CD or DVD disk not recognized by
Sometimes I've had problems installing games or programs that use multiple
installation disks. For example, when the program prompts for the second
CD disk, I insert it and click OK. Out of the blue, a warning message
appears saying something like "You didn't put in the right disk, Dummy!!! Try
again!" Sometimes removing the disk and reinserting it works.
Sometimes if the disk is dirty giving it a wipe with gentle cleaner such as
eyeglass cleaner will work.
(Note: There is a short discussion of AutoPlay and Auto Insert
Notification at the end of this article. These two features, included in
Windows 95 and up, let Explorer know when a new disk is inserted in your CD or
DVD drive... or not! There is a repair further down this page.)
This problem is most frequent with PC game
Honestly, I install (and often uninstall) dozens of programs a year and I
have rarely had a CD or DVD disk problem... except with games!
From extensive reading, the common thread is copy-protection schemes can, on
some computers, have the unintended consequence of preventing proper
Sometimes no simple solution works!
After lots of searching online and
many trials and errors, I have found two solutions that seems to work almost all
the time!! Best of all, neither requires a registry change.
Solution 1: Restart Windows Explorer To Recognize A
Basically, you "reboot" Windows Explorer so it "forgets" what the last disk
was so you can change disks. This is done within Windows Task Manager.
Because you are not making registry changes, there should be no negative impact
on your computer if this does not work. However, you might notice that,
upon restarting Windows Explorer, some icons are temporarily missing from the
System Tray. These programs are most likely still running in the
background. A full reboot will restore them.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT CANCEL THE
OR GAME INSTALLATION!! If you do you'll lose everything!!
1)Remove all disks from all drives.
2) Click good old Control-Alt-Delete to bring up Windows Task Manager
3) Click on the PROCESSES tab and find EXPLORER.EXE. Click once to
highlight it and then click END PROCESS at the bottom. This will clear all
the information cached from your disk drives but will leave all your
installation files (and everything else) alone.
4) You must restart EXPLORER to continue the installation. To do this, click
on FILE, then NEW TASK.
5) In the little window that appears, type EXPLORER.EXE and click OK.
Your taskbar will reappear and now the disk drive will (or should... we're
talking Windows here!) recognize the new disk when you insert it.
You might have to do this for each disk or just one or two. You might
also have to redo this procedure more than once for it to work.
SOLUTION 2: COPY THE DISK(S) TO YOUR HARD DRIVE
This takes longer, depending on your computer's speed, but is more effective
because you are eliminating the need for disk changing while installing the
As I said, games are copy-protected to prevent you from running them without
having the original disk. This is supposed to prevent more than one person
from using the same game on multiple computers. However, there is no
reason why you can't install from your hard drive. After installation, you
will need to insert one of the disks into the drive so the copy protection will
allow you to play. This is typically the first or the last disk.
Copying the disks is simple. Just open Windows Explorer and create
folders somewhere on your hard drive, wherever convenient. Label them
whatever... Disk 1, Disk 2, etc. Insert the game disks, one by one, in
your drive. Once windows recognizes the disk (you will not have a copy
protection problem as long as you don't start the installation.), simply copy
all files from the CD (or DVD) to the appropriate new folder. (If the
game's installation program starts when the disk is inserted, cancel it before
starting to copy.)
Once the copying is complete, navigate to the first disk folder and click
SETUP.EXE or AUTORUN.EXE to start the installation. When prompted to
insert the next disk, simply navigate to the next folder (disk 2), etc., till
the installation is complete.
At the end of the installation, you will need to insert a disk into the drive
to run the game OR to finish the installation.
Related Problems with Autoplay and Auto Insert
Auto Insert Notification is a behind-the-scenes process that lets
Windows Explorer know you have put a new disk in your CD or DVD drive.
Unlike Windows 95 and 98, Windows XP does not have user control over Auto Insert
Notification... it is always on and that's it! Of course, that assumes
that it always works, which YOU know it doesn't or you wouldn't be here!
In XP, you do have control over AutoPlay... the "feature" that not
only lets your machine know what is in the CD or DVD but allows you to decide
what happens depending on the file type on the disk... run it, play it, show the
files or just SHUT UP!!
Unfortunately, the settings can get mucked up, making your drives ornery and
insensitive. Rather than fight with them, the easiest thing is to use the
Microsoft Autoplay Repair Wizard. It doesn't appear to reset
everything to a virgin state... it just makes sure that the existing settings