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SOLVED: Asus external Blu-Ray/DVD external drive not working in Windows 10

I have an external Blu-Ray/DVD external drive for my Windows laptop. Specifically, it is the Asus SBW-06D2x-U here:

When I upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, the external drive no longer worked. I could hear that its power was on, but the drive did not appear in “This PC” and neither did it appear in the Device Manager. It was as if the drive was completely invisible to Windows 10.

I found the solution here:   What follows is the info I got from there, rewritten for completely ignorant people (like me).

With the external drive plugged into the USB ports, open up the Device Manager (if you don’t know how, simply type “device manager” into the search box and click on it). First, look to see if the drive is listed there but with an exclamation mark next to it; if so, that’s a different problem and you’ll need to look somewhere else for the solution.

If your external drive is completely missing from Device Manager, look to see if there is an entry called “Initio Combo Device Class”. If so, see what happens if you unplug the external drive. If the “Initio Combo” thing disappears, then that’s the problem: Windows 10 is mistaking your Blu-Ray drive for this useless Initio thing. If you get rid of Initio, your computer will recognize your Blu-Ray drive properly. I do not know why this works, but it does.

OK, so follow these instructions TO THE LETTER.

  1. Plug your external drive back in, and “Intio Combo Device Class” should reappear in the Device Manager.
  2. Click on the little “>” next to it, and you should see something called “Initio Default Controller” appear underneath.
  3. Right-click on “Initio Default Controller” and click ‘Disable’ to turn it off.
  4. Now right-click on it again and click ‘Properties’.
  5. In the window that pops up click on the ‘Driver’ tab.
  6. Click on ‘Uninstall’, and then follow the instructions carefully to ensure that you do uninstall the drivers (IMPORTANT: you may need to click on a checkbox to confirm that you want to uninstall the drivers – don’t miss this step if so).
  7. Unplug the external drive from the USB ports.
  8. Shut down your computer (be sure to shut it down fully, don’t just restart it).
  9. With the computer powered off, plug in the external drive to the USB ports.
  10. Restart the computer and let it boot up.
  11. The drive should now work! It should appear in “This PC” and it should appear in “Device Manager” in the list of “DVD/CD-ROM drives”

Good luck!


SOLVED: Can’t get bass and subwoofer sound with Conexant SmartAudio HD and Windows 8.1 / 10

I have an Asus laptop with Windows 8.1 (and this problem also exists I Windows 10). Curiously, my expensive headphones sounded tinny when plugged into the laptop, despite sounding great when using my iPhone.

Researching, I discovered various complaints that Windows 8.1 has messed up the audio, meaning that a lot of sound cards no longer give low bass or subwoofer sounds to the speakers or headphones.

The solution always given is ‘wait for your sound card manufacturer – in this case Conexant Smartaudio HD – to update their drivers’.

I tried updating my drivers but Windows said there were no updates. Grr.

But then I discovered these drivers, released January 10, 2015: “ASUS Notebook Conexant Audio Driver for Windows 8.1 64-bit

And they work! Bass is restored!


UPDATE: The problem is back with Asus’s latest update… here’s how to fix it AGAIN…

OK, so recently I upgraded to Windows 10 and updated my drivers and found that the tinny sound was back. Asus’s new drivers are 8.66, and they don’t work properly.  The only driver that actually works is for Windows 8.1 64-bit (I don’t know if there’s a version for 32-bit computers).

But here’s your problem – if you try to replace the new driver with the older and better one, Windows will get angry and tell you No, the newer one must be better because it’s new. Sigh.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Download the drivers from the link provided above.
  2. Extract the files using extraction software.
  3. Go to Device Manager on your computer
  4. Double-click “Sound, video and game controllers”
  5. Double-click “Conexant SmartAudio HD”
  6. Click the “Driver” tab
  7. Click “update driver”
  8. Click “Browse my computer for driver software”
  9. Click “Let me pick from a list…”
  10. Select one of the “models” listed; I’m not sure if it matters which.
  11. Click ‘Have Disk’
  12. Click ‘Browse’
  13. Navigate to the driver files that you extracted, open the folder ‘W8-64’ and select the file “X40Plmwa.inf”.
  14. Click ‘Open’, OK, and ‘Next’, and the old drivers should now install. When they’ve finished, check in Device Manager again to ensure that the driver is now Restart the computer and your bass should be restored.

Just make sure you never update your sound drivers ever again.

Inbox on Alcatel mobile phone

Having purchased an Alacatel mobile phone in London, I was confused about how to read my text messages. The instructions referred to an ‘Inbox’, but there was no such thing in the menu. Eventually, I discovered the answer: the inbox is actually labelled “SMS Chat” in the ‘Messages’ menu. Go figure.

Disappearing line breaks in WordPress – SOLVED

If you’re blogging with WordPress, you may have been annoyed by the fact that if you enter a lot of line breaks for spacing purposes, they disappear when you publish the blog entry. Regardless of whether you’re using the Visual Editor or the HTML editor, WordPress strips away any extra line breaks. It doesn’t matter you’re hitting Enter, using <br> or <p>, or anything else, it’s always the same. They vanish, and your beautifully organized entry is transformed into a jumbled mess.

Why? God only knows. But there is a solution.

I’m assuming that you’re inserting all these line breaks because you’re trying to create space around a picture. Most likely, you have a picture aligned on the right or left, and you have text going part of the way down it, like this.

But you don’t want the next paragraph to follow immediately on and continue wrapping around the picture, do you? You want the next paragraph to begin underneath the picture, like this, so that it will look elegant. So how did I just achieve that? There’s a bit of code designed to help in these situations. I got this information from this forum discussion.

First, ensure you’re using the HTML editor, not the Visual Editor (you switch between them using the buttons on the top right of the text window; see image right). If you’re not familiar with HTML, I suggest writing the entry and inserting the pictures BEFORE switching to the HTML editor.

Then, after each paragraph that has a picture aligned to it, enter <br style=”clear:both;” />

This little bit of code tells WordPress to begin the next paragraph underneath the picture, not next to it. Simple.

So, to clarify, your entry would look like this:

A paragraph of text with an aligned image.

<br style=”clear:both;” />

Next paragraph

IMPORTANT: stay on the HTML editor, do not ever return to the Visual Editor, or it will strip the code away and you’ll have to start all over again. Why? God only knows.

If any of the above is unclear, drop a comment and I’ll clarify.

Low volume on Blu-ray playback with Qosmio laptop, Windows 7: FIXED

I got an expensive laptop on which to play Blu-rays. But sometimes, the volume on Blu-ray playback was too low. DVDs were fine, and often the Blu-ray menu screen would be fine, but the film itself would be too quiet.

My laptop is a Toshiba Qosmio, but I believe this problem is common to many laptops.

The reason, as far as I can tell (and I may not be precisely accurate here because I don’t actually know what I’m talking about), is that some Blu-rays are using the 5.1 audio track, which splits the sound among different channels. This soundtrack assumes you have an expensive multi-speaker system. But you don’t, you just have crappy laptop speakers. So parts of the sound are being sent to speakers that don’t exist. Hence the low volume.


I don’t know much about why this works, but it does. I’ve only tried this in Windows 7. Possibly it only works with my audio device (Conexant Pebble High Definition SmartAudio), but hopefully it works with anything.

  • Go to Control Panel
  • If you’re in ‘Category’ view (with only 8 or so icons onscreen, click “Hardware and Sound”.  If you’re in normal view (with lots of icons onscreen) jump to the next step.
  • Click “Sound”. A box will appear. See the “Speakers” icon? Right-click on that and select “Properties”.
  • Select the “Enhancements” tab.
  • Put a tick in the “Loudness Equalization” box.
  • Click ‘OK’.
  • That’s it! Blu-rays will now play at a decent volume.
Go figure.

How to export bookmarks in PowerDVD 9

PowerDVD allows you to export your bookmarks, so that if you have PowerDVD 9 on another machine, you can move your bookmarks over to that machine. Yay!

Except the help function doesn’t tell you how to do it. Sigh.

After some trial and error, here’s what you do.

  • Look in your “Documents” folder. There’s a folder called “Cyberlink”. Inside that is a folder called “PowerDVD9”. Inside that is a folder called “Bookmarks”. Aha.
  • Simply copy the “Bookmarks” folder over to the other computer (where you have already installed a copy of PowerDVD 9). Now simply replace that computer’s “Bookmarks” folder with yours. Bingo. All your bookmarks will work on the new computer.

I don’t know if this works with other versions of PowerDVD. I know it doesn’t work with version 4, which didn’t allow exporting.