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Windows drive-reading problem


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#1
SarChasm

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First up, hi, and a note of admiration for this site and the whole concept of it. While I'm nowhere near as knowledgeable as some of you guys, I hope that in time I'll be able to contribute and help out as I'm hoping you'll be able to help me! Now, onto my problem :tazz:

The problem is this: my machine doesn't recognise CDs (or DVDs, for that matter), and USB flash drives, unless they've been in the drives / plugged in since startup. This also goes for my digital camera, too. If I put a CD in either of my drives (more on specs and stuff later), My Computer just sits there, and when I double-click the drive icon, it tells me that the disk in drive <letter>:\ is not formatted. Same with the flash drive or digital camera.

Time for a few specs:
I'm running Windows 2000, fully Service Pack'd up to SP4 and updated up to scratch (bar an IE update which I haven't bothered with because I don't use IE, being a Firefox fanboy).
The two DVD drives in question are on the same IDE cable, with an NEC ND-2510a set as Master and a JLMS XJ-HD1665 as Slave. I've flashed the firmware for the JLMS, and I have a firmware update for the NEC which I haven't done yet (I'll explain why later). The only other bit of info that I could see would be relevent is that my motherboard is an ASUS A7V8X-X.

Now, I have a fair bit of computer knowledge - heck (that's some strong word filter you have here!), I put this PC together myself, and I know that everything's plugged in and set up right. After getting mightily peeved with the whole thing, I decided I'd try to fix it. So I uninstalled both DVD drives in Windows and rebooted. It did its whole "being-irritating" shenanigans, as Windows does - rebooted the required millions of times - and oh dear, it's not recognising the NEC's existence now. (This is why I haven't been able to flash the NEC firmware.) At least not in My Computer - it's listed in Device Manager, though. So I take it a step further, and not only uninstall both drives (again), I uninstall the entire IDE controller for that channel. Reboot, reinstall, blah blah - still the same problem. Finally I do a full-blown Windows Repair from the CD. Does it fix it? Of course it doesn't.

So I've actually taken a step backwards in trying to sort this out. I've gone from having two DVD drives that don't like disks that haven't been there since startup, to only one of them being recognised - and still the same problem. Let alone the similar problem for USB data storage devices.

Now, here's the weird bit. When I go into Disk Management, the NEC drive is still recognised and comes up as "Online" (screenshot below). If there's been a disc in there since startup, it'll even show that there's a <howevermany>MB volume there. (Even more weirdly, if I then take the disk out and hit Refresh, it still shows the disc as being there.) When I try to right-click on the disk and assign a drive letter (because there currently isn't one assigned - I guess this is why it's not coming up in My Computer), it tells me "The operation did not complete because the partition/volume is not enabled. Please reboot the computer to enable the partition/volume." Except that when I do reboot, it makes no difference.
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One other thing - I know this is a problem with Windows, not the hardware itself. I know this because I dualboot Windows 2000 with Mandrake Linux 9.1, and Linux has absolutely no problems with either my USB drives or CD/DVD discs. And I've just tested the JLMS drive by putting in an audio CD and playing it through Winamp - it works. CDEx can see it's an audio CD and lists the tracks, and it even comes up as an Audio CD in Explorer. In fact, CDEx can even see that there's a data track there. Even more weirdly, Nero lets me select the NEC drive to burn to, even though Explorer doesn't see it.

The Windows troubleshooter, in its infinite helpfulness, talks about Windows not liking having more than 2 IDE devices. I have three - my hard disc (which is itself partitioned into five - one for Windows System, one for data storage, three for Linux), and the two DVD drives. This wasn't a problem before, although it's always been temperamental at times, which I accepted as coming part and parcel with running Windows - but could this be the cause of my hassle?

I'm tempted to point the finger at Windows not recognising dynamic volumes (that is, stuff wot can be plugged in and out and change around). I know AutoPlay hasn't ever worked since this all started (and I've had this trouble for ages, it's only since I've begun trying to fix it that things have really gone down the pan). So, I'm after two solutions - firstly, getting Windows to recognise my NEC DVD drive again (it's my DVD-RW drive and I'm missing it greatly already ;)); secondly, getting it to recognise discs/USB drives as I plug them in rather than having to reboot every time I want to put a different CD in.

When I do computer problems, I do them well ;) Any clues?

[edit:] This might actually be better suited to the Windows issues section...feel free to move it if it is...sorry.

Edited by SarChasm, 17 May 2005 - 11:30 AM.

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#2
anoobrew

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I recommend buying XP or maybe a new computer
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#3
SarChasm

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Thanks for your "recommendation", but I see no reason why I should go to the trouble and expense of buying and installing an entire new operating system just because of one minor technical problem. As for buying a new computer...do you go and buy a new house every time the shower head gets clogged up with limescale? Clearly not, unless you're a fool. Not while packets of descaler are freely available in all good hardware stores, at any rate.
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#4
audioboy

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wow, that is one STRANGE problem youve got there.
I appreciate the details you listed as to what youve tried, etc. that saves a lot of the usual "have you done this and this and this" posts.
OK. to tell you the truth, its pretty much got me baffled. my first idea is to get the windows IE 6.1 updates and service packs for that. even though you dont use IE, explorer is so embedded in windows that it could be causing some grief. this is my best guess...

like you said, it has to be windows, since it all works fine in linux.

have you checked out the microsoft.com knowledge base? they still support win2K, so there may be some answers there.

I was gonna say check the BIOS, but then figured they work in linux, the problem wont be there...
hmmm. perhaps uninstall the NEC in windows, power down, disconnect it completely, boot into safe mode, make sure any references to that drive are gone (might have to dig thru the registry, but with the drive disconnected it should go away), then power down again and hook it back up.

my only other idea would be to try a totally clean install of the OS onto one of your other partitions, assuming you dont have anything in the other non linux partition (or can back it up to a USB drive, or burn it to a cd thru linux).

I wish I could be of more help to you, but I dont have a solid answer on this. sounds like you know a fair amount about PC's yourself, and have done all the usual steps to fix these problems.
you might find some better help in the windows OS forums. I cant move threads, but to save the trouble of having to retype your whole initial post, you could start a new thread there, with a brief description of the problem, then include a link to this thread.

you have got me perplexed with this...if the answer comes in another thread, would you post it here? this sounds like it could turn out to be one of those arcane windows fixes that would be good to know!
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