Causes of CDROM failure

I’ve got a CompaqUSA PC I ordered customized a few years ago, but ever since about a year after I purchased it the CD drive started to act up. It started by not reading CDs all the time when it should’ve, and then the button it used to open up the CD drive wouldn’t open it anymore. Instead it gave it a slight push, but apparently not enough to open it. I then installed a CD-R drive, which gave me no problems, but then it also started to suffer from occasionaly disfunctionality, and now both of them don’t work at all (except the CD-R still opens at least with the button). I opened up my tower and disconnected and reconnected all of the cables, but that didn’t really fix anything. any ideas?

CD readers die all the time and in my experience I’ve found onboard Compaq CD drives to be especially fragile.

Test them individually (one one on the cable) on it’s on IDE channel (ie do not share channel with the hard drive) - each set to master to check that it’s not master/slave conflict (unlikely). Check the BIOS to make sure the IDE settings aren’t set to some odd ATA or PIO mode parameter that’s giving the drives a bellyache.

Lastly if you want to make sure it’s not an OS issue make a boot disk with CD drivers (98 can do this automatically if you wish under conrol panel/ add remove programs/startup disk) and see if the drives work under DOS.

If you want to replace the CD you can pick up new CDROM for 20. to 25. or so with rebates at Staples etc. For a good, reliable CDRW I recommend Plextor. 16X CDRW’s are down to $ 215 or so. See

The laser eye gets dirty. Get a cleaning cd, they are cheap. Although you can use a can of air & spray that into zee door if you know where that eye is. I used to just open the cd top & clean it but that’s not verypractical when air can do the trick.