I recently encountered a strange problem on my Vista (Home Premium x64) machine, in which Vista seemingly forgot how to read CDs. I would place a factory printed CD in my DVD-RW drive and Windows reacted as if it was a blank DVD-RW by asking me to supply a volume name.
After a bit of googling I discovered this forum post, in which the author has a similar problem. One of the posts on the thread suggested that VMware might have been to blame for the problem. In my case that was exactly the cause, as I had briefly had VMware Server installed on my laptop before uninstalling it due to compatibility reasons.
It appears that VMware disables auto-play in such a way that causes Vista to have difficulty even recognizing printed media. The solution actually involves modify the Windows registry and undoing what the VMware uninstaller left behind.
Make sure you run regedit as an administrator, and navigator to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSET\Services\CDRom and locate the key “Autorun” and change its value from 0 to 1. After making the change you will need to reboot for the changes to take.
After completing the above steps my machine now can correctly read discs again. Thanks VMware :-p