Troubleshooting CD-ROM Problems

Does your PC recognize the drive?

Now that you know that the drive is properly connected, put the cover back on and power the PC on. Watch carefully on the first screen that appears when you do. You should see several lines where the BIOS detects IDE devices and displays the devices it found. Is your IDE CD-ROM drive listed here? If not, hit the key indicated on the screen to enter the BIOS setup menu. The most common keys for this are Del, F1, or F2, depending on the BIOS manufacturer. Once you see the setup screen, look for a listing of the primary and secondary IDE devices. Again, it varies where this menu is located, but it should be easy to find. When you see it, check what each one is set to. Each one should be set to Auto, or Auto Detect, which tells the BIOS to check for a device on each position on each channel during bootup, and try to identify the device automatically. But if it is set to None, The BIOS won’t even look and therefore cannot find the drive.

After correcting the setting here, save the changes and exit the BIOS. This will automatically reboot the machine. Watch the screen again carefully to make sure the drive is now being recognized. If the CD-ROM drive still doesn’t show up, then you might be dealing with faulty hardware. Replace the cable to the drive with another one and see if the problem persists. The next logical step would be to swap the CD-ROM drive with another one that you know works. This process will help you eliminate the possibility of bad hardware.

If the CD-ROM now shows up in the BIOS, great. The PC knows about it. Let the boot process continue to load Windows. Once you’re in Windows, open Windows Explorer, and see if the CD-ROM drive is now listed and accessible. If it doesn’t show up, then it’s time to look at the device manager. Go to Start/Settings/Control Panel/System/Device Manager, and look for an item labeled CDROM. If it’s there, click on the “+” symbol next to it to expand this category. You should now see the drive listed like this for example:

If there is an exclamation mark or red x next to the drive, it indicates that Windows has a problem with the drive. Double-click on the description for the drive to get to its properties and read the device status for an explanation of the problem. For example, Windows might not have a driver available for the drive, or the wrong driver was installed. Windows is very good about recognizing CD-ROM drives and installing the correct drivers for it, but sometimes you need to install the driver manually.

To resolve such a conflict, first check to see whether the drive was identified correctly. Compare the make and model listed in the Device Manager with the make and model of the actual drive that you wrote down earlier. To update the driver – it either came on a floppy with the drive or can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s web site – click the Driver tab in this Properties window and select Update Driver. Click Next, select Display a list of drivers in a specific location …, click Have Disk, then use the Browse button to direct it to the drive and folder where the driver is located. Once this is finished, you will be prompted to reboot. When Windows is up again, go back to the Device Manager and confirm that the problem is now resolved.

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