#1
For a while CDs burnt from my Dell desktop have been a bit dodgy - they skip or cause an error on some of my older stereos - but not, having just tried to burn something off itunes, the lasers literally taken the aluminium layer off the disc, i.e. there's a patch near the centre that's just like a mirror. Anyway, does anybody have any idea what I could do software wise that might remedy this? I can't really afford to replace it but if its an easy fix i might as well give it a shot.
#2
Well if you burn them, of course they aren't going to play. What with all the scorch marks and the like.
#4
Try using CDBurnXP, different burning media and different burning speeds.

Aside from that, drives aren't expensive, assuming you're in the US:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106228
Newegg highlights the bad reviews, 55% gave it 5*, with a further 22% giving it 4*.
Thats more than 3/4 of people giving it 4-5/5, and less than $25
I'm so unique I don't even have a sig.