Troubleshooting CD-ROM Problems

– Alex –

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There are many different uses for CD-ROM drives: You use it to install software, listen to music CDs, play games, etc. Because of its versatility, it can be tricky to troubleshoot CD-ROM problems, so we made a list of common problems and their solutions for you.

Is the drive properly connected?

When you have problems accessing the drive and it either shows as not available, or does not show up at all, the first thing you should check are the physical connections of the drive. Take off the cover and take a look at the back of the CD-ROM drive. You should see something like this:


Click to enlarge

Make sure the drive has power. Then check that the data cable is connected properly. If it is an IDE drive, you are probably using a 40-pin ribbon cable. This cable has a red line along one side of the cable. This indicates location of pin 1 and needs to line up with the pin 1 marking on the back of the drive. An easy way to remember this is that the side with the red line usually goes next to the power connector. Then make sure that the other end of the data cable is plugged into the appropriate controller on the motherboard and also has pin 1 lined up correctly.

Another important thing to check is the jumper(s) on the back of the drive. Just like any other IDE device, you can either set it to Master, Slave, or Cable Select (CS – rarely used). If you have only one device on this IDE channel, then the drive should be set to Master. If you have two devices on this IDE channel, then one needs to be set as Master, the other as Slave.

If this is a SCSI device, first check the cable, then make sure that the drive has a unique ID number assigned to it, and that the SCSI chain is terminated properly. For more information on configuring SCSI devices please take a look at our SCSI tutorial.

And while you have the cover off, you might as well take a look at the sticker on the drive and write down the make and model in case you need it later to obtain the correct driver.

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