CD or DVD Drive Not Recognized As Writable

January 9, 2009

in Windows

by David Hakala

It’s frustrating to get an error message when you try to burn files to a new, blank CD or DVD disc: “There is no disc in the drive. Please insert a writable CD into drive.” You know your drive writes and you know the disc is good. Why Windows doesn’t “get it” sometimes is a mystery. But the fix is here.

The problem is mistaken identity. When your writable drive was installed, Windows created a registry entry noting, “This drive is writable.” Or maybe it didn’t, or the entry got corrupted somehow, or Windows is misreading the entry. In any case, you need to edit that entry so Windows recognizes your drive as writable. Here is how to do it:

Back up the relevant part of your registry so you can restore it things go badly. To partially back up the registry:

(Note: “Enter…” means “type the following” and then hit the Enter key)

Click Start then Run and Enter regedit
Navigate to the following registry folder:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CD Burning\Drives

On the File menu, click Export
Enter a file name and save the file to a place you will remember

If you need to restore the original settings, just double-click on the backup file.

Drive Type

Drive Type

You are still in the Drives folder. In the contents window on the right will be one or more Volume{GUID} folders, where GUID is a 32-character identifier that doesn’t identify which volume is your writable drive. If you have more than one, just change them all. It can’t hurt.

Click on a Volume{GUID} folder to open it
In the contents window double-click the Drive Type entry
In the Value Data box enter the number 2 for “recordable device”
Click OK and close the registry editor

Did it work? You can find out easily:

Click Start then My Computer
Right-click the writable drive and select Properties
If the Recording tab is displayed, Windows recognizes the drive as writable

If the Recording tab is not displayed when Drive Type is set to 2, try this totally illogical alternative: Set the Drive Type to 3. Officially, that’s supposed to mean the drive is a standard, non-writable CD drive. But it makes Windows recognize my writable CD/DVD drive as writable. Your results may vary.

David Hakala has written technology tutorials since 1988, in addition to tech journalism, profitable content, documentation, and marketing collateral.


Amanda K. 03.10.09 at 7:51 pm

I followed all of these steps and still it is not working. I even tried changing 2 to a 3 and then the tab for recording disappeared completely. What am I doing wrong???

Lee McClane 04.11.09 at 2:28 pm

Yeah i did all that, but it still dosent work.

The recording tab has now apperared, and I have ticked the “Enable CD recording on this device” box.

But it still dosent work and asks the same question: “Please insert a writable CD”

guest 09.04.11 at 1:13 pm

thank you!!, iv been trying to solve this problem for quite a while

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