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Computer Stupidities

CDs and CDROM Drives

Confusion about CDROM drives is enhanced further by the fact that they are so similar in appearance and function to 5 1/4" floppy disk drives and accept information stored on a commonly recognized medium.

I'm a computer technician at a school. One day, one of the teachers came up to me and said, "Hey, one of my students gave me a shiny, flat, round thing and said that it had his report on it. Do you know what that is?"

A lady bought a computer from us. About a month later, she came in and asked us to install a sound card which can support CDROM drives. So we installed a Soundblaster Pro for her. A week later, she brings the machine in and starts ragging us out because her CDROM drive isn't working, and "It won't eject the disk."

I look at the computer. "But you don't have a CDROM drive!" I exclaim. She points at the 5 1/4" disk drive and says, "What kind of computer salesman are you? Can't even recognize a CDROM drive when you see one?"

It seems she had decided her 5 1/4" floppy drive was in fact a CDROM drive, and since the CD fit in quite nicely, it had to be a CDROM drive.

Long and short of it: the drive was destroyed, the CD was destroyed, and all the technicians were laughing for a few hours.

When working at the Blinn College computer lab I had a girl come up to the desk and ask why her cdrom drive was not working. I went to check it out and to my surprise she had crammed the expensive software CD into the 5 1/4" drive. I had to take apart the drive to get the CD out, and of course it was ruined. A week later, the same girl came in and did it again.

I used to work in the only computer shop in a small village near Milan, in Italy. One day, a customer entered the shop, claiming that his computer wouldn't work anymore. We narrowed the problem down to the cdrom drive, so we swapped it out with a good one, and it booted up fine. So we reported what we did to the customer.

I extracted five pictures that were scrunched up in the back of the cdrom drive.

In the early 90s, when CD burners were just coming out, I treated myself to one. All was fine until I bought a bad batch of CD-Rs. Nothing would record to them, so I took them back to the shop. I explained the problem to the assistant. He went back and had a chat with a colleague and came back saying, "The drive records by burning the information onto the disk. So the problem is the soot that's building up on the lens."

I had an customer that was furious, because he'd spent two hours trying to burn a CD, and nothing was working. I went to the customer's house and removed from the drive the round paper label that comes with a stack of CDs. He thought this was a newer, thinner type of CD.

We replaced a large number of very old PCs with the latest and greatest. This meant that new techonology was being introduced to users who had previously used dumb terminals or 16mhz 386s.

One user asked if he could use his cdrom to play music CDs. I said he could, but he would need speakers or headphones. He replied that he didn't have either, but in the mean time, he would listen to the music coming out of the little hole (headphone jack). I nodded and left quickly.

Someone was trying to use my computer. She took a CD, put it into the drive, and pushed the disk eject button. She did this again. And again.

Finally, she turned to me and said, "I put the disk in and press the START DISK button, but the disk just comes back out! What am I doing wrong?"

Overheard at work:

I was talking to my 7th grade friends about cdrom drives a couple years back. I mentioned that I had a slower drive, only an 8x. One kid exclaimed, "Oh, mine's really fast. The tray goes in and out really quickly."

One time I was called at 6:40am by a customer who is now a member of the government.

At the company where I worked some years ago, the director had been walking around the floor and noticed a computer with "16x" on the cdrom drive. He immediately demanded that a 16 speed cdrom drive be ordered to replace the 4 speed drive in his own computer, because he just needed it to do his work. When the new drive arrived, the tech people swapped the drives and kept the old one for use somewhere else. But when they opened it, they found bits of polystyrene packing in it. The director had never even used his cdrom drive before.

Recently, my CD drive stopped working. I concluded that somehow a driver had been lost or corrupted. I emailed the company requesting a new driver. A few days later the driver was mailed to me, on CD.

I walked her through the basic steps of inserting the cdrom disk and getting to the 'Run' window.

I tried several things. I tried different drive letters. I made sure the colon was actually a colon and the backslash was really a backslash.

AAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!! (bang head, thump, thump, thump)

I recently helped my friend buy a new computer. I set it up for him and showed him all the basics. Several days later, he called me.

In a training class for my place of work, I overheard a couple of young men sitting behind me.

One happy fellow was telling his friend how fast his CD-RW drive was. "My CD drive is so fast. It goes over 100 km/h. You should hear it when it's burning the CD."

And he started to imitate the sound his CD drive makes. I thought it sounded more like a Formula 1 racecar changing gears.

He continued, "Look at this MP3 CD. I have reused it dozens of times, and it's still working. Not a scratch. You'd think it'd be in pieces by now, but it's still good, my CD drive is so gentle. It's only damaged on the edges. That's because the drive brakes so hard. It's speedy, so it has to brake between tracks when I'm burning music."

Then he continued his poor imitation of a Formula 1 car.

He went on about his 100 km/h cd-drive for about 10 minutes, but I wasn't really listening, as I was too busy trying not to laugh out loud.

One night I asked a customer which drive was his cdrom drive. He told me it was the one on top.

I work as help desk analyst at a company with about 800-900 users. An older lady called saying that she was unable to install the program of the CD she got from a friend. I tried asking a few simple questions to figure out what the problem was, but she insisted that she was computer illiterate, and it would be better if I came up and took a look. Thinking she was probably scared to install it herself in case something went wrong, I took a walk to see her. When I got there I asked what she had tried. "I can't seem to open this darn thing," she said. She was trying to open the CD case and had been for fifteen minutes without success.

I work as a computer consultant at a certain university computing naturally, I was approached by a user on my day off at a site where I don't work.

I explained that CD-ROM and CD-R drives use different types of lasers and optics, that CD-Rs cost a lot more than CD-ROMs, and that very few computers at this university have CD-Rs.

I suggested he use a ZIP disk for his mass storage needs and exited post haste.

As a service technician I have to deliver and set up many computers. The majority of my clients are teachers and schools. While setting up several systems for a school one day, one of the teachers asked me to come and take her system back. Curious, I asked why. She replied back that the cdrom drive was not working. Well, knowing that the systems had no cdrom installed, I asked her what had it done wrong. She replied back that she put a CD in, and she couldn't get it back out. I walked back to her room, and she quickly pointed to the face of the system between two blank bezels and said, "I put it there in the cdrom drive, and it isn't working." I explained that the computer didn't have a cdrom drive because the school hadn't ordered one. Now furious with me, she ordered me to remove the system from her room. I obeyed and went to the principal. He told me to put it somewhere else where it would be appreciated.

Slowly it dawned on me that the shiny record was a cdrom disk, and the slot was the 3 1/2" floppy drive. She had no idea what a CD was or how to use it.

Posted to

I need to kow how to disable D: write-protection. I want to delete a very bad music CD I once bought. Contact me with info. at [email address].

I pulled up her invoice and confirmed that the Windows 95 CD was shipped with her order.

I was a programmer at a company that had only one copy of the Visual C++ CD. Initially, I had done a minimal install to save disk space. Later on, I needed the help files, so I tracked down the CD and tried to do a full install. This was unsuccessful -- I got read errors on the CD. Someone had decided that the CD key needed to be on the disk itself in addition to being on the sticker on the jewel case and had scratched it into the label side of the CD, destroying the disk.

Could he have been trying to...? Naw.

One of our clients ordered an Quadra 840AV, but they did not want the internal CD which comes standard in that box. No problem, I took the CD out before I delivered it to the customer. However I did not have the blank bezel with which to cover the opening. I set the system up for them, gave them a quick lesson on its ins and outs, and told him I would be back in a couple of days to replace the bezel.

I returned two days later, opened up the case of the 840 to install the new bezel and found about a dozen slips of used post-it note papers. Upon asking the operator about it I was told that she had put them in there because she thought that the original CD bezel, with it's long slim opening, looked like one of those trash recepticles they have on the ATM machines.

I verified that he is typing the correct command to run the install program. He is.

A client phoned up complaining that her PC had frozen with the cursor in the middle of the screen. The keyboard seemed locked as well so we couldn't kill the offending application. So I told her to switch off her computer and turn it back on again. After about twenty seconds she said it came back on and it was still frozen. I asked if she switched it off properly or if she just switched off the monitor. And she assured me that it was the computer she switched off. We did this again, just to be sure, and this time it only took five seconds to turn back on, still frozen. So I knew she was hitting the monitor button. I asked the question again, and she got a little uptight, saying there was only one button, and that's what she's pressed.

We discussed TV-like items on her desk, and I asked if there was something else on or around her desk. After the list of pens and pencils and other assorted desk supplies, she mentioned her "CD holder."

On a hunch I asked if this "CD holder" was two feet tall and beige. Sure enough it was. We switched it off and on, and it worked. She honestly thought the computer was just a place to keep her Windows CD.

At this point the Tech Rep had to mute the caller, because he couldn't stand it. The caller had been using the load drawer of the CDROM drive as a cup holder and snapped it off the drive.

I work as an unpaid tech aid at the Macintosh cluster at a school. One day I stepped out to do some repairs on a teacher's computer. When I came back, I discovered some kid had gotten his tongue stuck in a CD drive.

I once had a customer who had been trying to put his CD in his computer. He didn't have a CDROM drive so, naturally, the task was difficult. He could not figure it out, and finally ended up opening his system to try to put it in a card slot.

I spent ten minutes explaining what his disk drive was and that he did not, in fact, have a CDROM drive. I sent a disk to him and explained how it goes in the system. When I was finished, I went in to the bathroom and laughed for about five minutes straight. Hysterical, uncontrollable laughter.

My mother does a lot of volunteer work at a thrift store and often brings me home cheap knick-knacks. One day she brought me home a blank CD that was supposed to look like a vinyl record. She told me that she paid $1.50 for it. I told her that it was pretty expensive for a blank CD, but it was a cool CD. Then I opened up the case, and it was empty. I am now the proud owner of a CD case!

I work in the entertainment department of a huge store. I was restocking CD-Rs when a middle-aged woman came up to me.

I tried to hold my poker face for every cent of my hourly wage.

When had she become tech support to me?

I took a long, long break after that one.