Alexander: How to find a disappearing DVD drive

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 8, 2013 - 5:55 PM

Q: Ever since I played a vacation video on my PC’s DVD drive, I have been unable to copy additional document folders to my recordable and rewritable CDs. However, I can still use CDs that I recorded before playing the video.

Here’s what happens: When I right-click a folder in My Documents to “send,” I no longer get Drive E (the DVD drive) on the list of available drives. I also can’t copy folders to Drive E.

When I use a previously recorded CD, Drive E reappears on the My Computer menu, but it still can’t be used to record data on another disk. Meanwhile, my video DVDs still play on Drive E, but they don’t have audio anymore.

Joanne Smallen, Bloomington

A: There is a problem with the software that connects Windows to your DVD drive (or Drive E), but Microsoft offers an automated fix at tinyurl.com/3a4955j (click Run Now).

There are several possible causes of this disconnect between Windows and the DVD Drive, including a Windows upgrade, installing or uninstalling a program that records CDs or DVDs, or uninstalling Microsoft Digital Image (a discontinued Microsoft photo editing program).

If the automated software fix doesn’t work, you have two manual repair options:

Follow Microsoft’s step-by-step directions (see tinyurl.com/ya7q9b, Resolution Method 3) to fix the PC’s registry (where Windows stores its settings).

Follow the directions on the same website (Resolution Method 4) to uninstall and reinstall the software drivers for the DVD drive.

On a related note, you and other readers may want to check out a collection of Microsoft’s automated fixes for software problems (including those involving Windows, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Xbox, Windows Phone and Microsoft Office) that can be found at tinyurl.com/2dhemvg.

Several readers noted that I wasn’t very complete in my advice about how to forward an e-mail without including all the e-mail addresses it originally contained. I said that while an original e-mail can’t be altered when forwarded, that problem can be overcome by copying and pasting an e-mail’s contents into a new e-mail file, where they can be edited. I also suggested an unnecessary intermediary step of editing the contents in a word processing program.

I should have also suggested getting a new e-mail system that handles this process automatically; it sends every forwarded message by pasting the contents into a new e-mail that can be edited before pressing “send.”

Programs that automatically merge a forwarded message into a new e-mail include Microsoft’s Outlook, a program for PCs that can be connected to many different e-mail systems, and the webmail programs Google Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and phone number.

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