Partially functioning DVD drive

I've had poor results w/ my DVD drive since I got the machine. It plays CDs, and uploads CDs, without apparent problem, but I haven't been able to install anything from a disc. The first two programs I tried were both off old discs, and I just figured that the discs were corrupted, but now I'm trying to install from a brand new disc, and getting the same sorts of errors (lots of CRC errors).

I've checked my drive's firmware, and there appears to be a later version, so I've tried to update, but am hitting weird snags. Part of the process requires a boot disc be created, and all of the instructions involve using CD programs I don't have. I've tried simply burning the .iso to a disc, and then rebooting, to no avail. As I'm not even sure if this is the issue, I'm seeking help.

I'm using XP, service pack 3, HP DVD writer 640b, w/ firmware version E152.
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  1. That is very strange indeed, as you should be able to upgrade the firmware quite easily, i.e. without backup disks, etc... Where are you getting the firmware updates from?
  2. It seems to be the correct driver/place. I've never heard of the issue you are having, so it may be worth while to try installing it in safe mode. If that doesn't work, shoot HP support and e-mail or call them and see what they have to say. Otherwise than that, perhaps someone else can chime in with a solution.
  3. Hah. HP tells me to buy a new optical drive.
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