This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
A very simple test is to take a CD that DOES work, copy it, and try both
(this ensures that your problems aren't being caused by, for example, a
drive that doesn't support multisession CDs).
Sometimes the firmware can be at issue. In one specific case, a Goldstar
GCD580B CD-ROM drive was able to read CD-Rs under Win95 but not MS-DOS
6.22. Upgrading the firmware from v1.01 to v1.24 solved the problem.
If it fails with different kinds of media, the CD-ROM drive either doesn't
like discs written with your recorder, or doesn't like CD-R media at all.
In one case, returning the CD-ROM for an identical unit resolved the
While there are stringent specifications for discs, there are no such
specifications for CD players and CD-ROM drives. They just have to play
the discs. If the disc and the drive are both marginal, you lose.