Missing CD/DVD Drive NOT fixed by deleting upper/lower filters from Registry--please help me!


  •  Good Evening.   My CD/DCD  drive has been missing since Spring of last year.  I do not use it that much, so I do not remember exactly when it vanished, but it is risky not to have it in case (as happened to me last week) my laptop connect card software (that allows me to get online) goes down and I need to reinstall it using the CD or other similar situations. 

    I am running XP Pro SP3 v. 3300 on a Sony VAIO notebook model model VGN SZ 240.  I installed SP3 on 3/19/2008.  So, this problem started after installing SP3.  I seem to have the same problem that others who have posted here describe, except that it does not get resolved by using the MS Registry edit procedure for deleting the upper and lower filters.  I have no error messages, no flags in the Device Manager, and in fact there is not even any reference to my CD/DVD drive in the Device Manager or the drives list in My Computer or in System information.  In the Registry, the upper and lower filter files have now been deleted (the .bak files are also missing, but I did not delete them).

    When I put a disk in the CD/DVD drive in my notebook, the yellow LED light on the drive door flashes for about five seconds.  After maybe 4 seconds of the light flashing, I can hear the drive start to spin in the normal fashion.  Then, after another second or so, the light goes off entirely and the spinning stops.

    I am using a Sony VAIO notebook, .  I tried calling Sony but was not successful in fixing the problem.  I asked Sony to send me the original drivers, but Sony told me that they did not have any drivers available for this drive.  They had no way of helping me--they were not even aware of the recommended MS fix which seems to help most people with this problem.

    I have searched the internet but I can't find any solutions except for the MS upper/lower filter procedure.  I have also removed DVGate and Click to DVD.  I received some error messages in the Add/Remove Programs app for both of these, so I had to delete the folders and contents manually from Explorer.  I know this is a bad idea, but I must be getting frustrated or desperate to solve this problem.

    There are no viruses or performance issues with my notebook, no driver confilcts, and it only has this one problem.  I perform regular maintenace and keep all programs updated.

    Do you have any suggestions that might possibly help me to resolve this challenging dilemma?  I would be sooo grateful if I could restore access to my CD/DVD drive.
    Saturday, February 14, 2009 12:30 AM

All replies

  • XP SP3 v3300 was only a beta-test version, and is now obsolete and unsupportable.

    Please uninstall XP SP3(v3300).

    If you have (or had) any Roxio or Sonic CD/DVD burning software, then install the updater available from

    Review Steps to take before you install Windows XP Service Pack 3 to see if any special steps apply to you.

    Ensure all anti-virus and anti-malware applications are either disabled or uinstalled.

    Now apply the proper version of XP SP3.

    Report back with news of your CD/DVD drive.
    Robin Walker
    Saturday, February 14, 2009 5:45 PM
  • Robin, I just checked and it is v.3311 (not 3300) of SP 3 that I have installed.  Please let me know if you think I should uninstall it and reinstall SP3.  In the meantime, I am going to download the Roxio files as I do have that (and other similar) software that came pre-intsalled on my notebook.


    Monday, February 16, 2009 12:38 AM
  • v.3311 was a beta-test-only version of SP3: it is now obsolete and unsupportable.  The public release version of SP3 was v.5512.  You should uninstall the beta-test version and install the proper version.
    Robin Walker
    Monday, February 16, 2009 10:17 AM
  • Robin, the plot thickens . . . .  In attempting to uninstall Windows XP Service Pack 3, from the Add/Remove Programs app, I receive this message:  "an error occurred while trying to remove Windows XP Service Pack 3.  It may have already been uninstalled."

    When using "Method 2: Use the hidden $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder" I get a different error: 

    "c:\windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst refers to a location that is unavailable.  It could be on a hard drive on this computer, or on a network.  Check to make sure that the disk is properly inserted, or that you are connected to the Internet or your network, and try again.  If it still cannot be located, the information might have been moved to a different location."

    How is this possible?  I use Windows Update often and regularly.  Wouldn't Update have alerted me if SP3 was not installed?

    I have done a search for the uninstall file on my hard drive and $NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst is not present.  I did find two similar folders:  



    Can you please tell me what I should do to uninstall SP3?  In my System Information, it indicates that I have XP SP 3 (v. 3311). 

    Most gratefully,


    Monday, February 16, 2009 1:40 PM
  • Robin, there are 290 instances of spuninst.exe on my hard drive, 287 0f which are in various subfolders in c:\windows.  Is this normal?  I am beginning to think that there must have been a problem with my sp3 installation.  I checked my update history and the SP3 that I installed was done by automatic updates on March 14, 2008, and the info is as follows:

    XP Service Pack 3 (32-bit x86) Release Candidate 2
    Windows XP SP3 Release Candidate 2 is a cumulative service pack that includes all previously released updates for Windows XP, including security updates, out-of-band releases, and hotfixes. It contains a small number of new updates, but should not significantly change the Windows XP experience. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.
    How to Uninstall
    This software update can be removed via Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel.
    Get help and support
    Print | Close
    I hope I am not going to have to run 287 uninstall programs to get rid of this!

    Is there a better solution?

    Thanks for your help,

    Monday, February 16, 2009 2:16 PM
  • Nile,

    A certain amount depends on how this version of XP SP3 got installed, and what has happened to it afterwards.

    Was the installation of XP3 done by running the beta-SP3 updater on a pre-existing installation of XP SP2 or SP1, or was it done by installing XP SP3 from an XP installation CD-ROM on which beta-SP3 had been previously integrated (slip-streamed)?

    Has this PC ever had a so-called cleaning application run on it which deletes the back-up folders and files needed for uninstallation?

    You will only be able to uninstall the beta SP3 if:
    - the beta SP3 was installed as an update to an existing SP2 or SP1; and
    - a "cleaner" has NOT deleted the backup files.

    If either of those conditions fails, then you probably need to make a fresh XP installation, using the procedures of: "How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP", using:
    - either an XP installation CD-ROM with XP3 v.5512 already slip-streamed;
    - or an XP installation CD-ROM with SP1/SP2 already integrated, followed by application of the SP3 updater.
    Robin Walker
    Monday, February 16, 2009 2:40 PM
  • Dear Robin,

    The SP3 that I have was installed automatically by the Windows Update app on March 14, 2008.  I had no idea that it was a beta version.  I simply followed the procedure for installing the updates recommended by the Windows Update service, which I have configured to download critical updates automatically.  Although I have participated in a MS beta testing program in the past, it was quite some time ago.  I am very surprised to learn that I installed a beat version of SP3.

    I already had SP1 and 2 installed, but I do not recollect whether I installed these through Windows Update, or whether they came pre-installed when I purchased this notebook in early-2006.

    Other than using the MS maintenace program called disk cleanup, which does clean out the Temp folders, I have never used any cleaning application.

    But, obviously there must be some other problem because, even though both of the conditions you specified were met, it is impossible for me to uninstall my sp3. 

    And why do I have so many versions of spuninst.exe (see my last message before this one). 

    There is no way I can reinstall any program from a CD because my CD drive has disappeared altogether.

    Can I reinstall the service pack without uninstalling the beta version?  Would this resolve the issues I am having?

    Thanks for your help,

    Monday, February 16, 2009 7:20 PM
  • OK, I found the program c:\windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst.  It was on my removable back-up  drive.  I ran this program and it completed without any errors.  After rebooting, I confirmed that I am now running Windows XP professional Service Pack 2.

    Then I checked for the CD/DVD drive.  It is still not listed in My Computer and it is not listed in the Device Manager. 

    I am now going to install SP 3 using the Windows Update app.  So, hopefully the SP version issue will soon be reolved.  But, I feel less condient that the original problem, the missing CD/DVD drive, will be resolved.

    I will let you know.

    Update:  SP 3 reinstalled without problem.  Confirmed now running:
    Microsoft Windows XP
    Version 2002
    Service Pack 3

    CD/DVD Drive not listed anywhere.  It is stil completely missing.
    Monday, February 16, 2009 8:25 PM
  • Nile, I suggest that you check whether there is a hardware problem with the drive or the cable to the drive.  Is the cable properly connected to the IDE socket on the motherboard?  Things like that.
    Robin Walker
    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 11:12 AM
  • Robin,
    It is an internal drive in a notebook computer.  When I place a CD in this drive, he LED light flashes and I can hear the disk start to spin for a few seconds, and then it stops.  I thought this indicates that the drive is working (i.e., no cable problems).  If you still think this is an issue which needs to be explored, can you recommend an article which explains the procedure?



    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 6:00 PM