I too have a computer problem that's going to need some expertise.
Machine is an Alienware laptop - 3years old. P4-2.4g. 512m ram. 40g HD. OEM install XP-pro, (recently upgraded to SP2 by disk)
For the past 3 or 4 months, intermittently the machine would not recognize the CD-rom upon boot. Sometimes it would, after I had opened the tray, and restarted. Sometmes not.
The last time it did was about 4 weeks ago, when I did the SP2 upgrade. At that time, the CDrom showed up as drive "H" in windows explorer. It showed up in Manage Disks, (right click My Computer, manage, disks) but showed "inactive" or "empty" or some such. I forced the drive letter back to D, the disk worked, and I did the SP2 upgrade.
Prior to that I had done a ghost onto a USB hard drive w/ 4 partitions (which had shown up as D, E, F, G) - thus forcing the CD out to H.
For the past 3 weeks the CD doesn't show up at all on boot. It's not in windows explorer, it's not in disk manage, it's not in my computer.
Last time I saw it, I did check the drivers, and they were showing "functioning properly" or something like that.
I just installed a brand new actual drive - Teac DW244-E - thinking that might be the problem. Nope.
Problem now is I can't even format and reinstall from CD, because I can't see the CD. There's no reason to go back to the old Ghost image until I have some indication that's going to really help the situation.
BTW, Norton Internet Security suite 2004 running. Antivirus check every disk read/write. SpyBot & AdAware. All 3 of these updated and run every weekend. DSL w/ router firewall on. Hardwired.
I'll send cookies (chocolate chip OK?) if we can figure this out.