Upgrade firmware – CD / DVD / Blu-ray drive / writer

Upgrade firmware of a CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive/writer

Most CD/DVD/Blu-ray drives/writers have upgradable operating software usually called firmware stored in flash ROM (read-only memory) inside the drive itself.  If you upgrade firmware to the latest version you can often solve problems such as the inability to read certain kinds of discs, or errors when burning CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs.

Take great care when flashing/installing firmware – flashing/installing the wrong file (designed for another product) can kill a CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive.

Find out the exact make/model of the drive

To upgrade firmware, you need to find out the exact model name and manufacturer of the drive. Right-click with the mouse pointer on My Computer (XP) or Computer (Vista/7/8.1/10) and click Properties. Open the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button. Click the + beside DVD/CD-ROM drives to show the drives that are installed.

The model name should be displayed as the title. My MSI M662 laptop PC shows Philips DVD-RAM SDVD8821, so it is made by Philips. If the manufacturer is not apparent, Googling the model number should provide that information. If the Device Manager doesn’t provide the make/model, the free Belarc Advisor from belarc.com lists all of a PC’s hardware and software, including software licenses.

The best source for firmware is the drive manufacturer’s website

When you know the manufacturer and model number, you need to find the firmware update. The best source is the drive manufacturer’s website. Philips only sells drives to PC manufacturers not to the market, so I have to get updates from the PC manufacturer’s website, which is MSI in my case.

Download the firmware update file. Most of the time, the download is a small file with an .exe extension that you click on to install. When you open it, it should present a simple user interface. If the update is contained in a zip file (a file with a .zip extension), it is very important that you unzip every file to a folder (preferably created to contain them) before running the update or it may fail.

If a firmware update fails the optical drive can be rendered useless

If a firmware update fails the drive can be rendered useless. All of the files have to be together in a folder. You must not install firmware from inside a zip program such as WinZip, because all of the files won’t be accessible. The manufacturer’s website should provide specific instructions on how to update the firmware. Instructions can also be provided as text files that come with the zipped download. Some manufacturers, such as Samsung, included a PDF file on how to install the firmware update. (A PDF file (a file with a .pdf extension) requires a reader such as the free Foxit.)

Extremely important that your computer remains on and doesn’t freeze up during the update process

Note that it is extremely important that your computer remains on and doesn’t freeze up during the update process. If you are updating a laptop, you should have the battery attached and charged in case of a power failure and you should close all other unnecessary programs before starting the update, such as anti-virus, anti-malware, firewall and any other protection that can interrupt the process. Norton (Symantec) and McAfee security software interrupts the process, because it assumes that a security issue is involved in every action.

Such an update should not be installed during a thunderstorm because if your computer shuts down due to a power interruption while the update is installing, the drive can be rendered useless.

What to do when a firmware update is not available

Note that some brand-name drive companies purchase their drives from several manufacturers. For example, if you have a Creative and Iomega drive, these two companies actually purchase their drives from various manufacturers and are not good at producing firmware updates.

If you cannot find an update but can find the firmware already installed, try reinstalling it to fix any problems, because the existing firmware might somehow have been corrupted.

DVDINF Pro – is a utility that has a 14-day trial period that provides all the details you might want to know about an installed DVD drive, including the driver and version of firmware being used. –


About Eric 275 Articles
I am an experienced PC technician who has been the owner and sole writer of the PC Buyer Beware! website since 2004. I am learning all the time in this very dynamic, ever-changing field.