Problem with Video DVDs under XP

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Ok, so I googled this a bit and wasn't able to find anything. I don't use my DVD-RW drive very often. I normally use it to rip CDs, install software, or burn a disc. These all work fine. Yesterday I put in a video DVD (Ie, a normal DVD you would watch on TV), and it showed up as a blank disc in XP. I tried ejecting/reinserting a few times, but it always just showed up as blank. Anyone else seen this?

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by David Pienta posted on 12/13/2006 at 6:09 PM

I just got a brand new Dell. After 2 weeks, my DVDs would not play. I tried using Cineplayer that came with the machine. I then tried Windows Media Player and got an error about a possible copyright problem. So I called Dell and they said there was a bug with Codec that both Cineplayer used as well as WMP. They said a fix should be out in a week.

They said the temp fix was to roll your system clock back to Nov 1.

Comment 2 by Scott Stroz posted on 12/13/2006 at 6:17 PM

I was gonna suggest to make sure you have the correct codec for whatever software you were using to try and view the DVD.

Comment 3 by John Dowdell posted on 12/13/2006 at 6:28 PM

Another way to learn more would be to try a couple other different DVDs... could help show whether it's something with the one disc, or whether the drive's behavior has changed.


Comment 4 by Joe Mastroianni posted on 12/13/2006 at 6:46 PM

If you haven't yet, try playing it with VLC ( It's free and usually plays anything I can throw at it.

Comment 5 by Boyan Kostadinov posted on 12/13/2006 at 7:01 PM

I've seen this happen before. What usually works for me is removing and reinserting the disc a few times.

A couple of things you can try:
1. Try removing the DVD device from device manager, reboot and let windows reinstall it.
2. Run DVD Decrypter and point it to the disc in question, that will tell you if there is something on it.

Comment 6 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/13/2006 at 7:17 PM

Scott/Joe: I don't think it is a codec. If it was - I'd see the files but not be able to play it.

John: This DVD was used on a DVD player an hour before I tried it on the PC - but it is worth a shot.

Boyan: I'll give that a try.

Comment 7 by Damien McKenna posted on 12/13/2006 at 7:49 PM

Some possibilities:
* See if you can play another DVD movie disc in the drive.
* Search online to see if the specific DVD uses a new/different anti-copy technology.
* Try loading it on your Mac, see if the disc works there.
* See if there are any scratches on the disc.

Comment 8 by Brandon Ellis posted on 12/13/2006 at 8:06 PM

Sounds like some crappy DRM to protect the Movie Industry from your computer. ;)

I've seen this a number of times. I've have a mac and a pc under my desk. If a disc will not play on the pc, I can throw it in the mac and it will work every time.

Think its bad now? Wait till folks try watching dvds on Vista.

Comment 9 by Chris posted on 12/13/2006 at 8:56 PM


Can your DVD Player play DVD+R and DVD-R...I know some players can only do one or the other

Comment 10 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/13/2006 at 8:58 PM

So I tried removing as many codecs as possible - rebooted - still no go. Put it in my Mac and it played right away. I _really_ can't wait till I'm completely off PCs.

Comment 11 by Damien McKenna posted on 12/13/2006 at 8:59 PM

Chris, it was implied that this was a pressed (off-the-shelf) movie disc, which is not affected by the +/- issue.

Comment 12 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/13/2006 at 9:03 PM

Damien, yes, it is a off the shelf movie disc.

Comment 13 by Damien McKenna posted on 12/13/2006 at 9:12 PM

Ray, sometimes the lasers go out of alignment or loose their accuracy, have you tried playing other movies in that drive or tried that movie in another PC or Mac?

Comment 14 by rkm posted on 12/13/2006 at 9:25 PM

Those butterflys are just flaky like that, use a penguin and that will take care of most of the problems. ;)

Comment 15 by Joe Mastroianni posted on 12/13/2006 at 11:15 PM

I agree with Damien. Long ago I had an HP 2x CD writer. Apparently the laser was attached to the drive assembly by plastic clips. Eventually the laser fell out of alignment because the heat of the drive partially melted the clips. It could read but it couldn't write, then, eventually it died completely.

Comment 16 by Andy posted on 12/13/2006 at 11:57 PM

Try AnyDVD:

There is so much BS going on in Windows when it comes to playing DVDs. I have intermitten problems with some DVDs and not others. Turning this on usually takes care of everything, as long as it isn't a codec problem.

Comment 17 by Kevin posted on 12/14/2006 at 1:53 AM

Stop letting the kids play with the discs.

Try all the above , but definitely try another movie, especially one from you collection AND made around the same time as the failed movie.

Believe it or not sometimes certain discs are not playable on certain hardware. Oh almost forgot, on the packaging for the disk does it mention inbuilt player software. Some DVDs have this and that could be the issue.

Comment 18 by charlie griefer posted on 12/14/2006 at 2:03 AM

haven't seen a response to whether or not other DVDs play in the laptop (or ever have), i'm voting codec.

my winXP didn't come with codecs installed for media player to play DVDs.

i downloaded one from (i forget which...don't have my laptop with me to check...but i do remember it was $10 or $20).

no problems after that. well, except for i can't remember sh!t. but i mean no DVD playback problems after that :)

Comment 19 by Stephen Moretti posted on 12/14/2006 at 6:02 PM

I was pointed at this codec pack by a friend ages ago.

They get updated fairly regularly and contain copy of Windows Media Player Classic and a.n.other player that I forget the name of.

But anyway, they've always been good for me. That said Windows XP shouldn't be reporting a bought DVD as blank when its not.

Comment 20 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/14/2006 at 7:13 PM

I'm considering just picking up a new drive, making a copy, and then just formatting. I'd love to get rid of the 10 min bootup time. Of course, I'd need to find my Win CD and lord knows where that is.

Comment 21 by Joe Mastroianni posted on 12/14/2006 at 7:41 PM

Forget your XP CD! Go Vista!

Comment 22 by Robert Sewell posted on 12/15/2006 at 9:01 AM


Believe it or not, the very first comment above, from David, is probably your solution. Change the date on your PC to November, and your DVD will work fine. It worked on the Dell I have at work, and my home-built PC here at home, both of which run Win XP SP2. Doesn't matter if I use WMP or a third-party movie player, if the PC's date is December, it won't work.

Give it a try.

Comment 23 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/15/2006 at 9:06 AM

I'll give that a try actually. I'm out of the office tomorrow but will try it Monday.

Comment 24 by Jeff posted on 12/15/2006 at 4:27 PM

My problem is DVD-RW work fine. Regular DVD's and I've tried a few do work but run very slow. I've tried about everything I can possibly think of.

Comment 25 by Bill posted on 12/24/2006 at 2:22 AM

Yes i have the same problem. I changed the date back to October and it works fine. I don't know what the perm fix is.

Comment 26 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/24/2006 at 2:37 AM

Oh I forgot to mention. I forgot to change the date - but I tried a second DVD. This one played video, but not audio. I'll have to try the date thing.

Comment 27 by Adam posted on 12/26/2006 at 5:42 AM

We had the same problem and changed the date to October and now the DVDs play fine. Crazy, but it works!

Comment 28 by Jason posted on 1/1/2007 at 1:30 AM

same with me, changed the date to october and no problems...