What could cause 2 optical drives in 2 separte computers to fail at the same time?

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Jun 29, 2015, 5:03:44 AM6/29/15
I'm not sure if this belongs in alt.cdrom or this group. I haven't had access to a Usenet server from my ISP since 2008, so Google Groups is my only option.

Something happened in my room that seems to have wrecked not one but two optical drives at once. I have no idea what could have happened, but both failed overnight after the computers were turned off.

The first is a CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive in my old Windows 98SE/XP computer I use for some retro gaming and as a print server for my old parallel printer. It usually recognizes a CD, but won't recognize a DVD anymore. If I try to view the contents, it will show up, but if I try to access anything larger than a couple KB it gives up and acts like a CD/DVD with a fingerprint on it that needs to be wiped off with rubbing alcohol.

The second usually doesn't even recognize that the disc is there, but if it does, it will list the content of the disk but acts like there are fingerprints on it and won't play the music/video or access the file.

I've tried cleaning them both to no avail. Heck, I just cleaned the one in the Windows 7 computer the day before yesterday and it was working fine. The reason my responses are so generic are because I tested it with audio CDs, data CDs, commercial DVD movies, and data DVDs with both movie files and normal data files.

The really strange thing is that they both failed at the same time. Both computers are in the same room.
I've heard rumors about brownouts killing hard drives, but all four hard drives in both machines are fine (they are both dual boot and each OS is on a different hard drive with the larger hard drives having partitions for data).

Any ideas what could cause this kind of failure and what I can do to prevent it from happening again?
I might be able to get my hands on some spare drives from somebody with some old broken computers lying around and I'm A+ certified so I can install them fine, but I don't want to put replacement drives in if they are just going to fail again.

One drive is from 2011, the other is older, some time from 2008-2011. I just recall I had to replace the drive in the old computer a couple years before the Windows 7 computer.

Should I be troubled that the drive in the Windows 7 computer failed after 4 years? The OEM drive failed after only a couple of years.
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