dvd-rw drive disappeared.

Dell / Dimension 9100...
March 19, 2009 at 13:19:51
Specs: Windows XP
i have a dell dimension 9100 w/ xp home edition. i tried swapping one dvd drive for another thinking one was bad. i reinstalled my original dvd drive & the tray opens but the drive does not show up in my computer. also, i use mozilla firefox. i am very computer illiterate, so talk to me like im a caveman, haha. please help!!!

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March 19, 2009 at 14:41:30
The drive connection the optical drive is connected to must be enabled in the mboard's bios Setup - e.g. detection set to Auto by the method Auto. If you're not sure which one it's connected to, set them all to Auto - Auto.

You need to jumper IDE drives correctly, and in some cases connect them to a specific connector.
See response 1

Optical (CD and DVD) drives do not last forever.
Usually the first thing that makes then unusable is the sleeve bearings in the motor deteriorate to the point the motor can no longer spin at even 1X speed (the original audio CD speed), or the friction in the bearings is too great and the motor no longer spins at all. and when that happens the mboard bios and Windows cannot recognize a CD in a drive,
It's for that reason CD and DVD drives have not had more more a one year warranty for a long time, since there were only 4X CDrom drives.

Sometimes the laser or it's circuits burn out. Burner drives have at least two lasers - sometimes one of them or it's circuits burn out.

Sometimes the logic board on the optical drive frys - in that case, sometimes that causes long delays while booting, and if there is another drive on the data cable neither drive may be recognzed by the mboard bios or Windows.

Many desktop optical drives have a rubber belt in the mechanism that ejects and retracts the tray - you can often see it when the tray is ejected without a CD in it just inside the front - if that breaks it can't eject and retact the tray - you can often use a rubber band of a suitable size to fix that, after having inserted a long slender stiff wire in the hole most optical drives have for manually unlocking the tray so it can be pulled out by hand.

The data cable connection doesn't have to be working properly or even be connected in order for the tray to be able to eject or retract, or for the led on the front of the drive to light up when a disk is inserted All that's required is for the power plug to be attached, the power supply to be working properly, and for the computer to be running..
The drive is dead under those circumstances
- if it won't eject or retract the tray and there's nothing wrong with the mechanism or the rubber belt
- if the led never lights up on the front of it when you insert a disk and retract the tray
- if the led stays on for a long longer than usual, or goes on and off for a lot longer than usual, when you insert a disk with data on it in the drive the drive is capable of reading.

However, if the power supply is NOT working correctly, it can appear that the optical drive is no good, and the mboard bios and Windows may not detect the drive in that case.

Failing power supplies are common and can cause your symptoms.
Check your PS.
See the part about checking the current voltages in your bios Setup.
See response 4 in this:

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