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CD-RW/DVD-ROM Shenanigans


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#1
Gene7887

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Hi, I have been trying to get my optical drive to work for a while now and seem to be running into dead end after dead end. The important info:

Make/model: Dell Dimension 4600C running XP SP3
Drive make/model: Samsung SN-324B

The initial problem was that the drive would fade in and out - pressing the open button would cause drive activity, then stop without opening. Trying to access the drive in Windows would initiate activity as well, then stop with a message to the effect of "drive could not be found." Recently I tried to reinstall the drivers found on the Dell website, which for my machine they listed as the Samsung SN-324S. Since trying to install these drivers the drive does not even show up in the device manager. The activity light constantly flashes and pushing the eject button elicits no response. I have checked the connections inside the computer and the IDE and power cables are well-connected.

My only desire for this is to be able to wipe the HD and reinstall windows. I am trying to repurpose this 6 yr old machine to be a HTPC, but I am not going to try to do anything more complicated until I can verify the machine itself is working. Any and all help is deeply appreciated. If I am leaving any pertinent information out please let me know and I'll do my best.
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#2
cbarnard

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Welcome to Geeks to Go :)

Was the computer "using" the dvd drive?

Sometimes when the computer is "using" it, the computer can lock its functions until it is finished keeping it from opening.



if not:

make sure the computer is powered down before performing the steps...

I would say first check all of your connections (power and data)

make sure for the data cable, you follow it back to the motherboard and make sure it is securely attached...



if that doesn't work, I would find out the brand of the drive "written" on it...

Then go to the manufactures website to find the drivers...




It is also possible "somehow" the optical drive was disabled in the BIOS...

you could enter the BIOS and look for the boot order. See if the CD\DVD rom has been disable, if so enable it and save the change...

BUT don't do anything else in there only check that...





If all else fails you could but a new one cheap less than $30 at NEWEGG

you just need to purchase the drive with the appropriate data interface

Most likely your drives is an IDE cable the connector is about 2in long and is flat... an example of -->> An IDE drive

And a SATA is about 3\4in and flat (very small)

An example of -->> A SATA drive


Hopefully this helps

Good luck
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#3
rshaffer61

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Is the drive seen in My Computer at all?
If not then follow one of the three steps below to see if it help. If the drive is seen and the problem is as you described then it is most likely the drive is failing or has failed.
Normally a constant activity lights says the drive thinks there is something in the tray even though it is emty.
By the drive not ejecting would signal a hardware failure in the control board or the switch.
My suggestion is as Cbarnard has suggested is replacing the drive.


One of these may help:
1. Uninstall the drive through Device Manager.
Restart computer. The drive will be automatically reinstalled.
or...
2. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314060
Restart computer.
or...
3. Download, and run Restore Missing CD Drive patch
Double click on cdgone.zip to unzip it.
Right click on cdgone.reg, click Merge.
Accept registry merge.
Restart computer.
or...
4. Go to Device Manager, click a "+" sign next to IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers.
You'll see two items:
- ATA Channel0 (or Primary Channel)
- ATA Channel1 (or Secondary Channel)
Right click on each of them, and click Uninstall. Confirm.
Restart Windows. They'll be automatically reinstalled.

Thank's to Broni for the instructions
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#4
Gene7887

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Let me see if I can answer everything...

Was the computer "using" the dvd drive?


I highly doubt it. After I tried the driver update the computer restarted and the light continuously flickered as long as the computer was powered on, with no spinning noises or other indicators of the computer trying to access the drive.

I would say first check all of your connections (power and data)

make sure for the data cable, you follow it back to the motherboard and make sure it is securely attached...

I've tried this quite a few times. My only concern is actually the nagging OCD fear I have every time of not properly securing it the last time! Which is how I really feel now as, since I wrote the original post, the light has stopped flickering at all.

if that doesn't work, I would find out the brand of the drive "written" on it...

Then go to the manufactures website to find the drivers...


I've tried it through Dell, which was my first mistake. I will try it through Samsung right after I finish writing this and let you know how it goes.



It is also possible "somehow" the optical drive was disabled in the BIOS...

you could enter the BIOS and look for the boot order. See if the CD\DVD rom has been disable, if so enable it and save the change...

BUT don't do anything else in there only check that...

I have meddled with the BIOS settings before, it's not that. In fact the BIOS used to have the D: drive as "CD-RW/DVD-ROM (Not Installed). Now it is simply "Unknown Device."



If all else fails you could but a new one cheap less than $30 at NEWEGG

Yeah, I just don't want to buy one and then have it not be a hardware issue, you know? Also since this is one of the first "slim" case designs (it's a hair thicker than my XBox360, about an inch larger in each direction, which for 2003 wasn't so bad) it will probably need a very particular drive to maintain compatibility or worse, have the same problem as the current one. I'm actually leaning towards replacing the IDE cables first before giving in to buying a new drive or hassling Dell for one from their boneyard.

Is the drive seen in My Computer at all?

No.

If the drive is seen and the problem is as you described then it is most likely the drive is failing or has failed.

This is what leads me to believe that it's a soft/firmware issue rather than a hardware failure. My biggest fear is that I'm facing a chicken-egg dilemma: XP is screwed up to where the D: drive cannot make contact with Windows anymore, but I can't use the D: drive to fix XP! It's things like this that made me switch to Apple in '05, but that's a whole other story...


1. Uninstall the drive through Device Manager.
Restart computer. The drive will be automatically reinstalled.

The drive itself does not appear in Device Manager. I could uninstall the Secondary IDE Channel but I don't know if this is what you are suggesting?

2. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314060

The "filters" never once appeared in my Registry (I saw this fix before coming to the forum), so it is not this.

3. Download, and run Restore Missing CD Drive patch
Double click on cdgone.zip to unzip it.
Right click on cdgone.reg, click Merge.
Accept registry merge.
Restart computer.

Had a lot of hope for this one since it was new to me, but I did this and it has produced no difference.

4. Go to Device Manager, click a "+" sign next to IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers.
You'll see two items:
- ATA Channel0 (or Primary Channel)
- ATA Channel1 (or Secondary Channel)
Right click on each of them, and click Uninstall. Confirm.
Restart Windows. They'll be automatically reinstalled.

I will try this one first before I try the Samsung drivers. This is my last best hope, unless someone else comes up with any better ideas.

Thanks to both of you, I really appreciate the help regardless of outcome. :)
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#5
Gene7887

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Just uninstalled the Secondary IDE Channel through device manager. Forgot to mention a message I've been getting at the POST screen. "Secondary Channel 0 Not Found" which then prompts me to enter BIOS Setup. (Which is where I find the Secondary Channel Unknown Device I mentioned before) I am going to re-open my case and make sure everything is tight. My other greatest fear in this is a power problem, which is something I really don't want to mess with. Mostly because I doubt I have the tools on hand to mess with the power supply and a strange paranoia of getting shocked.

The Secondary IDE Channel reinstalled itself without any input from the CD drive as any reference to it is still absent from Windows.


EDIT: I did notice when going through system error logs that my CMOS battery is almost certainly dead. Could this have had any impact on this problem?

Edited by Gene7887, 12 November 2009 - 08:04 PM.

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#6
rshaffer61

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Yep cmos is not holding on to settings. Replace battery then go into bios and setup time and date.
Make sure drives are recognized and then set the bios to default settings. Save and exit.
Does drive work now?
If it still comes up with Secondary IDE controller issue then you may have a problem with the actual MOBO.
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#7
Gene7887

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Yep cmos is not holding on to settings. Replace battery then go into bios and setup time and date.
Make sure drives are recognized and then set the bios to default settings. Save and exit.
Does drive work now?
If it still comes up with Secondary IDE controller issue then you may have a problem with the actual MOBO.

Thanks for the quick reply.

I won't be able to get a new battery until tomorrow, but I am also going to be away for the weekend so that part of the problem will have to wait.

Since I started trying to fix the drive the machine has at least doubled in the amount of time it takes to boot. Sometimes it will sit for a minute or two with a black screen and a blinking white cursor before proceeding to the XP "loading" boot screen. The progress bar will also hang for a few seconds at a time in that screen. However there are no "slow" characteristics once the machine has fully booted.
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#8
rshaffer61

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No problem with the wait in finishing the battery option. I am here most of the time so if you can't get back till the beginning if the week that is fine.
The bootup time we can try to fix once everything else is working correctly. Let's fix one problem at a time ok... :) :)
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#9
Gene7887

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Popped in the new battery, when it turned on and did the Auto IDE config scan, when I went into the BIOS setup, it showed that the device was recognized and listed the correct make and model number of the drive. I restarted the computer, and when it rebooted the Secondary Drive not found message came up again, and the setup showed Unknown Device again. This is getting bizarre. Love when computer problems happen intermittently. Makes it a lot harder to come up with a diagnosis.

EDIT: Realized I hadn't reset the default BIOS settings. After that it still gave the "Performing automatic IDE configuration..." message, but then skipped straight to the XP loading screen without showing the IDE settings or prompting for a setup. Maybe because I had the CD set to boot first before the Hard drive? Will keep tinkering and reporting back if I can get into device manager to see if any changes are there. It is still taking a REALLY long time to boot up, 2-3 minutes each time. Don't know if this will decrease now that the battery is replaced and the settings will (hopefully) be stored now.

EDIT 2: Drive does not show up in device manager. No mention of any optical drives. Secondary IDE channel does show up and reports that it is working fine.

EDIT 3: Performed full shut down, let it rest for a few min, then turned it back on. Was at the XP load screen before the monitor (a Samsung LCD TV) turned back on, so that answers my fast booting question. No IDE scanning. However, there is still no optical drive or cd drive mention anywhere in device manager, and now the Secondary IDE channel is also missing from device manager. In addition to that, the activity light on the drive is flickering away happily again after a long stretch of darkness. The only way to describe the flicker is that it is constant, with no sounds coming from the drive indicating actual activity or access from the computer, and pushing the eject button has no effect whatsoever. The drive does not show up in My Computer either. I am going to try to download and install the drivers from Samsung again (CDRW drive maker) before bed. Thanks all again for your help with this, I truly appreciate it. And I'm sure my old Dell does too, finding a third life now as a future HTPC.

EDIT 4: Couldn't install the drivers as the drive was not found. Did, however, try uninstalling the Intel ® 8280 ata controllers and rebooting. When I did this Windows found the Secondary IDE Channel in device manager but listed it with the yellow exclamation mark. Rebooted and the Secondary Channel is now there. I also went back into the BIOS setup again. Looked at the disk settings, saw that the secondary channel was listed as OFF there. Put it on Auto and it said Unknown device. Haven't looked since I saved the changes and restarted. So I'm not sure if it was the Intel controller uninstall or the BIOS settings that made the secondary IDE show up, but I'm not that concerned. What was odd was on the boot after the BIOS settings change was that startup was slow as molasses again.

Edited by Gene7887, 16 November 2009 - 01:39 AM.

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#10
rshaffer61

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Good investigative work on your part. :)
It is really looking like the secondary IDE is the problem.
If the settings do not hold then you very well could be looking at a bad controller.
You are saving the settings when you work in the bios correct?
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#11
Gene7887

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Yes I am saving the settings.
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#12
rshaffer61

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The other option is that the bios is not holding the settings which could be a low cmos battery.
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#13
Gene7887

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Ok, I've picked this task back up again after a few weeks of ignoring it. To bring anyone/everyone up to speed:

Tonight I tried that trick of uninstalling the Secondary IDE Controller in Device Manager again. It worked, albeit fleetingly. The computer rebooted and not only did the BIOS see the drive, but Windows recognized the CD/DVD drive, showed it in Device Manager, AND installed the necessary drivers for my CD Drive. My optimism was quickly dashed though, as the driver install process required a reboot. When I restarted the computer, nothing was detected once again, not in the BIOS, not in Device Manager, and not in My Computer. The activity light has never come on through any of this, even when the system identified the drive. I am going to try one last round of the trick before deciding on one of the following:

1) Purchase a new IDE cable. If the cable itself is the problem, this is a quick fix. If it is not the cable but the controller, I can slave the CD drive to the HD. It will not be an ideal setup but at least I know now that the mobo is starting to go and I have some closure.

2) Purchase a new drive. Call Dell to see if I cannot get an exact replacement drive. If this works, the drive was fried and the new one will help me reinstall XP. If not, hey! Shiny new thing that spins!

3) Last, and unfortunately least, take it to a "professional" (NOT Geek Squad... I'm sure there are competent GS'ers out there, and I love the show Chuck, but the vast majority have no clue what is going on) and have that person deal with it.

The good news is that my basement is being renovated to become a media/breakout room, and one of the features is planned to be an HTPC of some sort - hopefully of the already-existing variety. Again, all thoughts and help is appreciated.
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#14
rshaffer61

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Your steps are very precise and thorough. This would be the most beneficial approach as you will start with the least expensive method and take out any doubt of there being a problem.
Instead of purchasing a new cdrom drive I still suggest you borrow one just for testing purposes to determine if the drive is bad or not.
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#15
Gene7887

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So I got my hands on a new IDE cable. I was going to slave the optical drive to the HD. Luckily for me, I made an interesting discovery I'm upset I didn't notice until I got to this point. The drive itself has what I believe is a slim ATAPI port. Dell installed a proprietary adapter it seems to connect through IDE. I did a quick Google and found that they make adapters. Cost will determine whether I try an adapter, I haven't looked beyond whether or not they exist. BUT, this did prompt me to try switching the connections, to see what would happen. So I plugged the optical into the primary, and the HD into the secondary. System booted, albeit slowly as it had been doing before. Therefore, the secondary IDE channel is fine and I can breathe a sigh of relief, as this may yet turn out to be a cheap(ish) fix. I'm attaching pictures because I'm not 100% sure what I'm looking at is slim ATAPI, if you could maybe confirm it for me that would be awesome. I really had never heard of this connector before looking up what it could be, so if this is something else, that would be helpful in looking for a fix.

Male Connector:
http://dl.dropbox.co...P...6 56 AM.jpg
Female connector on drive:
http://dl.dropbox.co...P...6 41 AM.jpg
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