: http://djlizard.net/2007/04/30/230/

Optical drives are especially vulnerable to problems as every application that interacts directly with the drive will insist on adding its own driver filters to the chain, and sometimes they interact with other already installed ones in a bad way.
 

mbonwick

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Download the latest k-Lite codec pack, as its free its worth a shot!

Sounds to me like one of the codecs loaded on the PC has gone funny/been corrupted.
 

Heinz57

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Thanks for your help chaps.

Think I might go down the route of a new drive. Because this one is deffinatly on its last legs, its got the problems discussed in this thread, plus its getting quite loud now and has/had a few other problems too.

Cheers
 

Johnuk123

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Despite all the knowlegeable and very good advice given here considering you can get one for less than £15 that would seem the best option.
 
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