Otis F. Cooper

Article Summary:

How to troubleshoot problems with your CD Rom drive.

Troubleshoot Your CD Rom Drive

There is no simple electronic diagnostics that exist for the CD-ROM drive. You can ensure that all connections seated correctly and that the jumpers or DIP switches are in the right position and problems will still occur. You can check edge connectors and chips on the expansion cards and check to see if the circuits are complete, but most disk drives will still find a way to malfunction or stop working altogether.

Many troubleshooting procedures may have simple solutions. Make it a practice to start with the easiest problem solving techniques first. You will be shocked at the many hours lost in troubleshooting simply because of one overlooked procedure.

Let's start with the obvious troubleshooting steps and go on from there. Remember, always and forever, to remove ESD or Electrostatic Discharge by grounding yourself before touching any of the components within the computer.

The CD-ROM does not respond with no power light
First try rebooting the system since it is possible the controller or power connection may have failed.

If the CD-ROM drive failed after rebooting, remove the system unit cover after unplugging the PC and disconnecting all peripherals. Locate the CDROM drive, disconnect the power connector. Check for power by connecting the spare connector to the drive.

If the drive works, the connector is faulty. If the drive does not work, use a multimeter to check for power to the drive. If the drive does not work and there is power from the power supply, the drive is bad and should be replaced. If the multimeter reveals no power at the connector, use the spare connector and realize that the power supply is slowly going bad.

The CDROM Fails With The Power Light On
With the power light on, we know the drive is receiving power. We turn our attention to the drive's Ribbon Cable. Check the cable to be sure it is secure to the drive. If so, disconnect the cable and look at the connector at the rear of the drive for bent or broken pins. If possible, connect a known good Ribbon Cable and see if the drive works.

If the drive fails to work with another cable, check to see if the drive's jumper is set to slave instead of master.

The CDROM Drive has stopped working
First check the cdrom for dirt. A dirty CD will cause the drive to fail. If cleaning the CD does not correct the problem, try reinstalling the Device Drivers. Reinstalling the device drivers can sometimes be done from your setup cdrom or from a diskette. Check your documentation to find how to install these drivers.

Take a look at your config.Sys and also your Autoexec.bat files to be sure the cdrom drive is being loaded into memory. Look for a line in the Config.Sys file something like this...
     DEVICEHIGH=C:\MTMCDAI.SYS /D:123

And there should be a file similar to this in your computer's autoexec.bat file...
     C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE /D:123

If you have worked in the system unit, check for any loose connections at the drive and controller.

Getting your cdrom running when it fails can most likely be corrected simply by cleaning the CD-ROM and/or checking to see if the device drivers are loaded into memory. Be sure to check drive cables and connections when troubleshooting your CD-ROM drive.

Otis F. Cooper is the author of the award winning PC Super Pack, the Computer Training By Video course. For hundreds more free PC repair tips,sign-up for his bi-monthly newsletter and learn computer repair at www.ultimate pc repair.com.

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