Are the programs you are talking about it not reading on CDs? Or DVDs as well? If the disk does not ready ANY type of CDs, you can try cleaning the laser pickups with a cotton swab, if that does not fix it, replace the drive. The CD and DVD laser mechanisms are separate and one can fail while the other works.
If it reads some CDs but not others, could be an issue with the CDs you are trying to use, or you need to start the programs from the optical drive's drive letter from My Computer, autorun on the disks may have been disabled. Which is actually good as it offers a bit of protection from viruses.