CD-ROM drive speeds.

edited July 2017 in Hardware
My Compaq has one 4x drive, and one 32x (CD-RW)drive.

The 32x drive reads any CD's I put in it fine, however the 4x only reads audio CD's or CD's which are very old. I suspect this is due to the speed of the drive, however I have never heard of this happening to anyone before, never heard needing to care about drive speeds (at least when it comes to reading) CD's.

Could something else be the issue, or is my hunch right?

I googled this issue, and I got nothing which mentioned drive speeds being important for reading data.


  • Welcome to the wonderful world of flaky CD drives. As they get old they can become picky about what they want to read. Somewhere I have a Yamaha 8x SCSI CD drive that refuses to read anything except one specific crufty CD-R of Windows 2000, in which case it is as happy as the day it came off the assembly line. It is a common mode of failure for newer DVD drives to have only one of the components CD, CD-R, or DVD to fail - one type will not be usable, but all others will work fine. The firmware in some older drives with newer disks, or newer drives with older disks will crap themselves trying to ID a disk because it sees "invalid" data in the media descriptor. I have some CD-Rs written with a Windows 3.1 CD burner, and some newer drives fail to spin up with these disks. There is nothing physically wrong with them, the CD burner just put an invalid value somewhere that older drives were OK with. Dump an ISO with a drive that will read it, write it to a new CD-R and all is fine (and an MDF file would probably have copied the garbage).

    So, your drive is probably half dead, or newer CDs have something on them that confuses it.

    The nice thing about standard form CD drives (not laptop drives), is if it is an IDE drive you should be able to replace it with any later IDE CD/DVD drive or an SATA one with a converter. Just note SATA drives don't support analog audio out - needed for some DOS games.
  • I think it has to do with newer CD's.

    However, my copy of "Antichrist Superstar" plays great on it, and even though that came out in 1996, my copy was obviously burnt, packaged, and shipped in far more recent years, but then again, it is an audio CD, so it may be different.

    I'll try a newer CD and see what happens, probably not gonna read it again, but science!


    Right now the 4x drive is connected via the analog cable to my soundblaster 16 therefore it can do analog audio. So I mainly use it when playing music, it works with 90's era CD's as my legitimate copy of Microsoft Office '97 my parents bought back in the day, installed perfectly fine from the drive.

    Probably just doesn't like newer CDs.

    Wow, I didn't actually have to do anything physical to figure that out... :P
  • Are you trying to use CD-R / CD-RW discs? As SomeGuy said, these drives can be flaky when comes to burned discs. Other times older drives just weren't and aren't capable of reading R/RW discs, especially if the CD-R hasn't been 'closed.' CD-RWs are especially notorious. Again, older drives cannot (and likely never could) read them, which again, I believe, comes down to the fact that the RW discs aren't closed at the end of the burn process.
  • Icon said:
    " Again, older drives cannot (and likely never could) read them, which again, I believe, comes down to the fact that the RW discs aren't closed at the end of the burn process."

    CD-RWs can be closed by finalizing, just like CD-Rs.
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