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Firmware Update

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I have an Inspiron 9300 with a NEC ND-6650A DVD±R DL Slimline drive. For every other thing I've needed to update I was able to just go to Dell's site and download it. This however, wasn't the same. They had the firmware update, but when I tried to install it, it gives me an error saying "Target NEC ND-6650A is not found correctly". I went to NEC's site and read up on what they say to do. They said it had something to do with the version being different, but didn't say how to fix it. Any help would be appreciated.
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    Portlock - Oahu

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It's generally NOT RECOMMENDED that you update firmware, unless it's to fix a specific problem.

Are you having problems with your drive?
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First, I would like to apologize for taking so long to respond.

Yes, I am having problems with my drive. The only reason I've tried to upgrade the firmware was because my drive has a very hard time reading dvds. Burnt data dvds are the worst, but sometimes it doesn't even recognize my store bought official dvds. It will either not realize there is a disc in the drive, or just think it is a blank CD. I open and close the drive on an average of four-five times and it finally realizes what it is and I can get on with my day. Sometimes when I watch dvds, it will freeze up and a couple of times has given me an "Nv4_disp" blue screen of death. It says that it gotten stuck in an infinite loop and then begins a physical memory dump. I looked online at various places, but none of the things I found have fixed the problem. I have a friend that has an identical notebook to mine and he has no problems with his drive reading anything, so I think I may have just gotten a lemon. If you have any ideas I would appreciate it greatly. Thanks for your time.

Here are my specs:

Nvida 6800 GO 256 MB
Pentium M 760J 2.0 GHz
1024 PC2-4200 RAM
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
Motherboard Chipset :Intel Alviso i915PM
DirectX 9.0C
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NEC doesn't list a firware update for the ND-6550A. This could be the problem.

You might investigate this:

Check Your IDE Port Mode
First check what mode your secondary IDE port is currently working in. Go to Device Manager:
right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click on the Hardware tag, click on the
Device Manager button, click on the plus sign to the left of IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller, double-click on the secondary IDE channel, click on Extended Settings and check whether it is set to 'DMA when available'. Directly underneath that setting is a grey field that shows the current working mode of your IDE channel. You want the highest possible DMA or Ultra DMA mode there, and you definitely don't want PIO mode.

Normally you don't have to use the registry editor for this, because the normal settings are also
available through the properties dialog for the IDE port, but if you want to look at it anyway,
the parameter for the secondary IDE port can be found through regedit.exe at


It is named Scsi only for historic reasons. Scsi Port 0 is the primary IDE port, to which
presumably your hard disk is connected.

After trying various remedies—in vain—I found the abovementioned article and went to work again.
I uninstalled the DVD drive in Device Manager and rebooted, but that did not help either.

So I searched for more and better information, then I went on and did the following.

Re-enable DMA using the Registry Editor
My thanks go to my fellow MVP Alexander Grigoriev who taught me this method.

Run REGEDIT. Go to the following key:


It has subkeys like 0000, 0001, 0002, etc. Normally 0001 is the primary IDE channel,
0002 the secondary, but other numbers can occur under certain circumstances. You have to
go through these subkeys and check the DriverDesc value until you find the proper IDE channel.

Delete MasterIdDataChecksum or SlaveIdDataChecksum, depending on whether the device in question
is attached as master or slave, but it can't actually hurt to delete both. Reboot. The drive DMA
capabilities will be redetected.

2006-01-19 – Horst Schülke wrote that it is sufficient to empty the content of these values.
But you can also delete the values entirely. Windows will automatically recreate them anyway,
with new content.

Open Device Manager again and check whether the device is now actually using DMA mode. If so,
congratulations, you've made it (at least until the next time Windows disables DMA).

2005-10-24 – Tomáš Soucek wrote, if this doesn't work, check also the dword value
MasterDeviceTimingModeAllowed, whose default value is hex 0xFFFFFFFF. If you have a much smaller
value, you can try to set it back to its default and reboot for a test.

Alternative Method—Uninstalling the Port
1. Uninstall the secondary IDE port
To do that, open Device Manager as follows. Right-click on My Computer, select Properties,
click on the Hardware tag, click on the Device Manager button, click on the plus sign to the left
of IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller, right-click on Secondary IDE Channel, click on Uninstall.
Deactivating is not enough.

Reboot to make the changes active and permanent.

After booting Windows will automatically reinstall the IDE channel and the DVD (or CD) drive.
This Plug-n-Play process can take a little while, so give it a minute after the boot process

2. Reactivate DMA
But this is not enough, because unfortunately Windows does not automatically activate DMA
on a DVD or CD drive. You have to tell Windows to try to use DMA first.

For that, go to Device Manager again. Right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click on
the Hardware tag, click on the Device Manager button, click on the plus sign to the left of
IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller, double-click on the secondary IDE channel, click on Extended Settings
and change the relevant setting from PIO only to DMA when available.

On Windows NT and 2000 you now have to reboot a second time, but Windows XP applies the change
instantly. Then you can go to the same place in Device Manager again and check whether the device
is now actually using DMA mode. If so, all is well.

3. Driver is not intended for this platform
If you keep getting the following error message, please read on:

There is a problem installing this hardware.

IDE channel

An error occurred during the installation of the device. Driver is not intended for this platform.

2005-03-30 – Johannes B. wrote: The reason for this error is often that Daemon Tools or
Alcohol 120% are installed. In this case the solution described below would not work.
But when you uninstall these programs and then restart Windows, it will then install the device
drivers without any further problems.

If these programs are not installed, then one possible way out is to rename
C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\atapi.sys (or a similar path on your computer) to something
like atapi.old.

If that's not possible, you can try it from the repair console (boot from the Windows install CD
and select the repair console).

If Windows always automatically recreates atapi.sys, you can try renaming it in safe mode or
from a command line window or you can try to rename or remove it in the driver cache as well.

Desensitize Your Computer's IDE Channels
There's a bit more to it. The following article offers a way to reduce the incidence of this
problem, although it still doesn't solve it altogether.

IDE ATA and ATAPI Disks Use PIO Mode After Multiple Time-Out or CRC Errors Occur

Do read this article because it contains a useful long-term workaround. But you have to
go through the procedure described here to re-enable DMA first. Assuming you've done that,
insert the ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess registry values mentioned in this article into both
the primary and the secondary IDE port registry keys as described.

Unfortunately this is only a half solution, because when you enter an unreadable DVD,
you will get 6 errors in a row, and the IDE channel will revert to PIO mode, but at least
when you pull out the DVD in time and then insert a good one, the error counter will be reset
and it will at least be a bit more difficult for Windows to hobble your IDE drive.
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Well, I tried everything that you suggested, and it still doesn't recognize it's a dvd most of the time. Any other suggestions? Maybe a non-official firware update?

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It just occured to me that the lens may be somewhat dirty. That would tend to explain why CDs can be read but not DVDs. DVDs use a much smaller 'pit' to encode 1's and 0's. Here's a tutorial on how to clean the lens:


Inability to read any discs is due, most of the time, to one of two causes: A dirty lens in the optics of the drive, or, a bad drive. Since you had temporary success after using a disc cleaner I suspect that its the optics that are giving you the problem. Dust and dirt can easily make its way into the drive; that includes smoke, too.

Feeling handy ? Cleaning the lens will cost you no money, but requires you to open the computer's case, extract the optical drive, open the cover to the drive and then gently cleaning the tiny lens with a soft cloth or tissue and rubbing alcohol. As far as all tools that you'll need, use a Philips screwdriver.

If you don't feel reasonably comfortable doing this yourself, is there someone you know who could help you with this ? The whole process should take less than a half an hour. This is the kind of thing I love to do - get my hands on the hardware - I bet one of your friends would help you out if you asked. Be reasonably sure he or she is reasonably competent, though.

I'll run through the disassembly-cleaning-reassembly procedure in a moment, but if you decide to simply replace the drive here are top-notch drives for under $50 delivered to your door (USA). (I'm a big fan both of Neweeg.com and NEC optical drives.)
What kind and brand computer do you have ? Desktop or laptop ? If it is a desktop, is it store-bought (OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer) or assembled by yourself, someone you know or a local shop ?

Whether the computer is a laptop or a desktop you really should try cleaning the lens first before giving up on the optical drive and replacing it. If you don't feel comfortable about partially disassembling your machine then take it to a local repair shop for them to do this. They shouldn't charge more than $30 of $40 to do this. If they want more than this then get estimates from other outfits.

Cleaning the lens of an optical drive is actually a straight-forward task that should not be too difficult for anyone that knows how to use a screwdriver.

Laptop drive extraction: Most laptop optical drives slide out from the body of the computer by pushing on an exterior button on or by the face of the drive. Its a bit tricky to push this eject button and pull on the drive but you should be able to do this fairly easily. These drives are made to slide out.

Desktop computer procedure: You'll need to open the computer case, remove the drive, open up the drive cover and clean the lens. This routine is only slightly more complicated than replacing the drive with a new one.

-) Turn off the computer and pull out the power cord. Note how all the other cables hook up to the back of the computer so you can replace them when you are finishing up the job (monitor cable, speaker cable, network cable or phone cord, USB device wires)

-) Get the now-cable-free computer box up on a table where you can easily work with it.

-) Remove the left side case panel. If it is a non-OEM computer then opening the left side panel will be very easy. There will be either 2 Philips head screws or 2 thumbscrews on the back edge of the left side panel that need to be removed. Remove the screws and then slide the panel toward the rear about a half an inch. You should hear a 'clunk' sound and the panel will be able to be lifted away from the case. Set it aside for now.

If your computer is an OEM Dell, HP, Compaq, Gateway, E-Machines, etc., then opening up the case can be somewhat more difficult to very tricky. If the case doesn't have 2 screws on the back edge of the case then look for a button on the lower left side of the front of the case. When a case has this case cover removal button push it in and pull firmly upward or backward on the left side panel to remove it. If the case doesn't have a panel unlocking button the try sliding it towards the rear of the case. OEM computer manufacturers have used all sorts of weird mechanisms to attach the left side case cover. Some Dells use a clamshell design that pivots the left cover away from the rest of the case. There may be a sliding latch on the rear panel of the case that allows you to put a padlock there to prevent anyone from opening the case. Slide this latch out of its closed position in order to allow the panel to be opened.

I have come across OEM cases that I couldn't figure out how to open. You may have to contact the computer manufacturer to get instructions on how to open it. Opening the case may void your warranty, but it looks like this needs to be done nonetheless.

Once the case is opened remove the power cable and carefully wiggle and pull on the ribbon cable attached the back of the optical drive. There will be either 4 screws or a slide latching mechanism that keeps the drive in place in its holder rack. Remove the screws or push on the latching mechanism's release button and slide the drive out the front of the case.

Opening the laptop or desktop drive cover: In either case there will be 3 or 4 screws on the top panel of the optical drive. Unscrew them and carefully remove the sheet metal panel. I find the mechanism of an optical drive to be fascinating. You will see the lens which appears as a glassy bubble in the middle of the drive. Wet your soft cloth or tissue with a little rubbing alcohol. Do not apply so much that it drips. Gently wipe the lens in circular motions to clean the lens. You may not actually notice any dust or dirt come off the lens onto the cloth but this will clean it.

Now, reassemble the optical drive. You know where its screws are, right ?! Replace the optical drive into its bay. Reattach the ribbon cable and then its power cord. Reattach the case side panel and screw any of its attachment screws back in. Return the computer to its original position. Plug back in each of the cables that you pulled out. Note that the speaker wire plugs into a 1/8 inch socket that is usually colored green - there are usually several 1/8 inch sockets of various colors on the sound card panel. If there are USB cables to plug back in then it shouldn't matter which USB sockets they go into. Finally, plug the power cord back in. Before you start up the computer have a fire extinguisher at hand. Just kidding!

Start up your computer and see if the optical drive works now. If it doesn't work properly or at all then you may need to replace it. Now that you know how to take out the drive, replacing it really is easy. Finding a replacement for a laptop drive might be somewhat of a challenge.

I hope this procedure doesn't appear to be too daunting. Like I mentioned, take it to a repair shop if it sounds too involved for you or a friend to do.
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FINALLY!!!! I think cleaning it with the alcohol really did the job. I've tested it several times now and it seems to be working the way it should be. Thank you for all of your time and advice.
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