i'm a bit confused. i think you are saying, any new cd's you make recently have no contents on them when trying to access them on the cd-rom drive right?
it sounds like some software is interferring with the cd-burning process. i don't know if reinstalling alchohol or nero would fix it but you can try. can you see the contents of the CD on another computer? it might just be easier to reinstall the operating sysem than trying to find out what is wrong with it, if that is an option for you.
can you remember if the problem happened after you install a program or updated a driver?
but than again..... that might not even solve your problem because you said you updated drivers AND firmware. this is a common mistake with computer users, they assume having the latest software is good. with computers and many other things in life newer is not always better. the old saying applies here, "don't fix it if it ain't broke". they only time i would update something is if there was a problem with it.
so basically what i am saying is that most likely the new drivers you installed is what's messing it up. you can either uninstall them, which sometimes might be imposibble. or you can reinstall windows after carefully saving all data on your computer.