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How to fix a CD that rattles in the PC tray

Updated on June 12, 2011
CD tray in PC
CD tray in PC | Source

Sometimes an old CPU just refuses to read a particular CD, for reasons known only to the computer. Various descriptions of this phenomena include “my CD rattles loudly inside the tray”, or "it shakes and rattles when a CD is loaded” or even “a loud screeching noise when trying to read a CD”.

First, determine if the noise is happening because the CPU is spinning the CD in an effort to read it. See if it will read another CD without noisy rattling. If it will, here is a suggestion for fixing the problem CD.

1. Inspect the disc for obvious defects such as nicks, scratches, an irregular edge, etc. If it appears to be normal, and if you know it has been successfully used in other computers, it will be a candidate for the next step.

2. Find a piece of scratch paper a bit heavier than copy paper, but not as heavy as a manila file folder. You might have to experiment a bit to find the perfect weight as this process unfolds. Each CD will need a different weight to prevent it from banging around inside the tray as it spins.

3. Cut the paper into a circular shape, about ¼" smaller than the CD. Cut out the center circle as well, leaving the clear plastic area around the hole. For a standard disc, the paper will measure about 4” across with a 1” hole in the center.

4. Using Scotch ® tape or its equivalent, carefully tape the paper to the top (printed) side of the disc, being sure none of the tape extends past the edge. This can get tricky because the tape must lie completely flat. Even the tiniest bumps on the tape will hang up the spinning process.

5. Try inserting the CD into the tray to test whether it will stay in place during the spinning process.

6. If this doesn’t work, experiment with different weights of paper. If you are diligent and patient, the CPU should eventually be able to catch the disc and read it.


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    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      rated up and useful.

    • ezhang profile image

      Edward Zhang 5 years ago from Bay Area, CA

      Interesting, I never knew about this. I'll have to give it a try the next time my CD rattles!

      Just a quick note, CPU means Central Processing Unit (aka the "processor"). I think you meant to say "CD Drive" instead of the CPU. Just a heads up :)

    • Marie Brannon profile image

      Marie Brannon 5 years ago from Pearland, Texas

      Thanks, dahoglund and ezhang. This came from my own experience, and I felt lucky to have finally succeeded in installing software on an old computer that dates back to 2004. ezhang, you are right; the CD drive is just one piece of the processor. I didn't think about that.

    • profile image

      rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

      This was a creative write up. Great job.

      rorshak sobchak

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I never thought of this! lol what a great idea! I only threw away my cd player yesterday because it had stopped working properly, I should have read this first! thanks for the info, cheers nell

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