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Windows Forum => Windows - Misc => Topic started by: macnext1 on April 30, 2009, 05:12:12 AM

Title: Can't Read Disks
Post by: macnext1 on April 30, 2009, 05:12:12 AM
I recently wanted to see what was on the 'restore' disk that came with my system. When I tried to read it (on drive D), it showed nothing there. When I tried to scan the disk with Avast it said the drive wasn't mounted. I then tried another disk with the same results. I then tried it in the 'E' drive -- same results for both disks. I then tried a disk from Janome (embroidery software) and at least it would show a few files there - when I scanned it with Avast it would get up to 85% complete and then just go away (no good or bad message -- just went away).

So I tried to trouble shoot the drives, there was a question about SDE or ESDE drives -- I don't have a clue. But I proceeded and it then asked me if I was trying to use 5 drives. Once again I don't know but the answer may be yes. I have a C hard drive, a D DVD R/W drive and a E CD R/W drive (these are all internal and came with the system). A few years ago I added a USB hard drive from SimpleTech for backups. A few months ago I added another USB hard drive from SeaGate because someone told me it had better software for backups but the real reason I wanted it was to see if I could create 'mirror' of my C drive.

So I really don't have any idea of when I could no longer read from D or E. I don't use those drives very often so the problem may have been there for many months OR I may have shot myself in the foot when I added the SeaGate drive.

I wanted to put this in the 'general / misc forum' but it wouldn't let me so I stuck it here for want of a better spot. If someone wants to move it to a better forum -- feel free.

Anyone have any ideas/thoughts on this? I really don't know where to go and I sure can't afford to take it to a repair shop.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Title: It sounds like the drives
Post by: Evan on April 30, 2009, 06:25:57 AM
It sounds like the drives might be hooked up wrong, a cable has come loose, or the drive is failing.  Since they came with the system I would expect they were hooked up right.  First thing you'll want to do is unhook anything you've added (the USB Drive and Seagate Drive) and reboot and see if they work.  A simple reboot might fix it if you haven't done that.  The next thing you'll want to try is updating the firmware of the drives.  If you can provide the model of the drives I can give you a link to the latest firmware.

The problem is going to come down to the drive(s) are failing (probably the laser), the cabling is loose or bad, they MIGHT be hooked up wrong, or the disc's you're using are bad.

Something to remember is that a DVD drive can read a CD but a CD drive can NOT read a DVD.  We can check to see if your computer (not the drive) can read a disc by haveing you install a virtual drive (I prefer SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive http://www.slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html ) since it does only what you want.  If you install that I can find you a small disc image (which is just a file that the computer see's as a real disc but can be "mounted" to your virtual drive).  If that works then you know it's a hardware problem.  If that doesn't then you probably need a firmware update or some other update.

As far as creating an exact mirror of your C drive goes...Seagate does has some great free software, but it only works if all the drives are Seagate or Maxtor.  There are also plenty of other utitilities for this.  Most recently I used Roadkil's Raw Copy (http://www.roadkil.net/program.php?ProgramID=22) which copied a disk of mine EXACTLY.  You might want to wait though and see if we can determine your exact need.

Let me know if I've taken any of this the wrong way or if I need to clarify anything.

Title: Don't take it to be repaired.
Post by: Evan on April 30, 2009, 07:52:20 AM
If you took your computer to be repaired for the optical drive issue, then you'd pay more than the cost of a new drive in repairs.  You can buy a whole new DVD drive for around $50 (more or less depending on what speeds, Dual Layer, Read vs Read/Write, etc...).  Since a DVD drive will do everything a CD drive can do (with the exception of a CD drive having a higher read speed generally) if it turns out it's broken you can buy a new or refurbished one for very little.

What sort of troubleshooting (what software or method) were you doing that asked you if it was SDE or ESDE?  I'm not familiar with the terms, but I'm confident in saying that the first "E" on the second is going to refer to External. In your case that you would choose SDE based on that logic.

Did it detect 5 drives?  Basically did you software say something like "I see 5 drives, is this correct?", because that all sounds right.

Last question is, have either the CD or DVD drive worked correctly in the past?

Title: you couldn't post in 'general
Post by: Shane on April 30, 2009, 08:50:06 AM
you couldn't post in 'general / misc forum'?
can you let me know what happened? I don't like if something is not working.

Also new dvd burners are down to $23 now.

also a little side note. Had a customers computer in here yesterday. Had to fix some blue screens (turned out to be bad memory) and the dvd drive wouldn't read any of my disks (I needed to boot my memory test software off my cd). customer said yeah it stopped working a while ago. First thing I did was take my can of compressed air, open he dvd drive bay door and blew the crap out of it. Look like a dust storm! lol, I mean this system was dusty. then the drive started reading my disks fine. Seems like the laser eye inside had to much dust on it to read right. I always try to make sure its not something simple before I replace things.

Anyways let us know how it goes.

Title: General - Misc
Post by: macnext1 on April 30, 2009, 09:52:20 AM
Shane, when I went to 'save' the system informed me that it was just a folder for forums and I couldn't use it -- select something else, so I did.
Title: ah, see I have the forum
Post by: Shane on April 30, 2009, 10:00:40 AM
ah, see I have the forum container and the forum itself named the same. Im going to rename them so there is no confusion.

Title: The Drives
Post by: macnext1 on April 30, 2009, 10:06:40 AM
The two drives D & E have worked since day 1. I used them both a few years ago when my wife was heavy into embroidery. Now that she has switched her interest to poker the drives don't get used much. However, I will swear that they were used and worked after the install of the SimpleTech hard drive.

The 'troubleshooting' was using the built in 'stuff' from MicroSoft. As I recall I went to the device manager and it took me into troubleshooting (I did that because the MS software said the drive was fine). The troubleshooting did not detect 5 drives, I made the assumption (always a risk) that all 5 of my drives were either the SD(?) or ESD (?) simply because the other option was SCUZZY (not spelled that way but I don't remember how it was spelled). Somewhere along the line it pointed out that a PC could only handle 4 drives. Evidently there are 2 controllers that will each handle 2 drives. When I informed it that I was trying to use 5 drives it told me to buzz off (actually the reply was that I would get expert assistance to use 5 drives). So I came here.

There is the whole sad sordid story.

I have not tried doing the unplug/reboot trick yet. Hopefully tomorrow.

Title: let us know. If worse comes
Post by: Shane on April 30, 2009, 10:17:00 AM
let us know.

If worse comes to worse we can always use teamviewer.com and take a look at it with you. This is just an option.

depending on your setup there is a number of different drives you could have.

with the IDE controllers you can have 2 drivers per controller. with stat (if you have it) you have a drive per sata port. then you have usb which you can have a very larger amount if you have the usb ports (even with usb hubs)

so 5 drives I can see. Drive C, D & E (those are your 3 normal drives on the IDE channels) and then the 2 usb drives you hooked up.

Title: Your PC only being able to
Post by: Evan on April 30, 2009, 10:19:05 AM
Your PC only being able to handle 4 drives is referring specifically to internal drives.  Your motherboard has two IDE controllers.  Those use the ribbon cable (they are also known as PATA: parallel ATA) and the connection can only handle two connections per controller (or port on the motherboard).  That brings the total to 4.  Since you said you connected via USB then you can subtract your USB devices from that number, leaving you with 3 devices connected (internally).

Thats just a little background for you.  For now I'd try the dusting that Shane recommended and possible the Virtual Drive approach I recommended.  I'll have to tackle this in more detail later (if needed).

Scuzzy is phonetically correct:Small Computer System Interface, or SCSI (pronounced ['scuzzy]).  Just so you know...

Title: Update
Post by: macnext1 on May 01, 2009, 05:51:30 AM
Let me throw some gas on this smoldering little fire. This morning I installed a WebCam (my son and wife have this idea that they can see each other while he is in Iraq). Anyway I had to install S/W for Logitech QuickCam, HP Photo Essentials and ArcSoft Collage Creator. All of these read and installed correctly using the D drive. Now I assume that these are all CDs. As soon as I was finished I tried the 'restore' disc again and again when I 'open' it just has an empty screen. This guy clearly states on the cover that it is a DVD. So it would appear that I can read CDs but not DVDs -- didn't try the other 'restore' disk I have since it didn't work last time and it is also a DVD.

How do you think I should proceed from here? I did not do the spray that was suggested since it can read CDs without a problem. But perhaps I should. Are there mechanical differences between CD and DVD? Like maybe another laser?
Title: CD vs DVD Laser
Post by: Evan on May 01, 2009, 06:21:21 AM
The difference between the laser needed to read a CD and DVD is like a butter knife versus a razor blade, respectively.  The reason a DVD can contain so much more data is because the tracks (just like a Vinyll albums) are MUCH smaller so you need a finer laser (needle).  The is a chance that the laser can read the CD and not the DVD since it doesn't have to be as precise.  With that said I would definately use the canned air (make sure it's for computers/electronics).  Just to be safe, open the DVD bay and then turn off the computer and dust it as best you can.  Let us know how that works out.

There could also be a chance that you're using Double Layer DVDs and your drive can't support that (but I doubt it).

After the dusting I'd look at updating the software on the DVD drive.  Also, if you can (if you didn't already) try and see if you can get the restore DVD to work on another computer.

Let me know how it turns out.  Wish your son the best and I hope you are able to hear from him soon!

Title: Both a CD and DVD drive use
Post by: Evan on May 01, 2009, 07:45:18 AM
Both a CD and DVD drive use different lasers, but a DVD's is an improved version of the CD's (and a BlueRay, and the "dead" HD-DVD, are both improved upon the DVD...and blue).  Like I said in the previous post, they are similar, but not identical.  A DVD's laser is backwards compatible with a CD disc, but a CD's laser can NOT read or write to a DVD.

You originally said the "restore disc that came with your system"...was your system one from a major mfr (like Dell, HP, etc...) or did someone build it for you and provide a backup disc?  Is the restore disc you most recently tried from a third party (like Acronis, Paragon, etc..)?

Can you tell me what happens if you try and watch a Movie DVD on your computer?  Does it work?  Does it "skip" or freeze?  If you are having trouble with that then I know of a *completely* different issue you're probably having.  If you also notice your computer being almost completely "choked" during the video playback then it'll point to the other issue I'm thinking.  I don't want to cross that bridge unless you need to though.  Good luck!

Oh, BTW...if you use your webcam you're going to have to really watch that bandwidth usage :)

Title: Movies?
Post by: macnext1 on May 01, 2009, 09:40:48 AM
I have never tried watching a DVD movie on my computer. Never even gave it a thought, wouldn't know what kind of software would be required. Not to mention that to me it mwould be a total waste of my computer time (got other things to do when I'm on the computer). However, as a test, if you'll tell me how to do it I will give a whirl.

My system is a Gateway 505GR I bought it through BestBuy. I had them (they call themselves "The Geek Squad" -- cute huh?) install the MS Windows software and the latest updates from MS, AOL, software for my UPS, some spyware (don't remember the name). Off the top of my head that's all I can remember. But there might have been some other software. As far as I know, the hardware was all installed by Gateway.

The other restore disc came from Gateway as well (I think) (I had forgotten that I had a restore disc) so I ordered one (pretty sure it was Gateway). It doesn't have a Gateway lable though - it just says it for emachines.

Title: http://support.gateway.com/s/
Post by: Shane on May 01, 2009, 09:52:36 AM

Looks like your drive D is only a cd-rom, it wont read dvds. and your drive e is dvd drive and will read both cd's and dvds.

Title: If you bought it from Best
Post by: Evan on May 01, 2009, 11:00:40 AM
If you bought it from Best Buy in the last 5 years then should play a movie DVD.  All you have to do is put in any regular DVD and it will probably start automatically (as long as it's in the DVD drive).  If it does then check under "My Computer" and see which drive that is (just to make sure you have to drive letters right).

I'd only take it to the "Geek Squad" if it's still under Best Buy's warranty (you can usually buy a 2 year extended warranty).  If it is tell them that you want your optical drives to work again and ask if you can have it replaced.  Don't let them touch your Hard Drive though. Treat it like a taking your car to a mechanic you don't trust.  They will tell you everything else that is "wrong" and try to charge you way to much to fix something we can help you do for free.  But if you can get a new, working DVD drive out of it, then by all means take advantage of it.

Actually, if you go there...ask them what they will do, if they need to hold you computer, the cost, all that.  Then check back with us.

Back to the point though:  We need to find out if your drive works.  You can read some discs (which we are assuming are CD's).  If they are CD's then we need to know if they were in the DVD drive or the CD drive.  If they are CD's and work in both drives then I think cleaning (like Shane said) the drive out should be done.  After that we need to update your firmware (I can link you to the proper sites). Check connections (a loose cable can cause funny things).  Then look at just getting a new drive.  Or you can just skip to the last one :)  **Remember, an unscratched CD is a good way to test BOTH drives, but you'll have to have a DVD to test the DVD drive.

Just so you know...Most of the time Best Buy and Dell/HP/Gateway, etc... are more concerned with getting your computer to run again and they default to "erase everything and make it like we sent it to you".  If you had anything stored they expect you to have taken care of it.  I know that is off subject but I've seen too many people treated poorly in this regard.  

Caes in point: I recently had someone call me and ask me to speak to Dell on their behalf and the support person said Windows is corrupted...we'll have to re-install.  I told them I needed to make sure everything was backed up first.  Turned out the customer had a Novel she was working on, and a lot of e-mail and other things she had worked on for the community (non backed up).  If she had listened to Dell then she would have lost it all and spent thousands to "maybe" be able to retrieve some of it.  Once I isolated the problem I had it working, just as it was before it crashed, in about 25 minutes.

Hope some of this helps.  I'm no so good at quick and to the point...it's a mixed blessing I suppose, lol.

Title: Disks are good. D is the DVD R/W drive.
Post by: macnext1 on May 03, 2009, 02:28:51 AM
It turns out that my daughter-in-law has a computer with a blu-ray drive. She took the disks home and brought them back yesterday with the news that the disks read just fine. So I reckon I've got a software/firmware/hardware problem. So, this morning I opened up the D drive and then powered down, used canned air to blow out the drive. Powered up -- no help. So I probably need to take the case off so I can do a better job of cleaning the drive. Problem is, I'm a coward, have never had the case open - don't know how to do it -- she tells me the top just pops off -- no sweat -- true(?).

Title: Firmware Upgrade or Cable Problem..or dying drive
Post by: Evan on May 06, 2009, 08:36:06 AM

We need to make sure you have the most recent firmware for the drive (I'm searching for the specific firmware).  If firmware isn't an issue then the most likely culprit is either the drive is failing or you have a cable that is either loose or damaged.  You will have to open the case and make sure the cable is securely attached.  After that you need to reboot and see if it works.  Let me know if you try that before I can get you the newest firmware.

A side note: I have a computer that was passed on to me and the DVD drive didn't work but the CD drive did.  The only way I was able to get the DVD drive to work was to unhook the CD drive entirely (cable wise...I still have it in the case).  Since the DVD drive can do everything the CD drive could do, it worked for me.  The ONLY downside is that the CD drive could burn a CD faster...but I'd rather have a DVD drive that can read and write CDs and DVDs.

There is one other thing you can try in device manager.  You might have had your DVD drive swith operating modes (this can happen from a virus but usually from a scratched DVD).  Windows will slow down the tranfer rate to "ensure" data integrity...but makes the drive effectively useless.  The fix is simple but VERY specific.  We can try that next.

Title: Easy/Safe?
Post by: macnext1 on May 06, 2009, 08:49:04 AM
Is it truly 'easy' to open the case? How likely am I to mess up something? I'm pretty ham-handed (been known to accidently break a rock when I started out to make a souffle--small joke there). What about the device manager thing -- what should I be looking for -- or do you want me to do check for loose cables first?

Title: Opening a case is easy.
Post by: Evan on May 06, 2009, 09:18:46 AM
It is easy to open the case.  They vary from machine to machine but basically if you a vertical case, which you do, then the right side will come off.  ***READ ALL OF THIS BEFORE YOU START***

Before you do that you need to make sure it is completely disconnected from the wall (or ANY power source).  After there is no cord attached you should "attempt" to power on the pc.  This will drain any remaining electricity stored in the Power Supply Unit (where the cord plugs in).  After that you need to find a nice clean area to work.  Try to find an area without carpet (Static electricity can cause a discharge and can ruin your motherboard or a device).  When you have your area you should turn the case on its left side.  This will have your right side facing "up" and you will remove this panel.  You should see either some sort of spring loaded latch somewhere or just some screws holding the side panel to the back of the case.  Remove the screws if needed, and then remove the side panel.

Once you have a the case open BEFORE you touch ANYTHING inside the case you need to discharge any static electric buildup you might have.  You can do this by touching the metal cassing (DO NOT touch the motherboard or any devices before you do this).  You won't feel a shock but you will be grounded (if you move around or go to another room repeat this) but the amount of electricity needed to damage something is far less than what you can feel.

Don't be intimidated by all of this, just make sure you think about it.  Same way you would not just blindly hook up jump cables to a car battery.  You need to make sure you do it right or you'll be very frustrated :)

Once you have the case open you can now get into the cables (just to be safe make sure you hands are clean and dry).  Find your DVD drive and look for a "ribbon" cable attached to the back of the drive.  This will be a couple of inches wide, grey, and flat.  This single cable will connect the both drives and the motherboard.  You, one by one, remove the cable for each connection and reattach it THEN move onto the next connection.  You don't want to mix up the order.  The cable should be in there pretty firmly so just grip it by the plastic (not the cable) and pull slowly and firmly to remove.  The connection should be "keyed" so you can connect it upside down, but just to play it safe make not of the direction of the connection.  After you've made sure everything is connected firmly reboot the system (you don't have to put the case back on since you're just testing...but you can if you like) and see if the drive works.  Be sure you turn the computer upright before you turn it on or off. You DON'T want to have the computer on when you rotate it because that can damage your Harddrive and/or any discs you have in your CD/DVD drive.

After the reboot make note of whether the drive is working or not.  While you have the case open use your canned air and blow any and all dust you can see.

Hopefully this will get everything working.


In device manager, to start with, do you see any yellow exclamation points or red "X"s?  What we are going to do in Device Manager, if needed, is reinstall the connections channel.  We have to make sure you have Microsoft Drivers though and you have to do it very specifically.

You can also check this for me before you open the case..in device manager look for your IDE ATA controller.  You should be able to expand that and see a Primary and Secondary Channel (your Hard Drive is on the Primary Channel and your Optical Drives are on the Secondary Channel).  Double click on the secondary channel to bring up the properties window.  Click on the "Advanced Settings" tab and you'll see Device 0 (probably your CD drive) and Device 1 (probably your DVD drive).  You will see a "Transfer Mode" drop down and Transfer Rate listed.  Make sure your Trasfer Mode is set to DMA if available (if it is set to PIO Mode that is your problem...and fixing it is the simple/complex thing I've eluded to).  Go ahead and make note of all these setting and let me know what they say.

Hope I didn't give to much info...but I want to make sure you've got all the steps.

Let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Title: Device Manager
Post by: macnext1 on May 07, 2009, 02:56:44 AM
Evan, when I opem 'My Computer' it shows 'DVD-RW Drive (D:)' and 'CD DRIVE (E:)'.

I opened up the Device Manager. The only thing that has a yellow ! is something called 'LogMeIn Mirror Driver'. I removed LogMeIn from my system a long time ago, I guess this is a remnant. I'd remove the entry in the device manager but I don't know how.

Looking at the IDE ATA Controller -- Secondary IDE both 0 & 1 say DMA if enabled.

Looking at the individual drives, both have MS drivers and both say 7/1/2001 with a driver number of 5.1.2535.0 -- the location 0 has a tab for DVD Region (location 1 does not have this tab) which shows NONE selected (struck me as strange).

As an aside: I put in a disk (CD) from Lexmark and used MalWareBytes to scan the disk -- got a clean run (4309 objects) on D & E. So it appears that the problem is in trying to read DVDs -- only annomaly was that when it finished with E I could not eject the disk with the little drive button.

Does any of this help?

Title: Good Info from Device Manager
Post by: Evan on May 07, 2009, 04:41:00 AM

Great job on providing info from device manager.  Don't worry about the LogMeIn for now.  Your DVD region would be region 1 if your in USA (in Vista you choose the country and you can change it 4 times).  You can go ahead and change that if it lets you but I don't konw if that will work.  Also, that only pertains to movies...not data DVD's, so I don't think it really matters.

You said that Device Manager lists the IDE channel as DMA if enabled.  What did it say for the "current mode"? It should say "DMA Mode _" or "Ultra DMA Mode _"

I'm going to try and find the newest driver (from the mfr.) for your drive.  If you can provide *any* specifics about the DVD drive model that you haven't already it will help.  I'm afraid though that either an update to something else in the system "broke" the drive, the drive is dying, or the cable is going bad.

It looks like your best bet is just replacing the DVD drive.  If you uneasy about opening the case you can buy an external DVD drive for a little more than an internal one and just Disable the internal one through your BIOS setting (during the boot process).  Do you know if everything looks okay in your BIOS?

By the way, regarding your last post (about 2 hours ago) about if it is Shane's 1st kid...no.  But I'll let him answer that one for ya :)

Title: Not Applicable.
Post by: macnext1 on May 07, 2009, 06:25:34 AM
Both device 0 and 1 say 'Not Applicable" for current mode. Maybe it doesn't put anything in that block until you put a disk in?

BIOS: Ahhh ok, I know WHAT it is but I sure don't anything about it. Tell me how get into it and what you want to know and I'll sure go do it.

I probably shouldn't tell you this (it only shows my total lack of common sense). I never gave a thought to an external drive. How's that for dumb? That would get me what I want (a working DVD drive) without getting into the box and possibly mucking something up.

As far as additional informationn on drive: What it says on the front of the drive case is "Compact Disk Ultra Speed ReWritable" "DVD-R DL" and "DVD R/RW". Nothing like a type/serial/manf. -- that would be too much to ask for. If there is additional data to be gained from the device manager tell me what it is and I'll get it. Something else I found in the device manager for this device is: LITE-ON DVDRW SOHW-832S

Could an external drive be assigned the "D" address? Would it be something you would have to do every time you booted? I installed an external floppy drive and it magically became drive "A". The first external drive I installed made itself drive "L" but then the second one became drive "K" totally unintuitive to me (I expected it to become drive "M").

You'll have to take me by the hand to dig into the BIOS (don't worry, I'll wash them first).


Not BOLD at all and not even updated.
Title: External DVD RW Drives and more
Post by: Evan on May 07, 2009, 07:19:41 AM

For now I want you to do 1 more thing in the Device Manager.  I want you to uninstall the Secondary IDE Channel.  You should have current modes listed there, the fact that you don't is telling me that the cable isn't connected or at least that is what Windows thinks.  But at the same time you can read a CD and it is showing up under "My Computer".  Because of that I want you to "reset" the connection (software wise).

To do this all you have to do is right click the Secondary IDE Channel (where you saw device 0 and 1) and select *Uninstall*.  Do NOT select *disable* and do NOT uninstall the Primary IDE Channel (This is where your Hard Drive is located).  After you uninstall the channel what you've effectively done is "removed" the port (in a software sense) on the motherboard that the data cable from the CD and DVD drive connect to.

Next, reboot your machine.  Windows will detect the port but see that it has no driver and will re-install it automatically (it could take several minutes, so just leave the computer alone for "maybe" 20 minutes after the reboot).  This will set the connection, and connection only, back to factory defaults.  See if there is any difference at this point.  Let me know what is the same and what is different through all the ways you've already tried.

If your drives don't work at all then we just expedited something that was already an issue and we then need to look at the BIOS.  I've never had that happen (just giving you a heads up) but I've also never seen the IDE Channel report back a blank current mode for devices you know are attached and can read CDs.

Shane said before that the D is CD and E is DVD (that is the standard way mfrs set up the machine), so are you 100% positive that the D is DVD and not CD? Which one is physically located below the other (when you look are looking at the front of the machine)?

Also, here is a list from newegg of external DVD Recordable/Writable drives. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010100420%201036506653%201037213801&name=8X If you don't care about creating DVDs then you can get one that doesn't Write for even less.

As far as the lettering goes for drives.  Windows does that automatically.  A and B are reserved for floppy drives.  C is reserved for the OS and depending on what you connect, where you connect it, how it is partitioned (in the case of storage), the letters are assigned automatically.  Your 1st external drive would have had to have been connected while F-K (6 devices) where in use.  I'm guess that your media card reader filled some of that.  If you had a USB "thumb" Drive plugged in when you attached your external storage, removed it, then attached the 2nd external storage then it would have taken the thumb drive's letter (which I assume was L).  That might not be "exactly" what happened to you, but that does (briefly) explain that part.

Keep me updated.  If you need to reach email me any screenshots or anything else that doesn't "fit" into this forum thread you can reach using my name @pcwintech.com

Title: 100% Sure? Not hardly.
Post by: macnext1 on May 08, 2009, 05:03:10 AM
Very few things in this world are 100% sure (at least in my view). However, I feel pretty confident on this. When I do a 'My Computer' I see DVD-RW Drive (D:) and CD Drive (E:) If this is not believable then I'm sunk.

The drive on the top (looking at the front) is the one that says "DVD R/RW", the one below that one says "Compact Disk".

Your scenario of how my 2 external disks came to be named as LK rather than KL is exactly correct. Thanks for the clarification (always been a mystery 'til now).

Now, let's go through this uninstall one BeeBee at a time:
1. Start
2. Control Panel
3  Printers & Other Hardware
4. On the upper left -- select "System"
5. System Properties - select the HW tab
6. Next - select the Device Manager
7. Select - IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers
8. Double click the first "Secondary IDE Channel"
9. Select the "Advanced Setting" and verify it shows Dev0 and Dev1 (with both showing "Current Transfer Mode" = Not Applicable) = You're in the right place.
10. Select the tab for "Driver"
11. Select "uninstall"
12. Ok all the way back out
13. Close everything
14. Start praying -- Reboot -- Don't panic yet; the reboot will take longer than usual.

Evan, if you will sign/date/initial my steps 1 through 10 on your machine then I will proceed tomorrow (and may God Have Mercy On My Soul).

You probably should include your address so my wife will know where to send my ashes after she has murdered and cremated my miserable body. Evan -- you got to laugh at some of this stuff -- it's all new material I'm plannimng on taking on the road.


If It Ain't Fun Any More Then You Probably Ought Not Hang Around (How's that for reinvent?).

BTW -- One BeeBee at a time comes from the fact that if you roll BBs (one at a time) across the table to a Bull Frog he will snap them all up, to the point that he can't jump any more.

Stay Happy
Title: Notes on Steps
Post by: Evan on May 08, 2009, 08:59:23 AM
Now, let's go through this uninstall one BeeBee at a time:
1. Start
2. Control Panel
3 Printers & Other Hardware
5. System Properties - select the HW tab
6. Next - select the Device Manager YOU CAN ALSO GET THERE BY Start->Run (or by holding the "Windows" key, located between the Ctrl and Alt keys, and pressing "r") THEN TYPING "devmgmt.msc" AND HITTING ENTER.
7. Select - IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers
8. Double click the first "Secondary IDE Channel" THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT TO UNINSTALL
9. Select the "Advanced Setting" and verify it shows Dev0 and Dev1 (with both showing "Current Transfer Mode" = Not Applicable) = You're in the right place.
10. Select the tab for "Driver" DON'T GO HERE, YOU WANT TO UNINSTALL THE CONNECTION (THE CHANNEL) My instructions should actually do the same thing, but, just to be sure, lets stay on the same page.
12. Ok all the way back out
13. Close everything
14. Start praying -- Reboot -- Don't panic yet; the reboot will take longer than usual. REMEMBER, ON AN XP MACHINE, YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT WITH THE DESKTOP LOADING.  WAIT FOR ALL YOUR ICONS TO APPEAR AT THE BOTTOM AND FOR ALL YOUR ICONS ON THE DESKTOP TO FULLY APPEAR.  XP won't let you "use" the computer till it's done loading.

Mac, here is a very usefull Windows information tool called SIW (System Information for Windows).  You can download the standalone version here or the installer version here.  The entire application is only 1.5MB. :) Using this app we might be able to figure out some more about your system.

Read this to read more about the point of re-installing the IDE channel.

Honestly though, I think this is more of a hardware issue.  The whole process might not help, but you will learn something out of it all (especially if you read article I linked to).

If you want I can remote into your computer (where you can watch) and take a better look at how the drives are set up.  I would use TeamViewer which you can download here.  On the download page you would want the Instant Customer download.  If you want to set it up send me an email.

I apologize for the delayed response...I wanted to get some extra details in the post (and I lost the original response I typed)
Title: Maybe device driver?
Post by: macnext1 on May 09, 2009, 04:05:29 AM
Evan, I read the article you pointed to and probably understood about every third word (I couldn't locate the page for dummies). I have downloaded the SIW and TeamViewer (neither installed yet).

I was wondering about the device driver. I did a Google on LITE-ON DVDRW SOHW-832S
and it turns out that LITE-ON is a company (LOL, I thought it was just saying that the optical light was on all the time). I know this machine is old -- perhaps the device driver has been updated and I don't have the update. Is it possible to check on this (perhaps you already did this) before we proceed?

And another question from 'chicken heart'. Is it a true statement that "unless you click the wrong thing then the worst case is that you will not be able to get to the two disk drives D&E but your access to the C hard drive will be just fine"? True/False. "Oh Ye Of Faint Heart" Is hoping for a true.

Title: I didn't catch that you made
Post by: Evan on May 11, 2009, 02:07:19 PM
I didn't catch that you made a comment on this two days ago (not sure how I missed that) so I apologize that I hadn't responded.

Did all of the steps make sense? (don't worry about the document I referenced...I just thought I'd put it up so you or anyone else could read over in greater detail)

If you are unsure I use teamviewer to help you remotely (and you can turn it off when we are through).  You just need to contact me to get the time setup.

As far as your last question goes; True...you will still have access to your C drive and thus Windows (unless you do something completely different than the instructions).  Everything really points more to your drive starting to fail or something wrong with the cable.  Both of which would require, at the least, for you to get inside the machine OR get someone else to for you.

Your easiest solution is to just replace it with an external drive.

Let me know how you want to proceed.

Title: Driver?
Post by: macnext1 on May 16, 2009, 04:22:07 AM
I'm gonna guess that you already considered and rejected an updated driver for this problem. I still haven't done the unistall of the channel. Maybe tomorrow -- I've kept pretty busy fooling around with that new (to me) laptop.

Title: Here's the Firmware
Post by: Evan on May 16, 2009, 12:40:07 PM

I don't know why but I kept saying "driver" when I needed to direct you to the firmware.  Well you can find the latest (hopefully newer than what you have) here.

That page contains a download and 2 insruction page.  You should read the one regarding Optical Storage Products Firmware Upgrade Instruction.

Still, if you want I can directly assist you with this.  I'm available today so it would be a good time to do it.

Make sure that your drive is the SOHW-832S and not the SOHW-832SX.  If it is then go here instead.

Title: I updated my firmware (I have
Post by: Evan on May 17, 2009, 01:42:12 AM
I updated my firmware (I have a Lite On too) and it was a simple process.  Just make sure you have the correct drive to correspond to the firmware I pointed to and it should go fine.  Let me know how that turns out.

Title: LiteOn.
Post by: macnext1 on May 17, 2009, 09:08:26 AM
I verified that the drive is the one I originally stated. I downloaded the Driver? Firmware? Also, printed the instruction sheet you pointed me to. Ran out of time on the Gateway (wife got up extremely early (for her anyway)). Back on the laptop now (relegated to the kitchen again). But perhaps we can some work done on teaching how routers work in the other forum -- anyhow, I don't anything pressing to do today -- still messing around with the laptop.

Title: Last Reply (Lost)?
Post by: macnext1 on May 19, 2009, 03:08:58 AM
I can't seem to get the forum software to take me to the last reply in this thread -- not sure but I'm pretty sure it was around May 15.

My update (hopefully will go to the end) is:

I closed everything, unzipped driver? firmware?, and ran the exe.

What I got was:

No Matched Drive Detected
This Utility Is Only For
Detected Drives:
0010 E: HL-DT-STCD--ROM GCR-8483B 1.00

I'm thinking that one of those 0's on D: should have been a 1.
BTW, I got the SIW installed, so if there is something you want to know about I'll bring it up. Otherwise, what next? Want to uninstall/reinstall the channel? Re: TeamViewer  -- got it but would probably be limited to before 6AM my time. I'm in Central Zone.

Title: Firmware should work
Post by: Evan on May 19, 2009, 12:15:41 PM

That firmware is correct.  The "This Utility Is Only For" names the same drive that is detected.  Either that means the firmware is up to date or there is an issue related to the drive and would be something you'd have to check with Lite-On about.

I can try and check into it further with TeamViewer but you're talking VERY early.  I'd more likely be up still rather than having woke up for the day based off your posting times.  What are good hours for you? 4-6AM Central time?

Title: CST
Post by: macnext1 on May 19, 2009, 01:41:44 PM
As a general rule I get up around 2:30 AM. No set time, just when I wake up. Today for example I went to bed at 8:30 PM and got up at 2:30. That's pretty typical plus or minus an hour. Will normally go to sleep around 8:30, wake up variable from 4.0 hours to 7.5 hours.

If you're gonna be up then let me know, but I really don't want you to stay up late just for me. Just sometime when you are up late let me know. There is no fire burning on this problem just something that needs to be attended to.

Gotta brag a little. My youngest daughter got her two year degree (already started working on her Batchelors). The best part is she is a full time Mom (3 KIds and volunteer work at the church) and finished Magnum Cum Laude!!!!

Title: There's a good chance I'll be
Post by: Evan on May 19, 2009, 02:19:06 PM
There's a good chance I'll be up around when you wake up at least a few times a week.  I can help you out if you want but either you need to get in touch with me via email or come up with something creative.

Congrates on your youngest daughter, trying to balance school and family is no easy chore.

Title: EMail will work.
Post by: macnext1 on May 19, 2009, 03:18:00 PM
What I'll do is EMail you each morning when I get on the system. If you're around then we can do the TeamViewer, if not then maybe next time. Sooner or later we'll connect. Your EMail is *@pcwintech.com correct?

Title: Thats correct. I removed the
Post by: Evan on May 20, 2009, 07:14:08 AM
Thats correct.  I removed the address to keep from spam bots catching it and flooding my inbox.

I'm in the same time zone as you, but I'm a more typical awake for the day and asleep at night type schedule.  I just have a few nights out of the week I stay up very late working or just otherwise can't sleep.

Title: EMail
Post by: macnext1 on May 20, 2009, 08:00:37 AM
We'll connect sooner or later. I didn't send you an Email this morning because I had a poker tournament that was going to start pretty soon. Not to mention that I have to down a couple of cups of coffee before I'm willing to talk to anyone.

Title: Uninstall Channel
Post by: macnext1 on May 31, 2009, 06:01:36 AM
I got up SUPER late this morning, which meant it was too late to enter any poker tournaments. So I went ahead (using the instructions about 5 or 6 posts back) to uninstall and reinstall the channel. After the uninstall I did the reboot and got a 'new harware found', -- bubble said it was the channel. At the end of the reboot I inserted a DVD. It came up empty once again.

If you can think of something else to try then let me know and I'll do it.

If not then I reckon it is time to buy a USB DVD R/W drive. Using Google I see an awful lot of them. Do you have one that you would recommend?

Title: I'm glad you were able to
Post by: Evan on May 31, 2009, 10:06:02 AM
I'm glad you were able to follow the steps...it sounds like that process worked just fine.  Did you have any trouble at all with the insructions?

If that didn't fix your problem then the only, realistictly, things you can do now is find the correct firmware (I'm not sure where that got messed up..) and open the case and make sure your data cable has a secure and correct connection (and that it's not damaged).

You are just better off buying an external drive though.  I'd recommend going over to www.newegg.com and searching there.  If you find one you like then go back over to google and search for reviews on the particular drive.  Just to make sure you can get the most out of your dive make sure you look for a DVD R/W DL (Dual Layer).  The dual layer will let you write twice as much info to a disc than a regular DVD RW drive.  Though movies are probably the only thing you use that for (and the DL discs cost more) so you could save money skipping the DL version most likely.

Title: Powered Hub
Post by: macnext1 on June 13, 2009, 02:12:43 AM
I got a USB DVD R/W drive from NewEgg. At first it looked as though the drive was not going to work on the desktop so I moved it to the laptop. It worked there and the only differences I could see were the firmware (driver) and a powered hub. We made a trip to Sam's and got another powered hub. That was the answer. With a powered hub the drive works everywhere. So now I can read/write CDs/DVDs on both systems (if I move the drive). Never was successful in getting a newer driver in place but I guess I don't need it.

So now I can read the 'restore' disk that came with the system. I shudder to think of what it would require to start from 9/2003 and build my system back up from there. Been more than a few changes in the last 6 (almost 7) years.

Time to close this forum item out and go back to the item on 'system back-ups'.


Title: Powered Hub fixed it.
Post by: Evan on June 16, 2009, 07:23:27 AM
Great to hear that the powered Hub fixed your issue.  Now that you have a working solution you can always go back and see if you can get the old drive working...though you certainly don't need to. :)

Title: You're Right
Post by: macnext1 on June 16, 2009, 11:25:00 AM
You should know by now that laziness is the watch word around here -- so having a working drive is going to put this thing (forum item) to bed. However, now that that solution is in place it is time to return to the 'Backup Fails' and see if that can be resolved. Last update was mine. Your turn. LOL

Title: Can Read Discs Again
Post by: Evan on June 18, 2009, 06:09:22 AM
Lets consider this closed then.