Optical Media Trouble


Today’s Question: I have discs I archived photos on years ago using Roxio Easy CD & DVD Creator 6. I recently attempted to copy some of these photos to my computer using Adobe Lightroom only to find I am not able to since my PC using Windows 10 does not apparently recognize the discs. Is there any way I can safely read and copy the files?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There seems to be a somewhat widespread issue related to Windows 10 not recognizing CD and DVD discs. In the short term I would suggest trying to access the discs on a computer with an older version of Windows (or a computer running the Macintosh operating system).

More Detail: A relatively large number of users have reported difficulty reading CD and DVD media with Windows 10. It seems there are some unresolved issues with certain combinations of hardware and software as it relates to optical media in Windows 10. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is a possibility that the discs themselves have become damaged.

The first thing I would do is to attempt to copy the files from the discs using another computer. I would use either a computer running the Macintosh operating system or an older version of the Windows operating system in order to work around the apparent issues with Windows 10.

If you aren’t able to get access the files on the discs using a different computer and operating system, I would examine the physical condition of the discs. If the bottom of the disc is scratched or otherwise damaged, that can prevent the disc from being read or cause corruption issues for files read from the media. There are methods for cleaning the discs with a mild abrasive in order to smooth out the bottom side of the disc, which is where the actual data is read.

It is also possible that if these are older discs that the reflective layer or the dye layer that actually records data have started to degrade. If that is the case, the discs are likely not going to be readable by any drive. Even with the media that employed a gold reflective layer, the data won’t last forever as there are other elements (the dye layer and the acetate layers, for example) that can degrade over time, especially if not stored under optimal environmental conditions.

HP has actually put together a rather good troubleshooting guide that addresses many of the more common potential causes of a Windows computer not being able to read from a CD/DVD drive, so you also might explore some of the potential solutions listed on their website here: