How to Troubleshoot No Disc on a DVD

By James Clark

How's this for frustration: You pop a disc in your DVD player and get ready to watch, but the machine merely spins your DVD a few times, blinks and declares "no disc" on the readout screen. You know a disc is in there, so you try again, and still the DVD player persists in displaying that maddening message: "no disc." Follow these steps to troubleshoot your DVD player and make that message go away.

Things You'll Need

  • DVD player
  • Several DVDs
  • DVD lens cleaning product such as Memorex
  • Q-tips
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clean, lint-free cloth or lens cleaning paper
  • Screwdriver
  • Compressed air

Step 1

Try a different DVD in your player when you get a "no disc" message. The problem might be with a specific disc, rather than your machine, which displays a "no disc" message when it is unable to read the digital information encoded on the DVD. If different DVDs play fine, then the problem is with the original disc; clean the disc with a few drops of rubbing alcohol applied with a clean cloth or camera-lens cleaning paper, which is available at photography stores.

Step 2

Clean the DVD player. A "no disc" message is typically caused either by a dirty DVD, which your player is unable to read, or a dirty laser lens in the player itself. Buy a quality lens-cleaning disc, pop it in your player and clean the machine. This typically takes no more than five minutes.

Step 3

If you still get that irritating "no disc" message and your DVD player is no longer in warranty, unscrew the back cover and remove it for a more thorough cleaning.

Step 4

Hit the eject button to release the DVD tray and look for the laser lens underneath the tray.

Step 5

Blast the lens with a burst of compressed air to dislodge any dust or lint that has built up on the lens from continual use.

Step 6

Swab the lens gently with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Allow the alcohol to evaporate.

Step 7

Replace the cover and try playing another DVD.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unplug the DVD player while working on it, except during the brief time it takes to eject the DVD tray so you can clean the laser lens. Open the tray, then turn off the power.
  • Don't go inside the DVD player if it is still in warranty. You could void valuable warranty coverage.

References & Resources