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Combo 52x Drive cannot read non-video DVDs

I was at my friends house today and I wanted to install Company of Heroes on his computer (his house has 4). I have a HP Pavilion ZD8000, but I can't play Company of Heroes for long as it begins to overheat and the safety mechanism shuts down my notebook PC before any real damage is done. But anyway, I get ot his house and put in the DVD, and to my surprise nothing happened.

I know he had WoW installed and thought it was the DVD version, but he told me his brothers bought the 4 CD version since his Combo Drive cannot play DVDs. I did some research and installed WinDVD on his computer which allowed it to play video DVDs, but blank DVDs/game DVDs/application DVDs still cannot be read.

The problem is that both of his main computers (the ones I'm allowed to touch) have identical Combo drives. And worst yet, there is no brand or anything of the sort on the front panel of the blasted thing!

On the left side is the word "Combo 52x" in black letters with DVDROM in the middle (no color, just engraved). There are two buttons on the lower right side (>> and Eject). There is a headphone jack and a green LED light. The front panel itself is white/baige.

I checked the specs via Device Manager and traced it to BTC. Good, right? Wrong, I checked the pictures of the BTC Combo drives (using the ID from the Device Manager) and they look nothing alike. The BTC Combo drives have 4-in-1 Media Card readers which my friend's doesn't.

I asked him who built his computers and he said either his aunt of cousin and they probably don't know the brand either. This is extremely frustrating. Any suggestions? Ideas? Universal drivers? Thanks.
You can check they offer free drivers for all sorts of hardware. If you can't find it here then i suggest your friend buy a DVD-Rom, they're pretty cheap nowadays so it shouldn't be too hard. By the way you need an account to download drivers. I hope i have helped.
RT Cunningham
Some combo drives can play DVD-R and some can play DVD+R and some can play both. Chances are, the drive uses the opposite from ones you have. The video DVD's are different and usually work with both formats.

If this is the case, changing or updating drivers won't help.
To identify the drive, pop open the case, and remove the drive. There will be a sticker somewhere on the combo drive's case with the manufacturer and a model number on it.

The faceplate may have even been changed by the OEM if it is a brand name box like hp, dell etc. So device manager may still be correct.
Also, if it is an OEM box, check the manufacturer's site for the specs if the drive came with the pc

Check for firmware updates for the drive. Firmware updates are easily installed on most DVD drives, and usually improve DVD media compatibility
Maybe you should try theses 3 steps :
1\ check the compatibility of your drive (DVD-R,+R ... etc) ... i think there are severals softs that could check that ! maybe with nero or Alcohol ...
2\ Clean the lens !
3\ [Advanced !]flash the firmware of your DVD with a modified FW ... some websites offers these kind of FW ...but if you make it wrong, you can really damage your player ... you're warned!
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