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CD/CDRW problem returns

By aszunick ·
Dell 4600 running Windows XP Pro.

I thought I had cured the problem by restoring XP back one week. The problem returned. If I boot with a disk in either drive it will show the title (in My Computer) and work normally. When I remove the disk and insert another it continues to recognize the drives title and "can't access the drives". I've checked and confirmed that all cables and hardware are OK. The only thing I can think of that is common to both drives is the Registry. Any recommendation will be greatfully appreciated.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to CD/CDRW problem returns

Try downloading the 30 day trial of Iolo System Mechanic 5 not the Pro version just the basic version 5 at

You can run a registry scan with this tool and see if it reports anything wrong and fix it. This is a full working version of the software but has a 30 day usage limit on it.

But do not try removing duplicate files as it will crash your computer and also if you are told that changes are about to be made that are not undo able do not make the changes unless you are totally sure that they will not adversely impact your computer.

What have you added in the last week as that could be your problem if you un install it do the drives work properly after wards?

If the above doesn't cure your problem you'll have to save all of your data and reload as it will be the simplest solution. Since your CDRW isn't working the simplest way to save your data would be to fit a temp HDD and copy it across to that or use a USB/Firewire external drive to save to. Remember to save any programs that hold data in them as well as your My Documents folder your favorites List your address book and any stored e-mail.

Lets know how you get on


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by aszunick In reply to

Thanks for the information. I did as you recommended and downloaded System Mechanic 5. Unfortunately, it did not fix the drive problem. Any other suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I haven't added anything to the system recently and everything else seems to be operating properly

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by willcomp In reply to CD/CDRW problem returns


Have you by any chance installed Easy CD Creator or some other CD burning software. (Easy CD Creator in particular).

If so, uninstall it. You may also need to edit the registry to remove upper and lower filters. Instructions are at link below.


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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to CD/CDRW problem returns

OK you have ruled out a registry problem so you are left with either a IDE controller or software problem. The way I would proceed from here is to load up another HDD if you have one handy and see if the problem arises again. If it does on a minimum install of Windows you defiantly have a hardware problem of some sought.

Have you tried replacing the M'Board Battery? That could be going flat and causing problems and while I would expect to see different problems but I've seen enough strange things happen with a mostly flat battery not to rule out any possibility. If it is the IDE controller there is nothing you can do about it unless the M'Board is still covered by warranty in that case you can RMA it for replacement/repair.

But first if you do not have a spare HDD lying around I would buy one second hand and just load Windows onto it to see if anything happens like the problem that you currently have. If it works properly you know what you have to do and while it is painful it will most likely be your only recourse a reload of Windows, if that is the case the HDD will come in handy to backup your data to as you can not rely on the CD burner as a reliable destination drive to securely save your data to.

If a clean install of Windows doesn't cure the problem it has to be the M'Board as I seem to remember that you said that both the CD drives where on different channels and the only thing common to both IDE channels is the IDE controller.

While you could always use a PCI IDE card as a stop gap method if you need to reload the computer again the CD ROM will not be recognized for boot purposes so you will be stuck.

Have you cleaned out the case and Power supply as these things attract dust and crud like there is no tomorrow and there could be a problem in there but honestly it doesn't sound like a short caused by a build up of dust and other objects.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

There is just one other possibility here and that is the Power Supply itself which may be starting to show the signs of age or being constantly over driven because it is underpowered for your requirements if you can fit another generic PS to the case I would be trying that one first as I've seen PS's fail by allowing the 5 V DC rails to go low and corrupt the HDD MBR's. If it is a off the self unit you may be stuck with the PS that is already in the thing as they are custom made for the case I ran across a Compaq several years ago where the PS was way to underpowered for the unit and failed but when it was replaced the unit still didn't work however when I plugged in a 480 W Antec the computer worked perfectly but it wouldn't work on the new PS supplied by HP if I remember correctly it wasn't seeing the contents of the CD ROM either but as it came in that configuration new HP had to swap out PS until they found one that worked I just solved the problem for them and then left it up to HP to repair.

Other than the IDE controller and Power Supply there is nothing shared between these two drives so you are left with one or the other option.

I'm taking it that forcing a System Restore doesn't help you now but even if it did it is only a stop gap until the real problem is found.

Is the unit displaying any other problems? As if it is that may just point to what is going wrong.


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by aszunick In reply to

You were right. Easy Creator 5 was the problem. I removed it from the system and is well. I waited until this morning just to make sure it wasn't another false alarm. Both drive work flawlessly. I checked the Microsoft web site as you recommended and there are upgrades for WIN XP. I'm not sure I should reinstall EC5 and the upgrade files after all I've been through trying to figure out what was going on.

Thanks for your support. Obviously, if I hadn't received your information I probably would have had to reformat and insall everything again.....probably with the same results.

I hope you found the intermittent in the computer you were working on.

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by aszunick In reply to CD/CDRW problem returns

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