If your machine won't read CDs (but can eg, play DVDs) and gives a "prepare this blank disc" error message, there is probably a driver
conflict. After several warranty calls to Dell, much good advice, updating drivers
and firmware,and installing a new CD Drive (Optiarc) it would work for a bit then crash again.
After a bit more research - see the closed thread at 'Prepare This Blank Disc' Problem
, which is useful but failed, I decided to uninstall Roxio 9
, which unfortunately came preinstalled.
Make sure every reference to Roxio is deleted. Search the computer and registry. Maybe uninstall the CD drive and reinstall, reboot, then it may work. Mine did!
I then installed ImgBurn which does a fine job of copying CDs.
All other options (eg, relating to upper and lower filters) failed in my case. I think the problem started with Vista Business SP1 install. Good luck.