Missing Optical Drive corrected by Registry Edit

Caution! This troubleshooting method deals with making alterations to your computer's registry. Making registry changes has a risk of making your system inoperable. Please do not attempt this if you are not experienced with troubleshooting computers.

Symptom: CD, DVD, or other Optical Drive does not appear under My Computer (Windows XP) or Computer (Windows Vista, 7, and 8) AND the drive does appear in device manager. If not, check the physical cable connections to the drive and verify it is receiving power and can be detected in the computer BIOS Setup.

You must use an account with Administrator privileges to make any changes. Be sure to back up the registry before making any changes. Having this backup will allow you to restore the registry to before the changes were made if errors occur. Creating a system restore point is the recommended method to do this.

To check for an "UpperFilters" or "LowerFilters" entry in your registry, do the following:

  1. Open the registry editor:

  2. For Windows XP:
    • Click on Start, Run
    • Type regedit, and then press enter.

    For Windows Vista/7:
    • Click on Start
    • Click in search box, type regedit and then press enter.

    For Windows 8:
    • Go to start screen
    • Type regedit
    • Select Apps under search bar if it is not already selected
    • Click on the regedit icon.

    To make a back up of your entire system Registry, do the following:
    • Close all entries and select Computer.
    • From the File menu, select Export.
    • Enter a name (and location) for the registry file and click Save.

  3. To locate and remove filters (All versions of Windows):

  4. Expand the following in order:
      Select {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} from the list.

  5. In the right pane you will see a list of registry keys. If you see "UpperFilters" and/or "LowerFilters" (some systems will not have both). Right click on each of the "filter" entries and select delete. Once this is completed, close out regedit.
  6. Uninstall the optical drive in Device Manager. To do this:

    • Right click on My Computer/Computer, and select Manage.
      For Vista/7/8: If you receive a prompt requesting permission to open computer management, select yes.
    • When the computer management windows comes up, select Device Manager in the left pane.
    • Expand "DVD/CD-ROM Drives".
    • Right click on the drive you are troubleshooting and select delete. If a confirmation prompt appears select yes.

  7. Reinstall the optical drive in Device Manager. While still in Device Manager, do the following:
    • Click on the action menu and select "Scan for hardware changes."
      Windows should then detect the deleted CD/DVD drive and automatically reinstall the software drivers for the device.
    • Close the Computer Management screen and open My Computer/Computer. Verify that the drive is showing up correctly, or showing up at all, in the case that it wasn't there to begin with.
    • Test with a disk to ensure functionality.

At this point if the drive still does not show up or is still malfunctioning, you should consult a professional technician as there may be other problems with the system or the drive preventing proper function.

You can access Windows Device Manager by several methods.
  • Right click on Computer from within the Windows Start Menu and select Manage (described above)
  • When viewing the Control Panel as large or Small Icons, double click on Device Manager.
  • Right click on Computer and select Properties; look for Device Manager in the navigation bar.
  • Under XP, right click on Computer and select Properties; select the Hardware tab and click Device Manager

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