When your CD or DVD (disc) drive starts giving you problems, your first thought may be to replace it or take it to the repair shop, but a good cleaning may be all it needs. Below are three methods for a clean DVD drive.
The easiest method is the least effective. The hardest method is the most effective. Since the hardest method takes some time to do, I recommend that you start with the easiest method. If it solves your problems, congratulations. If not, try the next method.
The Cleaner Disc method – this, the easiest method, uses a special cleaner disc which can be purchased in computer stores. The disc usually comes with a little bottle of cleaner solution. Apply a few drops of the solution to the disc and insert it in the disc drawer (be sure to read and follow the instructions that come with the cleaner disc). The drive will turn the disc and clean the lens. Unfortunately, this only works adequately about half the time.
The Cleaning Stick method – this is what I do in desperation when the cleaner disc does not work and I don’t want to disassemble the drive. Since all that is needed (at least in my mind this is true) is a little more pressure applied to the lens, I start out in search of a thin, flexible stick of some type which is at least six inches long.
It should not have sharp or rough edges that would scratch the lens. Next, get a soft, thin cloth and put water or rubbing alcohol in the middle of it. Place one end of the stick under the wet part of the cloth and slide it into the opened disc drawer. The goal is to rub the wet cloth on the lens to clean it. Do not apply so much pressure that you will scratch and ruin the lens. Also try blowing into the disc drive to remove any dirt that may have accommulated in it. If you do not succeed at this, proceed to the next method.
The Disassembly method – this method should work but it requires you to disassemble the drive. So if you are not comfortable with taking the drive apart, please take it to a computer repair shop and let them do it.
Take the cover off your computer, unplug the cords from the back of the disc drive, remove any screws holding it in, and slide it out (you may need to remove the face plate on the end of the drawer to get the drive out). Remove the screws in the drive housing and take the cover off. The bottom side of the drive is a circuit board, so if that is what you see when you take the cover off, figure out how to access the other side.
On the correct side, you should see a lens that runs on a track (there is no harm in moving the lens along the track but do not touch the lens itself). Use a wet, soft cloth to clean the lens.
Sometimes a disc drive malfunctions because there is too much dust or debris in it, so be sure to clean out the inside with either compressed air, a soft cloth, or a cotton swab. Reassemble the disc drive, put it back in the computer case, and cross your fingers. Hopefully, it will work when you turn on the computer.
If these methods work, you just saved yourself some money. If not, you needed a better disc drive anyway.