I have a Dell Dimension 9150 with a CD-RW drive and a DVD RW drive. both drives will read music and photo CDs but the DVD drive behaves almost as though there is no disc present when I insert a DVD The light on the drive pulses but nothing happens, no auto-run which happens with a CD of music or photos. If I go to My computer and click on the E drive it says please insert a disc.
In device manager the drive is called this HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GWA4164B
I've had the computer a few years now and it's only recently i've tried to play DVDs on it so I don't know if this has ever worked
One more bit of info which may or may not help. The DVDs will play happily on the DVD player attached to the TV and DVDs recorded and finalised on the DVD player will play on other computers but not this one.
I have Windows Media player 11, Real Player and Windows Media Centre none of which recognise a DVD in the drive. So i think i do have DVD player software. However the drive just sits there light flashing slowly when a DVD is in but with a CD the light goes out and i get a window up to choose which of a whole raft of programmes i want to use to play the CD. Now playing with a rapidly flashing light.
frankview1 - I have almost the exact same problem as yourself. My computer will allow me to save (burn) data to CDs, play Audio CDs (both books and records) but will not allow me to access DVDs. As I said similar to yourself I have my computer for a while and whenever I play an Audio CD it automatiocally goes into Windows Media Player but on Sunday I tried for the first time to put a DVD into the PC as I wanted to print off a PDF Document which was on a shop bought DVD (Saturday) but it did not recognise a DVD in the Base Unit. My device manager is the same as yours (HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GWA4164B). I have done a search this morning (Wednesday) on google which is where I obtained this thread. It appears from the google search that a number of people have this problem but so far no one has come up with a definitive answer. Let's hope we get one soon.
I've just checked my paperwork and the PC is still under it's 3 year at home warranty from Dell. So after a happy 2 hours plus on the phone to a very nice man in India, thankfully not all at my expense, they have agreed that there is a problem with the drive which is what I tried to tell them at the outset. We tried all sorts of things including downloading new firmware which actually turned out to be older than what was already there before he admitted it needed replacing.
They are now arranging to replace the drive under the guarantee. He had the cheek to ask me if I was happy to do it myself!!!! I thought an at home warranty meant they came here not DIY.
So you appear to have resolved the problem. If indeed you have DVD play software and still no result then it is likely the DVD laser or associated firmware has failed. The whole drive would then need replacement.