Where are my optical drives?


M

mm

Where are my optical drives?

The Dell Dimension 4700 with XP Home that I'm trying to refurbish has
a DVD reader and a CD writer, made in 2004, but neither show up in
Windows Explorer. Also with CMD, D: is not a valid drive.

But the lights on both drives blink on and off like they should at
system start up. First one, then the other, then iirc each one in turn
again.

I've wiggled the data connections, and I've removed the drives and
they are both set to CS, cable select. I thought I read in something
from Dell that one should be master and one slave but in the notes for
this particular computer, it says CS for both.

Looking in the BIOS, they aren't listed either, and I see no place to
turn them on. Although there is a line in the boot sequence list
that lists: internal or USB CD drives.

When I tried to boot from Hiren's Boot Disk, it worked in neither
interenal drive, but would work if I plugged into a USB port an
adaptor made by Rosewill with a CD drive plugged into that. (When
there is a USB drive plugged in, an entry for it appears in the boot
sequence list that shows up when one presses F12 during booting, and
it did with the external drive, but with just the two internal drives,
no such line in the boot list.)

I tried another old CD drive that worked a couple days ago, and it
blinks too, but doesn't show in windows Explorer.

Might it be the flat data cable? A broken mobo? Anything else?
 
Ad

Advertisements

B

BillW50

In
mm said:
Where are my optical drives?

The Dell Dimension 4700 with XP Home that I'm trying to refurbish has
a DVD reader and a CD writer, made in 2004, but neither show up in
Windows Explorer. Also with CMD, D: is not a valid drive.

But the lights on both drives blink on and off like they should at
system start up. First one, then the other, then iirc each one in turn
again.

I've wiggled the data connections, and I've removed the drives and
they are both set to CS, cable select. I thought I read in something
from Dell that one should be master and one slave but in the notes for
this particular computer, it says CS for both.

Looking in the BIOS, they aren't listed either, and I see no place to
turn them on. Although there is a line in the boot sequence list
that lists: internal or USB CD drives.

When I tried to boot from Hiren's Boot Disk, it worked in neither
interenal drive, but would work if I plugged into a USB port an
adaptor made by Rosewill with a CD drive plugged into that. (When
there is a USB drive plugged in, an entry for it appears in the boot
sequence list that shows up when one presses F12 during booting, and
it did with the external drive, but with just the two internal drives,
no such line in the boot list.)

I tried another old CD drive that worked a couple days ago, and it
blinks too, but doesn't show in windows Explorer.

Might it be the flat data cable? A broken mobo? Anything else?

I was all set to blame and say you probably have bad internal drives.
But after a known good one failed after a few days. Ouch! I dunno, but I
think I would swap out the power supply and start there. If that didn't
work maybe the mobo. Cables yes, I would swap them out and probably the
first thing I would do.
 
M

mm

In

I was all set to blame

I deserve to be blamed. I've done and thought a lot of bad things and
I want to be punished. Not just a spare computer that doesn't work
but real punishment. What should I do?
and say you probably have bad internal drives.

I almost posted before trying another drive, but I knew what you would
say.

BTW, there is no entry in Device Manager for CD/DVD drives or anything
else that means that.

(USB external drives are not listed or listed in the USB section.)
But after a known good one failed after a few days.

Just for the record, the old drive worked a couple days ago when
connected as a USB drive, but it never worked at all when connected
today as an internal drive.
Ouch! I dunno, but I
think I would swap out the power supply and start there. If that didn't
work maybe the mobo. Cables yes, I would swap them out and probably the
first thing I would do.

Okay.
 
P

Paul

mm said:
Where are my optical drives?

The Dell Dimension 4700 with XP Home that I'm trying to refurbish has
a DVD reader and a CD writer, made in 2004, but neither show up in
Windows Explorer. Also with CMD, D: is not a valid drive.

But the lights on both drives blink on and off like they should at
system start up. First one, then the other, then iirc each one in turn
again.

I've wiggled the data connections, and I've removed the drives and
they are both set to CS, cable select. I thought I read in something
from Dell that one should be master and one slave but in the notes for
this particular computer, it says CS for both.

Looking in the BIOS, they aren't listed either, and I see no place to
turn them on. Although there is a line in the boot sequence list
that lists: internal or USB CD drives.

When I tried to boot from Hiren's Boot Disk, it worked in neither
interenal drive, but would work if I plugged into a USB port an
adaptor made by Rosewill with a CD drive plugged into that. (When
there is a USB drive plugged in, an entry for it appears in the boot
sequence list that shows up when one presses F12 during booting, and
it did with the external drive, but with just the two internal drives,
no such line in the boot list.)

I tried another old CD drive that worked a couple days ago, and it
blinks too, but doesn't show in windows Explorer.

Might it be the flat data cable? A broken mobo? Anything else?

Companies like Dell, would use CS jumpering, to speed the assembly
of a computer (all incoming goods at the Dell plant would be CS
and the staff assemble them, without looking at the jumpers).
Master and slave is an alternative that you can test, if you're having
a problem. With one drive, it's master, and the drive goes on the end
of the cable. With two drives, one must be master and the other slave.

You should really test the optical drives, one at a time, as master
and at the end of the ribbon cable. That's in case one optical drive
is blown, and is preventing communications with the other optical drive.

To make CS work, you typically need an 80 wire cable. If you're using
a 40 wire cable, they don't support CS. So you might verify you're using
a cable with the slightly thinner looking wires. Software can detect
the 40 wire cable, at least some of the time, and will restrict maximum
data rate if the 40 wire is found. The 80 wire has better signal integrity,
and is allowed to run up to Ultra 133.

If a power supply "blew" in the computer at some point, an overvoltage
from the event, could damage all drives in the computer. You'd have to
review the service history, to see if that was a possibility, pop the
drive into another computer and test it. If the drive tests good over
there, then it could be the controller on the Dimension 4700 is fried.
A long shot, would be using the "clear CMOS" procedure - sometimes
a corruption of the CMOS settings storage area, can result in flaky
operation of the BIOS. Clearing the CMOS would remove all custom
settings, but in some cases might cause a drive to re-appear. Always
unplug the computer, when doing "clear CMOS".

Paul
 
P

Paul

edfair said:
Try a google search for missing optical drives. You'll link to sites
that describe the registry key that gets corrupted and causes them to
disappear.

Your blinking lights are normal to the drive, regardless of whether the
OS can see them or not.

If your bios is set for CD boot it would take a key press at the proper
time to get the drive to boot.

This is speculation based on the descriptions you gave.

In the original post, it says:

"Looking in the BIOS, they aren't listed either"

which suggests a hardware issue. If they showed in the BIOS,
then it would be "registry time".

Paul
 
Ad

Advertisements

M

mm

Thanks. I'm reading them now.

One of them reminds me of a question I never asked. I'm starting a
new thread in a couple minutes.
IAWTP :)

Good luck 'mm'

Thank you. "I am working to perfection." "I am wrought though
powerful." "I am with the plan." ??
 
M

mm

This looked like a real good lead. I went to the registry address
listed, and it did have upperfilters and lowerfilters, and I'd taken a
restore point but nstead of deleting them, I renamed them
wasupperfilters and waslowerfilters. That should be enough, right.

And the computer does have itunes, which it lists as one of the
programs that could ruin the CD drive (what a program!)

But it didn't help.

Getting the optical drives to work is more important than the other
issues (which I fix in order to practice fixing.

But if the mobo is bad, I'm probably not going to want to convert this
computer to my own use. I'm busy now but I'll get to the optical
drives again soon, I hope.
Thanks. I'm reading them now.

One of them reminds me of a question I never asked. I'm starting a
new thread in a couple minutes.


Thank you. "I am working to perfection." "I am wrought though
powerful." "I am with the plan." ??

I googled it. "I agree with that post"
 
M

mm

In the original post, it says:

"Looking in the BIOS, they aren't listed either"

which suggests a hardware issue. If they showed in the BIOS,
then it would be "registry time".

good point.

Something already on the web said to remove the CMOS battery for a few
hours. I sort of doubt this will help, but it's easy to do.

BTW, when I have the USB CD-drive connected, Device manager shows it.

And Dell has a utility partition with utilities that test almost
everything. The one exception seems to be optical drives.

The computer has no IDE hard drives. Maybe I should connect one, to
the one and only ide port, and see if the HD testing utility tests it.

I guess I'll try that too.
 
M

mm

Where are my optical drives?

The Dell Dimension 4700 with XP Home that I'm trying to refurbish has
a DVD reader and a CD writer, made in 2004, but neither show up in
Windows Explorer. Also with CMD, D: is not a valid drive.

But the lights on both drives blink on and off like they should at
system start up. First one, then the other, then iirc each one in turn
again.

I'm told this doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean Setup or the OS
knows about them.
I've wiggled the data connections, and I've removed the drives and
they are both set to CS, cable select. I thought I read in something
from Dell that one should be master and one slave but in the notes for
this particular computer, it says CS for both.

Looking in the BIOS, they aren't listed either, and I see no place to
turn them on. Although there is a line in the boot sequence list
that lists: internal or USB CD drives.

When I tried to boot from Hiren's Boot Disk, it worked in neither
interenal drive, but would work if I plugged into a USB port an
adaptor made by Rosewill with a CD drive plugged into that. (When
there is a USB drive plugged in, an entry for it appears in the boot
sequence list that shows up when one presses F12 during booting, and
it did with the external drive, but with just the two internal drives,
no such line in the boot list.)

When there is a USB CD drive plugged in, it also removes the label of
"not present" from the line in the Dell setup boot sequence list that
refers to "internal and USB CD drives", at least it removes it after
first booting to windows and then going to setup next time.
I tried another old CD drive that worked a couple days ago, and it
blinks too, but doesn't show in windows Explorer.

Might it be the flat data cable? A broken mobo? Anything else?

I replaced the OEM data cable, which on this 7 year old machine has
nothing indicating it's 80 conductor, with an old flat cable of my
own, and put only one CD on it, which I jumpered as Master. This
didn't help.

I read Peter's post -- thank you Peter -- and followed the
instructions at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982116 , and sure
enough, the two "bad" keys referred to were just where it predicted
they would be. Although I didn't delete the keys, just renamed them.
Even though the computer did have Itunes, one of the devilish programs
mentioned in the KB article, this didn't help.

I downloaded to another computer the various Dell Drivers, burned them
to a CD, and installed the Chipset one first. Then I went to install
the utilities drivers, a large file which specifically referred to
making the CD/DVD drives work. It wouldnt' install, and googling the
message said the problem was the absence of autoexec.nt, a file I had
never heard of in w\system32. I copied that from my own computer, and
installed the utilities driver file, but that didn't help.

Finally, I removed the CMOS battery and let it sit. When I started it
up without a battery, Dell or XP gave me three warnings and sent me to
Setup, but I continued to XP and ran Windows Explorer. And the CD
drive was there. TADA!

I restarted and this time, it went to XP without stopping, so I had to
interrupt and go to Setup, and in the list of drives there were the
same 5, Floppy, SATA1, SATA2, PATA1, PATA2. The difference was
that PATA1 and 2 were listed as CD Master and CD Slave, when before, I
don't remember but it was less informative, maybe blank (though I
didn't realize what fields shouldn't have been blank). But those two
lines, PATA1 and 2, though mostly blank, were ON all this time that
the drives didn't work. ON is the default. PATA1 also listed the CD
drive model number. A very good sign. :)

I turned it off and put the battery back in, set the time in Setup. I
haven't connected the original CD-writer and DVD-reader yet, but I'm
pretty sure they'll both work, and if they don't, I know how to reset
things now.

It might also have been enough to go to Maintnenance/Reset to Defaults
in the Dell Setup screen. ???

Maybe it would have been enough to turn the drives OFF, then turn them
ON again. ???


So the last problem with this machine is solved. (The elapsed time
was a lot, but the total time taken wasn't so much.)

(Coincidentally, there is a new problem, but I don't much care. It
started running like molasses last night (really. 5 minutes to bring
up Windows Explorer!), after I installed FF4 and redid the IE
connection setttings, fwiw, but I don't care because I'm going to
remove the HDD, copy the email etc. from it to a CD for the friend
(who gave this to me) and her daughter, and put in more memory and
bigger HDDs.)


P&M&M&M because this is an old thread in the XP group and I don't
want you to miss it.

Although BD and Paul, no email copies for you.
 
P

Paul

mm said:
I'm told this doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean Setup or the OS
knows about them.

When there is a USB CD drive plugged in, it also removes the label of
"not present" from the line in the Dell setup boot sequence list that
refers to "internal and USB CD drives", at least it removes it after
first booting to windows and then going to setup next time.


I replaced the OEM data cable, which on this 7 year old machine has
nothing indicating it's 80 conductor, with an old flat cable of my
own, and put only one CD on it, which I jumpered as Master. This
didn't help.

I read Peter's post -- thank you Peter -- and followed the
instructions at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982116 , and sure
enough, the two "bad" keys referred to were just where it predicted
they would be. Although I didn't delete the keys, just renamed them.
Even though the computer did have Itunes, one of the devilish programs
mentioned in the KB article, this didn't help.

I downloaded to another computer the various Dell Drivers, burned them
to a CD, and installed the Chipset one first. Then I went to install
the utilities drivers, a large file which specifically referred to
making the CD/DVD drives work. It wouldnt' install, and googling the
message said the problem was the absence of autoexec.nt, a file I had
never heard of in w\system32. I copied that from my own computer, and
installed the utilities driver file, but that didn't help.

Finally, I removed the CMOS battery and let it sit. When I started it
up without a battery, Dell or XP gave me three warnings and sent me to
Setup, but I continued to XP and ran Windows Explorer. And the CD
drive was there. TADA!

I restarted and this time, it went to XP without stopping, so I had to
interrupt and go to Setup, and in the list of drives there were the
same 5, Floppy, SATA1, SATA2, PATA1, PATA2. The difference was
that PATA1 and 2 were listed as CD Master and CD Slave, when before, I
don't remember but it was less informative, maybe blank (though I
didn't realize what fields shouldn't have been blank). But those two
lines, PATA1 and 2, though mostly blank, were ON all this time that
the drives didn't work. ON is the default. PATA1 also listed the CD
drive model number. A very good sign. :)

I turned it off and put the battery back in, set the time in Setup. I
haven't connected the original CD-writer and DVD-reader yet, but I'm
pretty sure they'll both work, and if they don't, I know how to reset
things now.

It might also have been enough to go to Maintnenance/Reset to Defaults
in the Dell Setup screen. ???

Maybe it would have been enough to turn the drives OFF, then turn them
ON again. ???


So the last problem with this machine is solved. (The elapsed time
was a lot, but the total time taken wasn't so much.)

(Coincidentally, there is a new problem, but I don't much care. It
started running like molasses last night (really. 5 minutes to bring
up Windows Explorer!), after I installed FF4 and redid the IE
connection setttings, fwiw, but I don't care because I'm going to
remove the HDD, copy the email etc. from it to a CD for the friend
(who gave this to me) and her daughter, and put in more memory and
bigger HDDs.)


P&M&M&M because this is an old thread in the XP group and I don't
want you to miss it.

Although BD and Paul, no email copies for you.

I would think the "CMOS clearing" from removing the battery, is what
eventually did it. But when you retest with the optical drives in
place again, you'll know for sure.

On a retail motherboard, you'd be able to enter the BIOS "drives" page and
see identification information. That consists of a text string which
is read from a drive (optical or HDD), and is a basic test of communications
on the IDE or SATA cable. If you can't get that string to appear, then
there are several possible reasons, but one of them seems to be garbage
in the CMOS.

The CMOS is 256 bytes of memory in the Southbridge, which is "battery backed"
by the CMOS coin cell. A number of the lower memory locations in there, are
standardized. You can find a web page with definitions of what those
locations control. The upper part of the CMOS is undocumented, and can
contain virtually anything. Apparently, even software running on the
computer, can get in there and mess around. As a consequence, there is
a remote possibility, that two things will use the same location in the CMOS
at the same time, with weird results.

The lower part of the CMOS (when you find that web page with the definitions)
is protected by two checksums. One checksum protects the password area, while
the other checksum protects the remaining bytes. That would lead to a "checksum
error", in the event of corruption of lower locations. But for any of the
rest of the CMOS (where I don't know if any standards or defacto standards
exist), just about anything could happen.

*******

When things are more back to normal, if you're still experiencing "molasses",
the next thing I'd check is whether the system claims to be in PIO or DMA
mode. PIO or polled I/O mode, results in slow 4 to 7MB/sec transfer rates
to or from the hard drive. That can result in a perceived slowness (because the
CPU is pretty busy transferring data, a piece at a time). Checking
with the free version of HDTune (benchmark test) is a quick way to detect
PIO. On a "normal" HDD, the HDTune benchmark is a curve, while in PIO mode
the result is a flat line at 4MB/sec.

The computer also has things like "SpeedStep", which is the ability to slow
the CPU clock when the system is idle. But I doubt that would give you
the molasses effect.

There was an incident with some Dell products, that became known as "ThrottleGate".
I can't find any copies of the nice document provided by "Tinkerdude", which
is an excellent review of techniques for checking hardware operating speed.
So this would be an example of a way to slow a machine to a crawl, by
abusing the facilities offered by the hardware. As far as I know, there are only
a few models that are affected by this.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/12/01/...erheating-and-underclockin/comments/23634969/

Paul
 
Ad

Advertisements

M

mm

I would think the "CMOS clearing" from removing the battery, is what
eventually did it. But when you retest with the optical drives in
place again, you'll know for sure.

That won't be for a few weeks. Nope, I did it tonight, and it finds
both CDs, and even tried to boot from one of them. I forget to try
connecting them as CS, however, as they were when I got the computer.

When CS works, is it better, the same, or not as good as Master/Slave?

Thanks a lot for what efollows. Again I wanted to reply without
without waiting utnil I finished absorbing all this and the link.
 
B

Ben Myers

The same FWIH.

Not exactly. The industry could not come up with a single standard
for IDE drive cabling, so it did TWO.

Master-Slave originally required a cable that has continuous wire
leads from one end to the other. One can jumper either drive as
master or as slave, but the two drives cannot both be jumpered the
same way. If one of the drives is jumpered as CS, good luck.

Cable Select requires a cable with one wire lead cut through. With a
cable select cable, both drives are typically jumpered as cable
select, and the motherboard IDE hardware logic figures out which one
is master and which is slave. With the typical cable select cable,
the drive at the other end of the cable from the motherboard is
master, and the drive in the middle is slave.

One can use master-slave jumper settings with a cable select cable as
the settings duplicate the master and slave positions on the cable.

Dell used only cable select type cables for at least the last 12 or 13
years, so all this discussion is academic. With a Dell system, use CS
settings for both drives and you can hardly go wrong. The only time
CS will not work with a Dell is when somebody has snuck a master-slave
cable into the mix.

The major manufacturers almost invariably use cable-select because it
makes the assembly of a computer at the factory just a little more
mindless and foolproof. I still cannot understand why master-slave
cabling ever saw the light of day... Ben Myers
 
Ad

Advertisements

B

Bob Villa

Not exactly.  The industry could not come up with a single standard
for IDE drive cabling, so it did TWO.

Master-Slave originally required a cable that has continuous wire
leads from one end to the other.  One can jumper either drive as
master or as slave, but the two drives cannot both be jumpered the
same way.  If one of the drives is jumpered as CS, good luck.

Cable Select requires a cable with one wire lead cut through.  With a
cable select cable, both drives are typically jumpered as cable
select, and the motherboard IDE hardware logic figures out which one
is master and which is slave.  With the typical cable select cable,
the drive at the other end of the cable from the motherboard is
master, and the drive in the middle is slave.

One can use master-slave jumper settings with a cable select cable as
the settings duplicate the master and slave positions on the cable.

Dell used only cable select type cables for at least the last 12 or 13
years, so all this discussion is academic.  With a Dell system, use CS
settings for both drives and you can hardly go wrong.  The only time
CS will not work with a Dell is when somebody has snuck a master-slave
cable into the mix.

The major manufacturers almost invariably use cable-select because it
makes the assembly of a computer at the factory just a little more
mindless and foolproof.  I still cannot understand why master-slave
cabling ever saw the light of day... Ben Myers

The question was, "If it works, is it better, the same, etc...". Key
phrase being, "If it works". But thanks for the clarification.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top