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Optical drives acting strange

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  • Optical Media
  • Motherboards
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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August 18, 2006 11:53:37 AM

I actually thought this to be a Motherboard issue so I had posted my problem on that part of the forums.

Turns out the problem is not connected to the MB, so I am posting my thread here. Plus I am sure the person in the MB forums didn't want me hijacking his thread with my problem to begin with...

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Well actually, I used a different disk and now everything is ok but for some reason XP keeps asking for the product key and will not accept the one with the disk. In addition, the lite-on dvd burner is still not function.


I have a different board but am having a simillar problem with my optical drives. I know it's not the drives because I got a new one, swapped them out, tried with only one installed...slave/master/CS...basically tried everything under the sun.

The drives are installed, they are there in the BIOS and in Windows. They are fully functional in Device manager, show up everywhere correctly, etc. etc. BUT they will NOT read discs when they're inserted in them. IF you go to "My Computer" and double click on the drive with a disc inserted, it will say "Please insert Disc" or it will show the disc as blank. Have tried different CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs, DVD-Rs, same result.

The only time they WILL work is when I right-click on "My Computer"-->Manage-->Disk Management. When I go there, both drives "come alive", start spinning and all of a sudden the very disk they were showing as blank has files on it! MAGIC! :x And these aren't burnt CDs, but actual software CDs.

I have to do the "Disk Management" trick to make them work everytime I need to do read off the disk. Meanwhile I have been unable to figure out why this is happening. My only guess is MOTHERBOARD, but I am not sure.

More about : optical drives acting strange

August 18, 2006 11:54:26 AM

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Are you using the Cable Select or the Master/Slave configuration on the drives?
August 18, 2006 11:54:52 AM

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Are you using the Cable Select or the Master/Slave configuration on the drives?


Tried them both, tried with one drive, tried with two. The drives aren't toast for two reasons: Bought a new one and it's doing the same thing, they DO work if I do that Disk-Management thing I mentioned above. Plus as I said, they show up in all the correct places as working fine. Even BIOS lists them in the right Master/Slave order no matter which config (CS or otherwise) I use.

Heck, once I do that Disk Management thing to get them to work, BOTH drives even pass all the tests in Nero-6. I just don't want to have to do a trick to get my optical drives to work. Also, the trick only works ONCE. Then I have to restart the PC to make it work again...a royal pain.

I am completely stumped. The only thing I haven't changed or switched out is the IDE cable itself, and I plan on doing that tomorrow just to cover all bases and make sure I am not over-looking anything.

I have no CD-copier, software running in background, nothing that is taking over the drives in XP...really, I have tried everything under the sun.

The only thing I can think of, once the new IDE cable doesn't help either, is the motherboard.
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August 18, 2006 11:55:19 AM

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The only other thing I can think of is the Chipset driver's IDE support is screwy. Are you using the latest updates, do the drives act the same in safe mode?
August 18, 2006 11:55:43 AM

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The only other thing I can think of is the Chipset driver's IDE support is screwy. Are you using the latest updates, do the drives act the same in safe mode?


Well originally I did NOT have the Nvidia IDE drivers installed and the drives used to work alright (I can't recall exactly when they went screwy but it was close to when I updated my BIOS to 0304). To troubleshoot this drive problem I then installed the latest Nvidia IDE drivers, no difference whatsoever. I then uninstalled them, just to be sure, yup, no difference.

I have not, however, checked to see how the drives function in Safe mode. I will definitely try that out today when I get home. For argument's sake, what would the problem point to if A) They DID work in Safe mode B) They DID NOT work in Safe mode either.
August 18, 2006 11:56:05 AM

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If the drives function as prescribed in Safe mode the problem would seem to point to drivers (chipset/IDE), or it could be something else that is molesting the functionality of the drivers (i.e., a patch).
August 18, 2006 11:56:39 AM

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Well, this is the most headway I've made on my issue in the past two weeks. I booted up in Safe mode and voila! The drives worked (both of them) exactly as expected. Although, none of the discs I tried Auto-played...but still every disc, DVD, CD, CD-R, DVD-R opened up and was read perfectly fine every time.

So now what should I do?
August 18, 2006 11:56:59 AM

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Sounds like chipset/IDE drives is the problem. 2 (possibly more) ways to handle that, pick your poison... a) get an PCI IDE card, test it, if it works, it may be a keeper, eh? ...if it doesn't, take it back. b) Try to find out what's wrong with chipset/IDE drivers (or what's irritating them) and fix it.

You ego may prefer option "b", but I'm kinda lazy and tend to be impatient, which is why I thought of option "a".
August 18, 2006 12:44:04 PM

I would like to say its a software issue since safe mode disables a lot of services that might cause problems, but I'm not entirely sure. Try this. Put a windows xp cd in the drive that doesn't work. Boot up the computer and go to the boot menu, then try booting off the cd-drive. If it works, probably a windows thing. If not... good luck =)
August 18, 2006 1:20:52 PM

Hi doughboy,

I actually tried booting from CD and it does work. That is sort of how I figured out that it wasn't a hardware problem. Now I just have to find whatever driver/software is causing this.

I know the easiest thing to do would be to just reformat and start over but it would really be a pain in the butt for me. To be completely honest I'd rather just have two semi-functional drives until I find a solution rather than have to start from scratch.

This weekend will be a busy one for me, but I will do a little more tinkering whenever I get a chance. If anyone thinks of anything I should check or look into that may be causing this, let me know!
August 24, 2006 12:40:39 PM

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Sounds like chipset/IDE drives is the problem. 2 (possibly more) ways to handle that, pick your poison... a) get an PCI IDE card, test it, if it works, it may be a keeper, eh? ...if it doesn't, take it back. b) Try to find out what's wrong with chipset/IDE drivers (or what's irritating them) and fix it.

You ego may prefer option "b", but I'm kinda lazy and tend to be impatient, which is why I thought of option "a".


Well, I finally got around to getting a PCI-IDE card...nada. The drives act in the same exact (strange) way, as if the IDE cable was plugged right into the Motherboard. I know it's not the hardware but I got a new IDE cable just to cover all bases.

So now I have to devise methods of one-by-one eliminating the factors that could be affecting the way my IDE drives work. Just a re-cap, we already know the following:

1) It isn't the Hardware (Cable, drives, etc, are fine)
2) Drives work fine when booted in safe mode
3) Drives are successfully installed and show up as working perfectly in every way, from BIOS, to safe mode, to normal mode. They just don't read discs when in normal mode.
4) Drives WILL read discs at bootup, AND when I do that "Disk Management" trick in normal mode windows.
!