Is my CD-ROM dead?

I went to put a CD-ROM in my computer the other day and the tray wouldn’t slide out. It’s been acting funny for a while now, opening and closing on its own, only sliding back in half way sometimes. Once or twice the disc tray opened and the disc was still spinning. I’ve just dealt with it.

Now it seems to have died. When I turn the computer on the light doesn’t go on like the floppy disk drive light does. The open button doesn’t work. The icon in My Computer is gone. (This was my first indication that there was a new problem. I thought the disk tray not opening was just more of the same problem.) In the Device Manager the Secondary IDE controller (dual fifo) has an exclamation point in a yellow circle next to it.

Any ideas?

I did a search, and all I found on the SDMB was to look in the Device Manager where I found the exclamation point. I’m running Win 98. I’m not that computer savvy. I think I could replace the CD-ROM drive if neccessary, but if it will screw up my computer I’d rather live without it.

Maybe the power cable came out from the back of it? They are pretty cheap these days.

      • Oh dude you are so screwed… new generic 52X read-only cd-drives cost like $22 these days, you know.

Is your CD-ROM dead? Probably. In my experience, CD-ROM drives fail more often than any other component of a PC. Why? Delicate and complicated media-handling mechanisms. Also, like most modern peripheral devices, a CD-ROM drive has its controller circuitry on a self-contained circuit board, and they seem to fry on CD-ROM’s more quickly and often than on other devices.

Happily, as DougC reports, high-speed CD-ROM drives are pretty darn cheap these days, IF the drive you want to replace is a standard, flat-faced IDE unit. If it’s a SCSI unit or one of the really old drives with a proprietary interface, you could spend a lot more to replace what you have.

You offered no info about your system, but chances are pretty high you can replace your drive pretty inexpensively.

This means that the drive controller on the motherboard is not functioning properly. A perfectly good CD rom drive can’t function if it’s connected to a broken controller. The bad news is that the controller is built into your motherboard. More on that in a sec.

The first thing you need to determine is whether it’s really the controller or the drive that’s gone to the great big bit bucket in the sky. Check under properties for the secondary IDE controller and see what exactly the error is. If it’s something like the controller is disabled in the BIOS or a driver is mucked up, then you need to fix the software not the hardware.

If the properties shows that the device isn’t functioning properly, then we still don’t know if its the drive or the controller. It could be that the controller is munged, or it could be that the CD rom failed in such a way that it is locking up the controller port while it’s attached. Open up the computer (while it’s unplugged of course) and disconnect the data cable going to the CD rom drive, then put the cover back on the computer and start it up. If the controller is still failed, then it’s a problem with the motherboard. If the secondary IDE controller no longer has a problem, then you know for certain that the drive is dead, and as previously mentioned an el-cheapo replacement should get you back up and running in no time.

If the controller is failed, it’s also possible that the drive is failed too. It’s certainly possible that the drive died in such a way that it took out the controller with it when it went.

Well, the mechanical problems sound like my drive… there’s only one motor that both slides the tray and engages the spindle. There are some plastic bits that make that happen that seemed to grind down a bit, with the motor kinda lethargic anyhow. (The company that made it having folded before I bought it clued my in to why.)

I recommend checking the cables, then if that doesn’t work, getting a new drive and taking the old one apart. :slight_smile:

      • Or you could splurge: for $40 you can get a CD-RW, which is all that most walk-in retail stores now carry. CD-RW’s, DVD’s or DVD-RAM’s, or combos like CD-RW+DVD-read. If you want a read-only CD drive you’d probably have to order it special.
  • And if you have a fancy curvy PC case from the likes of Gateway, HP, Compaq or any other such company, a generic drive may not fit at all, if the door/drawer is custom-fitted to the curvy case. Out of curiosity, once I looked up the price on a replacement DVD drive for an older Acer computer I have; they wanted roughly twice the going rate for a generic dvd drive, and theirs didn’t have a front face or drawer door at all… changing the CD drive is easy, if you can put a generic one in, it’s cheap too.

Not if you get a Plextor. Mine has lasted five years. :slight_smile: