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Issue #759: February 6-12, 2022

Q:  My computer is no longer recognizing my DVD drive.  It has a built-in DVD drive and I also tried to connect an external drive. It recognizes neither one when I use Windows Explorer to search for the drive.

 When I start the computer, I get a message from Windows Explorer in the bottom right. “You have files waiting to be burned to disk. To view the files, click this balloon.”

 When I click the balloon, I get a Windows Explorer screen that shows the DVD RW Drive (D:) in the left column. It shows “Doc Smith Opthmology Records” as a file under this drive This is the only time/way that the DVD drive is listed.

 The last time I remember using the DVD drive was to copy a DVD given to me by Doc Smith. It seems to me that this copy operation is somehow hung up in the system and preventing anything else from happening.

 I need to load 2021 Turbo Tax on the computer but am unable to do so.

 – George C.
Shalimar, Florida

A: Well, I think I can make your day a little brighter, George, along with anyone else who is having a similar problem with their PC.

First of all, and most importantly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with your computer. That makes this a tough problem to fix, because obviously you are experiencing anomalous behavior, so at this point my job becomes one of explaining that behavior, and convincing you that it’s not actually a problem.  I think I can do that.

Certain PCs (mine included – I tested it) simply do not show a drive letter for an empty drive.  That includes systems with media readers with no chip inserted as well as CD/DVD drives without a disc in them.  The chances are that if you put a disc in your drive, the drive will appear in your list of drives.  Go ahead – I’ll wait.

By the way, you offered your own proof that the drive, or drives is/are working by talking about the files waiting to be written to disc.  I’ve had the same thing happen to me both when writing files to a CD, and when copying a disc.  The problem usually stems from an unanswered prompt near the end of the process.  When the process finishes writing to the drive, it might ask if you want to make another copy.  If, instead of clicking “No” you just close the window, the pending write remains.  Windows doesn’t bug you constantly about it, but at certain appropriate times (such as after a boot) it reminds you that work remains to be done.  This happens in the form of the “There are files waiting to be burned to disc” prompt that you mentioned.

This really is a problem, but one that is easily fixed if you’ve been able to get the computer to display a drive.  So, as I mentioned earlier you might need to put a disc in the drive to get it to show up in Explorer. 

In File Explorer’s left-hand navigation bar, click on “This PC” to display a summary of the computer.  In the main part of the window are various drop-down groups that may or may not be visible depending on your system configuration.  The one you’re interested in should always be present, and it’s called “Devices and drives”.  Find your CD/DVD drive among the devices and right-click it.  From the context menu, select “Delete temporary files” and Doc Smith’s files shouldn’t bother you anymore.  You should also be able to insert your TurboTax disc and move on.  Good luck, and happy taxes, er, computing!

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