How to Fix a PS2 Disc Read Error

Get your PS2 running like new

The PlayStation 2 (PS2) was an amazing game console for its time. That's why it's still considered by some to be the best of all time. However, it did have one fairly common problem that frustrated gamers for decades. The PS2 disk read error was all too common and could be attributed, in part, to the relatively new DVD technology when the console was released, but that doesn't make it any less problematic. Thankfully, there were also plenty of common solutions to help you get back in the game.

What Is a PS2 Disk Read Error?

As the name implies, a PS2 Disk Read Error occurs when the PS2 is unable to read the disk you insert into the drive. The PS2 will usually try for a few minutes to read the disk before displaying the error.

PlayStation 2 game console

What Causes a PS2 Disk Read Error?

There are plenty of reasons why a PS2 would be unable to read a disk. Usually, it involves either the disk or reading laser inside the drive being dirty. Sometimes, the disk is damaged, and the data on it isn’t readable. Finally, in older devices, the laser may be weakening and about to fail.

Solve a PS2 Disk Read Error

If you do encounter a PS2 disk reader error, there are a few things you can try to get the console to read the disks.

  1. Eject the disk, and look for dust and scratches. If you’re having trouble seeing them, turn the disk sideways near a light source.

  2.  If the disk is damaged, you can try a disk repair kit, to repair any damage and get the disk working again.

  3. If you didn’t see any obvious damage, try a different disk to see if it plays. If it does, try additional disks to make sure the first disk is the problem, rather than the PS2.

  4. When multiple disks aren’t playing, try to see if there’s a pattern. Are they all the same color? That might indicate a problem with the laser. If you're having a problem with only the blue/purple disks, here's how using tape my make it possible to read the blue/purple discs.

  5. Should it seem like the laser, and not the disks is the source of the problem, you can try a lens cleaning disk. If the laser is just dusty, the cleaner might be able to clear things up.

  6. You can also try a can of compressed air, like many offices use to clean keyboards, to blow excess dust out of the PS2. Open the DVD drive, and spray the air inside. Be careful not to turn the can upside down or get the straw lodged in the console.

  7. If you're feeling especially brave, you can always try disassembling the PS2 and cleaning the laser manually. This can be fairly difficult and time consuming, so you should probably be confident in your repair skills before trying this method.

  8. Finally, when the error persists across multiple disks, and cleaning the PS2 laser doesn’t seem do to the trick, you may need to consider the possibility that the laser is failing. While it may be possible to replace it, replacing the entire PS2 is probably more cost effective.