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My DVD drive is suddenly missing from Windows Vista

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July 26, 2008 2:42:10 PM

Hello.

I have a Toshiba Satellite U305 that I'm borrowing from my dad. I need to give it back to him in a week and get all my stuff off of it, but the CD/DVD burner has disappeared from within Windows Vista Home Edition.

I'm really not sure how long the drive has been missing as I just noticed it today. I've been travelling with some friends for the last 1.5 months and uploading all our pictures to the computer. When I went to burn some DVDs of these pictures, I noticed that my DVD burner was not listed in My Computer. After further investigation, I discovered that the drive was completely gone. It's missing from Device Manager and doesn't show up under Administrative Tools->Computer Management->Disk Management either. There is no evidence that it exists or ever was there, no exclamation marks next to the device in Device Manager or errors to indicate a device error or driver issue. When I try to discover the device with "Add new hardware", it isn't found.

I'm unsure if this is a problem with Vista, but when I put a CD or DVD in the drive, the drive spins up and the lights go on. I'm still away, not home for another week and I have no boot disc to try and boot from the drive. I'm not familiar with the Toshiba bios. I went into it, but I didn't see any mention of an optical drive, which leads me to think that there might be a hardware problem, but I might not be looking in the right place. I'm used to the evga 680i bios :)  Maybe the drive controller has gone bad, or there's a loose connection. Maybe the drive is malfunctioning. I really have no idea.

Any suggestions are appreciated. I have spent countless hours surfing the internet from a coffee shop trying to find a solution. I want to point out that I have used to different registry fixes that supposedly work for many people. One removes the LowerFilters and UpperFilters values from the registry section. The other removes things like [HLM\SYS\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdr4_2K] etc. This hasn't worked. I'm ready to delete the IDE controllers from within Device Manager and reboot, but I'm really afraid to lose any information. I have almost 30 Gb of photographs from my camera, my brother's camera and my girlfriend's camera on here from our travels since the beginning of June. It would be disastrous to lose all that!

Thank you in advance for any help and/or suggestions.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
July 26, 2008 2:47:39 PM

try unplugging it and replugging it back in...

anyway... didn't you just start another thread on this....
July 26, 2008 2:59:11 PM

Try doing a system restore to when you picked up the laptop from your dad.

I had something weird like this happen when I installed a Epson print driver. It changed my DVD burner into a "a:" floppy (when no such floppy existed).
I found two fixes: One was a system restore, but the problem would repeat itself when I installed the printer. Two was to update the firmware on the drive itself. I'm pretty sure that you have to do step one to do step two :) 
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a c 160 G Storage
July 26, 2008 3:39:24 PM

Well given as how important that is(30 gigs of pictures), maybe an external usb DVD burner or hard drive is a good idea. Backup is very important.

I have noticed that if you install an old version of AnyDVD on Vista 64 it makes the DVD drive go away, but it was still in the device manager(The AnyDVD driver just stops it from being accessible), so that is unlikely.

Enter the computers bios and see if the drive is in fact showing up there.
July 27, 2008 3:12:28 PM

Nothing is showing in the bios. I see the hard drive, but no optical drive. I'm assuming it would show up there, even though I've never seen or used the Toshiba bios before.

I tried system restore and took the laptop back the maximum (1 month), but still nothing. This is starting to make me think that it's a hardware issue. I went to Circuit City to see what they could do, but they told me that the Circuit City warranty doesn't kick in until after Toshiba's one year warranty is up. The laptop was bought in late March. I guess I have to try and fight it out with some people in India now, who will ask me to try the things I've already tried?
July 27, 2008 3:24:12 PM

i_hate_flying said:
Nothing is showing in the bios. I see the hard drive, but no optical drive. I'm assuming it would show up there, even though I've never seen or used the Toshiba bios before.

I tried system restore and took the laptop back the maximum (1 month), but still nothing. This is starting to make me think that it's a hardware issue. I went to Circuit City to see what they could do, but they told me that the Circuit City warranty doesn't kick in until after Toshiba's one year warranty is up. The laptop was bought in late March. I guess I have to try and fight it out with some people in India now, who will ask me to try the things I've already tried?


Since I am an authorized Toshiba technician, They will, yes make you go through all the steps you already have. Then once they are convinced that it is hardware, and it sounds like it is, they will point you in a direction of another authorized service center like mine.

The one thing you do need to do first, is to reset the system BIOS back to defaults. Sometimes, the controller on the board will "shut off" making detection of the optical drive not happen. Since you said that the BIOS was not able to detect the drive, this may be the case.

Good Luck!
a c 160 G Storage
July 27, 2008 3:31:49 PM

You could try reinstalling the drive. Remove its screws from the bottom, slide it out and then reinstall it.

If all else fails you will have to deal with Toshiba.
July 28, 2008 2:39:51 AM

Yeah, I saw that some people are able to get their drives working again by going into sleep mode and coming back again. However, I always keep my computer in sleep mode and then I wake it up when I want to use it. This hasn't gotten my drive going in my case.
July 28, 2008 2:42:39 AM

I actually went through the whole thing with Toshiba before getting your replies. The guy was nice and I let him know what I've already done. The last step that they wanted to try is "system restore", which is just a fancy way of saying that I have to format and reinstall Vista. I politely pointed out that I was not willing to perform this as I would lose all my data. He then pointed me to an authorised service centre where they could switch out the drive or whatever is needed. The place is about 15 miles away, which isn't bad.

I will try the BIOS reset, I didn't even think about that. Also, unscrewing everything and putting it back is a really good idea, it definitely could have come loose with all the travelling we've done. I don't have any tools on me right now because I'm on the road, that's why I haven't tried that yet. So I'll get to those two things and I'll go the service centre route if all else fails.

Thank you so much for your help!
August 1, 2008 3:40:44 PM

Some bad news. I'm back at my dad's place at the end of my trip and I'm trying to get in touch with the recommended Toshiba certified repair centre. I can't. I checked Toshiba's service website and they've got really poor service ratings as well, mostly 2 stars and below. Doesn't sound good!

There's another place, but it's farther away. Before I go that route, I want to try and take the drive out and put it back in, to make sure that it's not just some connection that came undone. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to do that. I've tried searching around for some instructions, but have been unsuccessful. Can someone please point me in the right direction? I've taken apart my old Alienware laptop before and had no problem with that because they supplied good diagrams, but I can't find anything of the same for this laptop. Also, the drive on my Alienware was in a "bay", this one looks built in. It's a Toshiba Satellite U305-S2812.
a c 160 G Storage
August 1, 2008 4:13:59 PM

look under the drive it self, there are normally screws there to remove it there(the sometimes have a marking to show what they are).

The only ones i have experience with are HP/Compaq. They are easy.
August 1, 2008 5:15:25 PM

I mean, I know how to take things apart. I've been doing that since I was just a small squirt. On this laptop, however, there are no screws in the vicinity of the DVD drive.

I've finally gotten in touch with these guys and I'm going to head over there as it's only 16 miles away.
August 1, 2008 10:30:42 PM

These guys want me to leave the laptop with them for a week. Unfortunately, I won't be able to pick it up for my dad before I leave. I'm going to try and take the drive out myself and put it back in first before I surrender it on Monday. Any suggestions on how to open this thing up?
August 2, 2008 1:27:48 AM

i_hate_flying said:
These guys want me to leave the laptop with them for a week. Unfortunately, I won't be able to pick it up for my dad before I leave. I'm going to try and take the drive out myself and put it back in first before I surrender it on Monday. Any suggestions on how to open this thing up?


Depending on the model...some you remove the ram cover and there will be one screw that holds it in. others, you have to remove the keyboard and will see one or two screws holding the drive in place. There are even two models where you pull the battery and the screw will be under it.
August 6, 2008 3:19:16 PM

Thanks for the advice and the link. I found the manual stuffed away somewhere, but it was of no help. As it turns out, the screws are hidden by some little plastic covers that make it look as if there are no screws there.

The photographs totalled 30.5 Gb at the end of our trip, far more than the combined storage of USB drives 8 + 2 + 4 Gb. Because time was short, I ended up buying an external 1 Tb drive from Newegg that I've been eyeing for the past few months. I transferred the photographs and am now back home. The laptop never got fixed so it's now my dad's problem. I think the best thing for him will be to let the Toshiba warranty run out in March 2009, and then take it to a nearby Circuit City to get it fixed. I'm not around to give him computer advice any more, unfortunately, so he stopped buying Dell's. Maybe this will teach him not to switch it up.

Anyway, thank you for your help.
!