See if any of the links on this Google webpage are of any help click here I haven't tried any of them because my domestic dvd players and recorders are multi-region. You can obtain a decent multi-region dvd player for £40 click here
All PC DVD-ROM drives come with five changes. Most are already locked on region 2 (Europe) when you purchase them so there is usually just the 4 changes left. DVD Genie was supposed to overcome this by using a software application to overcome this problem. I am extremely surprised if Windows Media Player will let you do this - knowing how keen MS are in sticking to the rules for everything.
Another Google page with info click here Be wary of firmware updates to make your drive region free. Many people trying this have ended up with a non working drive. If you are that desparate to keep on changing regions consider installing another DVD-rom (or an external drive). Keep one on region 2 and the other on region 1. That should satisfy your needs without having to make changes.
Making Your Software DVD Player Region-Free - click here.
An extract from the above: "Making your software DVD player region free is actually quite easy. While strictly speaking, most of the tools below (except for DVD Region Killer and DVD Region-Free) aren't really making your software DVD player region free, but rather, giving you the ability to change the region settings of these players without decreasing the region-change counter, effectively allowing to change the region settings of the software DVD player for an unlimited number of times. Please note that your DVD-ROM drive will need to be region-free before any of the tools below will work." Good luck, G
Thanks for your advise guys, i will check the serial number and get back to you. Im a little worried about a firmware update because the laptop was a gift and i dont want it ruined. is there a way of copying the film to memory before watching it or wont the drive understand the disk unless the region is changed.