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A user came to me with a CD containing 24 PDFs, complaining that he couldn't read the disk on his computer. I was able to read the disk with no problem on my PC. I went to his desk, put the CD in his Dell Latitude D610, fired up Windows (XP) Explorer, and clicked on the drive. Windows Explorer froze up -- clicking on his C and D partitions had no effect, and screen redrawing wasn't happening. I waited a few minutes, then shut down and re-started his PC.

I tried a second CD, and had the same problem. I suspected a bad DVD/CD ROM drive, so brought his laptop back to my desk and booted a Knoppix CD with no problems. I rebooted into Windows, went to look at the Knoppix CD in Windows, and Windows Explorer froze up. On my other computer, I Googled for an answer, and didn't come up with anything. The user told me he last used the CD drive several months ago with no problems. Our company pushed out the Windows Autorun patch recently (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/967715), but no other users have encountered this issue.

I went back to the user's laptop, and it was now showing the contents of the CD; Explorer was no longer locked up. It took about 8 minutes to display the contents of the disk. Surprised, I ejected the Knoppix disk and inserted a disk full of MP3 files. Windows Explorer locked up like before, and after watching it for 12 minutes, the system finally displayed the contents of the disk.

Any ideas what might be causing this huge delay, or better, even how to remedy it?

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3 Answers 3

Just a thought, but is there a virus scanner intsalled that might be grabbing the disk when you put it in?

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You might use process explorer to watch the stack in windows explorer to see what function the system is trying to accomplish when this happens. If you're system is locking up I would first set windows to open in separate processes (tools --> folder options --> view), then I would go into process explorer and set that instance of windows explorer to a low priority. Then make sure process explorer is set to stay on top. Go to the properties of that process and bring up the stack. Then insert the CD. Hopefully process explorer will show the function before it freezes.

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The disks being read sound like largely burnt disks, so the issue might stem from a bad burner. The error correction in the drive in question could be off, exacerbating the problem on this one system, while the others show no errors.

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Nope - discs were burned from three different computers, and I also swapped out his drive for another, with the same result. –  TravisL Jun 12 '09 at 17:56

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