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Plextor PX-504UF DVD-RW recognized by Windows but not functioning

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Hi all

My new (to me) Plextor USB CD/DVD-RW USB drive gets recognized by Windows and given a drive letter but the
ONLY disc it will even READ is the Plextor disc that came with it. I can't play an audio CD or load any other CD-ROMS. If I try it acts like its reading something and then the little green light on the front starts to blink and nothing happens. Looking for the media in My Computer just rewards me with a blank window.

I've tried:

Uninstalling and reinstalling it
updating the firmware (twice)
Installing all the software that came on the Plextor disc (no joy)
Updating my usb drivers (Windows tells me they can't be improved)
Searching all over the internet to no avail
Using different USB ports to hook up the drive

This is obviously an old drive, as Plextor doesn't really offer support for it anymore. My laptop is even older. The Plextor drive uses USB 2 and my laptop (Sony Vaio) has three USB ports that are USB 1. Is that the problem? I don't know.
I'm at a loss as to how to get this thing moving. Frankly I'd be happy just to have a working CDROM drive as the one in my laptop took a crap long ago.

Can somebody help me out?
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My advice: get a new Drive. If it is old and isn't working, it usually isn't worth it to spend 50 hours trying to juryrig it to work.
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