CD rom drives do not function

July 3, 2014 at 01:01:32
Specs: Windows 98
I have a custom made pc (2002). It is not connected to the internet and will not be. I have quite a lot of photos and texts which i wd like to store on CDroms. Windows98, there are two drives for CdRoms Acer. On one there is a small green indicatorlamp burning. However I do not see the drive-letters in the directory. The trays do not slide out either. What can I do?
Tks Chris Marteleur

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July 3, 2014 at 01:25:20
Are you sure they're connected correctly? Did they ever work as they are now connected?

If they're connected to the secondary IDE controller on the motherboard make sure that controller is enabled in cmos/bios setup.

Another possibility is they're in compatibly mode. In that case they won't show up in 'my computer'. Usually that happens when you need motherboard drivers for the IDE controllers. You can check in device manager for any yellow ? or ! marks. However that wouldn't explain why the trays don't open.

You can of course view the contents of recorded disks with a cdrom but you can't use a cdrom to record a disk. For that you need a cd burner. I'm not sure what exactly you're intending to do.

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July 3, 2014 at 01:50:36
Many thanks for yr prompt answer. Cabling on the backside was unplugged when the room got a clean-up! I tried to fit everything (printer, mouse, keyboard, screen)but there is one small cable with coaxial(?) plug-ins which I am not sure how to connect, or what is the purpose of this 15cm cable.

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July 3, 2014 at 23:35:00
The rear connections wouldn't affect the cdroms unless they connect externally the way the keyboard and other hardware does. But I'm thinking they're connected inside the computer case. I was just wondering if they previously worked OK or if maybe someone had fiddled around inside the case. If that's possible you'd need to have a look inside and make sure the drive jumpers are correct and the cdroms are properly connected.

Besides that and the other possibilities I mentioned above, one or both of the drives might be bad.

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July 5, 2014 at 16:55:54
Also 2 more things: Make sure you have CD-writers (not just CD-ROMs) if you're planning to store data on discs. They're a little difficult to find now, with DVD-writers pretty much taking over quite a while ago.

Also make sure you have software to burn with. Few continue to support Win98, so make sure you have something compatible...

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

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July 6, 2014 at 01:01:01
Thanks a lot for all the info. I may not have been too clear but the processor unit contains three drives: one for the small floppy disks, one (the Acer drive) to burn data on cd-roms and one cd-rom drive to load programs or music/films? Anyway I try to restore the functioning of the drives which up to now I cannot explain nor can I locate the origin of the fault. The interior has not been tampered with so I assume somewhere the software is no longer properly functioning. If the problem can be solved I'll be glad to communicate how. Anyway thanks a lot for all the help.

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July 6, 2014 at 11:52:05
First check in device manager and see if a problem shows with any hardware there, as I mentioned in my # 1 above. Also check to see if it's in compatibility mode. To do that right click on 'my computer' and choose 'properties' and then open the 'performance' tab. Any drive running in compatibility mode will show there. If a problem shows there STOP and post back what it shows and we can look for drivers.

If all looks OK there then the problem must be hardware related with the drives. It's possible when both drives are on the same cable--as your setup likely is--that when one drive goes bad it can affect the other.

Open up the case and first check the cabling. (When working in the case it's best to disconnect the power cord from the computer as most power supplies provide a small charge to the motherboard even when off. Not enough to shock you but enough to zap components when adding or removing them.) Make sure the 40-pin ribbon cables connecting the drives is firmly attached. Assuming that's OK, then remove the cable from one of the drives leaving just one drive connected.

Then with it disconnected start up the computer and see if the tray on that cd drive now opens and closes. If it does see if it shows in 'my computer' when it boots into windows.

You can do the same with the other drive. If one seems to work and the other doesn't then you know which needs to be replaced.

While doing the above you may need to familiarize yourself with the drive jumpers:

Basically, one drive should be jumpered as master (usually the drive that shows as D:) and the other as slave (E: drive) OR they're both jumpered as cable select and it's their position on the cable that determines their drive letter. However, I think for these testing purposes you won't have to make any changes to the jumper configuration when disconnecting a drive. But you should be aware of how the jumpering is done.

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July 8, 2014 at 01:33:41
The second part: as you suggested I disconnected 1st the Master driver (the Acer) and started up the pc, the drive does not show up then I did the same with the Slave and here the E-drive shows up in the Explorer, clicking on the E: it responds saying the device is not accessible, not responding. The tray did not open. I presume this can be done manually ( inserting a pin in the little hole? A similar hole is maybe the little indent right of the wheel at the side of the tray-door, but I am not sure). The Acerdrive is the Cdrom drive, the topdrive does show only DVD as a logo. Is this conclusive, is the Acerdrive to be replaced?
Thanks oncemore.

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July 8, 2014 at 14:59:24
It sounds like the acer is bad. Possibly it might be the power connector on that drive. Sometimes the contacts get flarred out and don't make a good connection. Try a different connector, either an unused one if there's one available or disconnect the one from the other drive and temporarily try it.

The other drive might show as 'not accessable' in 'my computer' if there wasn't a disk in it. But if the tray won't come out it's not much good to you anyway. Yes, most optical drives have a hole in the front you can push a straightened-out paper clip in to open the tray but that doesn't fix anything. It just allows you to get the disk out. The mechanical problem of the tray not opening will still remain.

If a tray won't open there's no practical fix that's cost effective--you might as well get another drive. What happens is when you put a disk in a cd drive and close the tray the center hub of the drive which is slightly magnetic locks onto the top of the drive holding the disk in place. When you push the button to open the tray it has to first break that magnetic bond. But because the motor, linkage or belts get weak over time they can't break that bond and the tray won't open.

You might try replacing one of the drives and see how the new one works out and then decide if you need a second one.

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July 9, 2014 at 00:47:33
Thanks. Probably it might save a lot of time to seek for either another drive, either another memory solution. There are two usb-ports but the sticks I can buy now with a large memory (two giga or more) don't work on this ancient system, I also have extra harddisks to store data from a laptop, these as well are not compatible with windows 98. If I replace the cdrom drive it will be a temporary solution just to load all the photographs and texts on cdroms which I like to keep and load into a pc. So I wonder if such a drive might be used afterwards on other pc's and at the same time I don't want to spend a lot of money. Please advise maybe which cdrom drive to buy.
Thanks and best regards

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July 9, 2014 at 01:28:36
A regular cdrom should be cheap on ebay. A DVD drive would work too. A used one would be fine if they guarantee it worked. It just needs to have the IDE/atapi interface and not the newer SATA type.

I don't really have a brand perference. So many seem to crap out after a short time. The best ones I ever worked with were old Toshiba cdroms. They were in the 12X - 16X range and came with a lot of Gateway pentium I computers. I don't think I ever found a bad one of those.

Oh, about the tray not opening. If it is the magnetic lock that's doing that you can remove the cover of the cdrom . This prevents it from locking onto the hub so often the tray will open. If you're only using it temporarily that might work out.

Cdroms vary but usually the best way to open one up is to have the tray slightly out--you might need the paperclip thing to do that. Then usually on the bottom of the drive there are 4 screws. Take those out and that should release the top cover. The plastic front/bezel of the drive is usually snapped onto the top cover. Use a screwdriver and carefully press the plastic tabs in to remove them from the cover. (Having the tray slightly out allows you to move the bezel out of the way so the cover can be removed.)

Then connect it to a power connector, turn on the computer and try the open/close button.

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