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Offline macnext1

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Disks are good. D is the DVD R/W drive.
« Reply #15 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(?).

Mac

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Disks are good. D is the DVD R/W drive.
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2009, 02:28:51 AM »

Offline Evan

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Firmware Upgrade or Cable Problem..or dying drive
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2009, 08:36:06 AM »
Mac,

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.

-Evan
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Offline macnext1

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Easy/Safe?
« Reply #17 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?

Mac

Offline Evan

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Opening a case is easy.
« Reply #18 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.

-Evan
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Offline macnext1

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Device Manager
« Reply #19 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?

Mac

Offline Evan

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Good Info from Device Manager
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2009, 04:41:00 AM »
Mac,

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 :)

-Evan
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Offline macnext1

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Not Applicable.
« Reply #21 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).

Mac

Not BOLD at all and not even updated.

Offline Evan

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External DVD RW Drives and more
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2009, 07:19:41 AM »
Mac,

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

-Evan
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Offline macnext1

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100% Sure? Not hardly.
« Reply #23 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.

Mac

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

Offline Evan

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Notes on Steps
« Reply #24 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
4. On the upper left -- select "System" YOU CAN ALSO RIGHT CLICK ON "MY COMPUTER" AND CLICKING "PROPERTIES"
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.
11. Select "uninstall" RIGHT CLICK THE CHANNEL AND FROM THE CONTEXT MENU 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. 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)
-Evan
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Offline macnext1

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Maybe device driver?
« Reply #25 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.

Mac

Offline Evan

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I didn't catch that you made
« Reply #26 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.

-Evan
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Offline macnext1

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Driver?
« Reply #27 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.

Mac

Offline Evan

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Here's the Firmware
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2009, 12:40:07 PM »
Mac,

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.

-Evan
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I updated my firmware (I have
« Reply #29 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.

-Evan
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I updated my firmware (I have
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2009, 01:42:12 AM »