CD burner dead after power outage?

Dennis Faas's picture

Side note: Because this Visitor Feedback section deals with computer hardware, both the question and answer are somewhat technical. Even if you're a newbie, you should take the time to read this article: I've done my best to outline and explain the techy-terms in simple English.

Infopackets Reader John T. writes:

" Hi, Dennis!

I'm sure hoping for your help, if you have the time and are up for a challenge. When I turned my computer on after the recent massive power outage ... I discovered I no longer had D (CD ROM) drive -- it disappeared from My Computer under Windows ... The rest of the system seems okay, just not the CD ROM ... The light comes on and I can get the tray to open, but that's it, won't open program, play CD's -- nothing.

I tried un-installing / re-installing [my CD Burner software], DirectCD and Easy CD Creator 4, but that didn't seem to help. The cables and connections have been checked and re-checked, and seem okay. When Windows is loaded, I've clicked Control Panel -> System tools -> System Information -> Components -> Multimedia -> CDROM, but it says there is no device.

[When booting in DOS mode, I get the error message] ... 'Device Driver Not Found: MSCD001 ... and 'No Valid CD ROM Drivers Selected'. Using Diagnostic Tools (SiSoft Sandra and others) advise 'No SCSI Device Found'. In BIOS setup, under Primary Slave, Secondary Master, Secondary Slave-all state [NONE].

Side note: DOS stands for Disk Operating System and is the predecessor Operating System (OS) to Microsoft Windows. A DOS Device Driver makes a CD ROM drive work under the DOS OS. A diagnostic tool is a software program which accesses and inspects hardware (I.E.: the computer and its components). SCSI stands for Small Computer System Interface and is nothing more than a method (or "language") used to communicate between hardware peripherals [components], such as a CD ROM drive and the motherboard.

I've spent an average of 4 hours a day since trying to fix this problem, I've checked the web via Google, Microsoft, Acer, Adaptec, and every source of possible info I can think of ... but to no avail. Any suggestions you might offer would certainly be appreciated. This is driving me nuts! "

My response:

There is a good chance that your CD Burner got zapped during the power outage, or that it simply "died". Things like this happen.

The easiest way to determine if the drive is dead is to plug it into another computer and see if it becomes operational. If the CD ROM works in another machine, then the trouble lies with your computer (or hardware setup). If the drive doesn't work in the other machine, it probably needs to be replaced. In either case, you must ensure that there are no bent connection pins, the unit is plugged in properly, and the IDE cables are in good condition.

If (by chance) the CD ROM *does* work in the other computer, you'll need to determine what might be causing the trouble with your computer through a process of elimination. What I am about to suggest may not be the most correct answer, but should set you on the right track:

  1. Set the computer BIOS to auto-detect on all I/O ports. Save changes and exit the BIOS.
  2. Ensure there are no bent pins in the back of the CD ROM drive or on the motherboard I/O connector.
  3. Ensure that all IDE jumpers are set properly. If the units are chained: one device should be set to Master, and the other Slave. If the device is by itself on a cable, set it as Master.
  4. Ensure that the cables are plugged in properly. On IDE devices, the Red Line on the cable (Pin 1) always faces the power input on the CD ROM unit. On the motherboard, Pin 1 should be labeled -- but most often, the cable will only plug in 1 way.
  5. Try chaining the CD ROM drive to your hard drive on the Primary (Slave) port. It is possible that your Secondary I/O port on your motherboard got zapped as a result of the power outage.
  6. Try another power supply.
  7. Try another motherboard.

Good luck!

Side note: BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System. In the simplest respect, the BIOS is used to identify and manipulate various hardware settings. An I/O port is an Input / Output port. On a typical computer main board (or "motherboard"), there are 2 I/O ports: Primary and Secondary. Each I/O port can group 2 IDE devices: 1 device must be set to Master, and the other to Slave. Similar to SCSI, IDE is another method (or "language") used to communicate between hardware. A jumper is used to connect 2 pins together (RE: picture above). In the case of John T. and his CD burner, a jumper was used to set his CD ROM drive as Master or Slave.

By the way: if you're really interested in computer hardware, you can take a look at this neat-o picture of a typical motherboard. It has some of the features I've discussed in this article:

Wait a sec. Is all of this too technical?

In that case -- you're in luck!

A while back, I put together a downloadable eBook and video tutorial on "How to Install a Hard Drive". In a nutshell, the video (which can be watched on your computer) *shows you* most of what was just discussed. Since an IDE hard drive uses the same interface as a CD ROM, burner, or DVD drive, this video and eBook can be used for multiple purposes.

If you have ever dreamed of upgrading your C drive or ever wanted to know how to split your hard drive into 2 or more drive letters (C, D, E?) -- this video is right up your alley! And don't worry: the video is much easier to understand than what is covered in this article, plus it's a great opportunity to learn more about computer hardware. For more details:

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