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Fix: Windows 10 Won't Play DVDs — Says Discs Are Empty

Rob Parsons Updated on Oct 31, 2022 5:21 PM

We've grown so accustomed to Windows computer being usable for playing multimedia files (videos, audios, physical discs) so that we have never worried that DVD is not working until we upgrade to Windows 10.

If you're experiencing some problems after switching to Windows 10 — Windows DVD Player application can't recognize a single DVD and states that "The disc is empty"; DVD drive isn't reading a DVD; DVDs show as a blank, it's possible that you don't fork out for Windows DVD Player, or something wrong with your DVD drive or DVD discs, in which case you may want to find a solution to quickly troubleshoot the problem that DVD won't play on Windows 10. Lucky for you, we're going to share some solutions with you.

Here are two easy fixes you should try first and foremost:

  • Reboot computer: It's a quick fix to solve so many problems.
  • Check the DVD disc for damage: Wipe down your disc with a clean soft cloth. And check if your DVD is scratched, if so, replace it.

If none of that helps, consider trying the next 7 ways and one of them may help.

1. Try a free third-party DVD player

Though Microsoft provides official Windows DVD Player, which can play a DVD-video disc on Windows 10 nicely, you do need to pay $14.99 for the software to use it. If you want to skip it and try out a free DVD player utility, VLC Media Player's clearly got broad appeal.

It's a free and cross-platform DVD playback program — you can make it work on the Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Android and iOS. It allows you to watch your favorite DVD movies on your Windows 10 freely. And it offers support for Blu-ray, SVCD/VCD, and Audio CD. It can also play many different types of videos and audios formats, a decent alternative to Windows DVD Player.

Its sleek and easy-to-use user interface makes you feel comfortable and confident about using it. In VLC, you can play a DVD in Windows 10 computer with only a few clicks:

  • Fire up VLC, and insert your DVD disc.
  • Click "Media" > "Open Disc..." > "DVD".
  • Click Play button, and then the DVD will play on Windows 10.

how to play a dvd in windows 10

Also see: How to Play Blu-ray on Windows 10.

2. Check out DVD drive status

Sometimes Windows 10 not reading DVD can be affected by a corrupted DVD drive. Do a check for the drive status, which can ensure if the drive work properly.

  • Open Device Manager. Right-click on the Windows icon and hit "Device Manager", or press Windows + X on the keyboard and click "Device Manager".

  • Click DVD/CD-ROM drives. Within Device Manager, double-click DVD/CD-ROM drives to expand it.

  • Check the drive. If the drive name is shown with a yellow exclamation point or red X sign, the status of your DVD drive is abnormal. In this case, you should try to update or reinstall your drive.

3. Update DVD drive

Updating DVD drive can increase stability and improve the performance of your Windows PC, as well as fix some bugs, including your Windows 10 laptop or desktop can't play DVD movies. And updating the drive is quite straightforward, just follow these efficiency-improving steps:

  • Right-click the Start menu, and click "Device Manager".

  • Click DVD/CD-ROM drives to expand its category.
  • Right-click the DVD drive, and click on "Update driver".

  • Restart your computer.

Now you can try to play a DVD on your Windows 10, but if the DVD is still not working, keep reading.

4. Reinstall DVD drive

If the above fixes aren't possible, consider do a simple reinstall.

  • Press the Windows key + X to open Start menu context menu.
  • Select "Device Manager".

  • Expand DVD/VD-ROM drives by double-clicking it.
  • Right-click your DVD drive, and click on Uninstall.

  • Select OK in the popup window.

Just restart your computer, and then it will automatically reinstall all the required drivers. After that, try playing a DVD in your Windows 10 PC to see if your issue was resolved.

5. Modify the registry

It's possible that your computer can't recognize the DVD drive after upgrading from Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows XP to Windows 10, and you can't find any CD/DVD device listed the CD/DVD-ROM drives. You can fix the problem by modifying the registry.

  • Click on the Windows icon and type "cmd" in the search bar.
  • Right-click "Command Prompt", and then hit "Run as administrator".

  • If the User Account Control dialog box pops up asking for confirmation, simply click Yes.
  • Copy the text reg.exe add "HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\atapi\Controller0" /f /v EnumDevice1 /t REG_DWORD /d 0x00000001 into the navigation panel, and press Enter.

  • Restart your Windows 10.
  • Go to Device Manager to check if the CD/DVD device appears.

Back up registry

Before you do a registry fix, creating a backup for your Windows registry is incredibly important, so that you can restore it if something goes wrong with the modifications within the registry.

  • Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog.
  • Type regedit in the search bar, and click OK.

  • In the left panel, click on Computer.
  • In the upper left corner, click "File" > "Export".

  • In the Export Registry File interface, choose a location where you want to back your registry and type a name for the backup file.
  • Under the Export Range section, check "All".

  • Click on the Save button.

6. Convert DVD discs into digital

If you still have trouble playing DVDs videos on Windows 10 laptops or desktops, try converting your DVD discs into digital formats that is playable on your computer, tablets, mobile devices, or smart TVs. You can use a dedicated DVD ripping program called DVD Ripper to do so.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

It aims to be a flagship on the market today, rather than a basic DVD ripper application. It works on both Windows and MacOS computers. It presents well-structured and intuitive interface, making it easy to find all options. With it, you can easily rip your DVDs into different digital files without any quality loss, and save them on numerous of formats, such as MOV, MP4, WMV, AVI, MPEG, etc. And you can play the ripped DVD discs on all your portable devices including Windows 10 PCs. You can also extract the audio from DVD discs.

If none of the fixes above can help you resolve the problem that your Windows 10 desktop or laptop cannot play DVD movies, contact customer service of your PC manufacturer.

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