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BIOS shows my optical drives, optical drives spin, show activity, but.

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June 7, 2010 7:46:41 PM

I have an ASRock X58 extreme, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. Everything was ok (beyond the esata connection to my external RAID 1 drives inadmittently dropping out but a reboot would solve that) when all things broke loose. I installed quicktime alternative, had Adobe CS3 on board. Before qt alternative, everything was 100% (besides the external RAID 1 being screwy). After qt alt, CS3 froze always, and upon deactivating and uninstalling CS3, it appeared to have taken out winload.exe with it.
I was able restore the computer to an earlier restore point, and this is where it gets peculiar (and why I'm posting):

neither my esata RAID 1 nor either of my optical drives are read from. The optical drives - one IDE, on SATA, are powered, blink and spin and show they are reading. The BIOS even shows the RAID and the drives as connected - and Windows 7 shows the disc drives but doesn't read from them at all, and thinks the RAID is now corrupted (and praying that W7 is wrong). But if I attempted to boot Solely from a disk drive, it POSTS, then the underscore blinks with no other progress to any install screen.

Windows 7 runs, sans optical drives and esata (I attempted to plug the RAID into both the onboard esata plug, and via a sata to esata extension).

I am not all that well-versed in the deeper seatings of computers, but this is the first time I am wondering if the software/OS side of things somehow made the hardware side fail - something I though was impossible. I mean, I can't reinstall W7 from the disc, and yet everything else is plugging away! It goes without saying - I need optical disc drives, and I'm praying that my RAID 1 drives aren't actually corrupted.

I've reset my BIOS, but I haven't flashed the BIOS or rest the CMOS timer. Everything is in place - the BIOS shows all components as fully functional, Device Manager isn't showing up anything as exclaimed or non-functioning... I'm at a loss, and any help is greatly appreciated, from do x y and z, or Buy a new mobo, I'm for any support here.

Cheers
a b V Motherboard
June 8, 2010 7:06:32 PM

Well I think you need to tackle one thing at a time. I would start with the optical drives.

So the drives detect in the BIOS, are 'seen' in windows and appear as though they should work, but are not. Correct me if this is incorrect in any way.
Let try this utility as a first step:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cd_dvd_drive_problems
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June 9, 2010 4:14:01 PM

Thanks canadian, your understanding is spot on. Concerning your suggestions I had limited success. The IDE drive couldn't find any media in the drive (and there was), the microsoft fix it couldn't diagnose or fix anything and the SATA drive found CDs, but wouldn't read dvds, and didn't see the W7 install DVD at any point.
The BIOS is set to default (which was what it was at when I did the system install). I'm going to try a reinstall from an external drive tonight and see if that changes anything, otherwise over the weekend I'll be picking up a new, non ASRock mobo and optical drive and see if that changes everything.

I don't *want* to lay down another couple $100 on a board, so any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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a b V Motherboard
June 9, 2010 8:29:25 PM

I am curious, if you unplug your HDD's and just stick in a bootable CD (like the Win 7 install disk), what happens?
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June 10, 2010 4:21:10 PM

We did try that out before - and all we got was the blinking _ _ _ _, even with an install disc in. And if we had a second install drive, the moment we ejecte the disc, it would pick right up and start windows.
BUT, I was able to reinstall Win7 from an external firewire connected dvd drive.
The oddity of this is that even afterwards, the new install would not read from my old optical drives. I bought a new SATA drive, which does work - fired right up from the get go, read DVDs and CDs no problem.
Also, before getting a good install I got a BSOD warning of a Bad Pool Header, which I googled to find it could be sign of bad memory. I ran the Microsoft Memory Diagnostic on complete/extended for 3 sessions, and it found nothing incorrect with the memory.
At this point, any other diagnostic/log checking/test running that might help be find the reason of this freak out would be great if you have any that stand out that might help be monitor/further test the system.

The one true burning question: why would my drives just all of a sudden go out? They were old but working fine until this brouhaha, and then they were not. Theories abound, but I'm not sticking them back in to find out.

Canadian - thanks for help. The utility you suggested gave me enough hope to keep moving forward. And while the relation between this computer and I will be tenuous until it proves itself regular, I'm glad i didn't have to pull the trigger on a new mobo.

Cheers
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