I'm having the same problem as yours, when I try to install new software (from brand new CD's) it will work but is very slow. If I try to read CD-R's it is very hard or imposible. I tested those 'bad' CD-R's in many other computers and they work fine (no errors, and fast reading). With audio CD's a lot of noise comes along with the sound. I wrote to Dell Support and they keep asking me to do the same tests again and again (virus, operating system not recognizing the unit, etc). There is no virus in my computer, and Windows XP always recognize the unit.
The only thing is that is very slow. Don't know how many more e-mail exchange will convince Dell that the problem is the hardware (the unit is defective!). Don't know also if they are going to replace it or not. One last thing, of course I cleaned the lenses with a lenser cleaner. Using normal and original windows programs when I put a CD inside most of the times the Cd-Rom seems dead.
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I use Traktor Dj Studio and I need 2 CD players to use it, sometimes works and sometimes not. Tryign to copy a CD with nero sometimes gives great problems and hangs when the original is in my modular bay LG. My Windows XP is Original as the programs that I use, I don't have viruses and the problem persist also with a clean XP install. I don't know how manage it. I've just wrote to my technical assistance in Italy but no reply yet.
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Dell PLEASE do something we are many here with that LG CRN8245B problem!