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Troubleshooting CD-ROM Drives | Tech Info | CD-ROM | Troubleshooting |

For information on existing CD-ROM drives, company links, and drivers, go to the CD-ROM drives page.


IDE drives -

There are several factors that can cause problems with CD-ROM drives.

The cabling is not properly connected

1) The power connector has to be plugged in. This is a 4 wire connector that goes from the power supply to the CD-ROM drive. If the computer does not have a spare plug you can buy a "Y" splitter cable which can provide an additional plug.

2) The IDE data cable has to be properly connected. This cable is normally connected to the IDE primary or secondary motherboard connector and can have either one or two plugs on the end. The cable has to be inserted on the drive connector so that the colored edge is on the same side as pin 1 on the drive connector.

IDE cables have a connector on one end which is used to plug into the motherboard or to an IDE card connector and on the other end either one connector or two connectors placed several inches apart. When you have a 2 connector cable it does not matter which of the two connectors is plugged into the CD-ROM.

If your computer has an IDE cable that only has one connector on each end you can purchase another cable that has the two connectors on one end.


The jumpers are not properly configured

Every IDE device has to be configured as either a Master or a Slave. Each IDE controller can only have one Master and one Slave device. When installing the CD-ROM drive, you need to know what other devices are connected on that IDE cable.

If there is already another device such as a hard drive connected, then that device would already be configured as the Master and you will need to set the CD-ROM drive as the Slave.

If this is the only device connected to the controller, then you will set the drive as a Master. Sometimes the possible settings are either "Master" or "Master with a Slave". Make the selection that is appropriate.


BIOS settings might be incorrect

On some newer computers, the BIOS has to be changed to tell the computer that a new device has been added. There are two distinct places that might need to be changed.

1) If the drive is installed on a secondary IDE controller, then you will need to go into the BIOS and find the entry that enables the secondary IDE controller.

2) On some systems the drive type (which is normally the place where the drive parameters are entered) has to be set to the "Auto" selection.

On both of the above entries, after the change you will need to exit the BIOS and Save the changes, then allow the computer to reboot.


The quickest way to check for hardware conflicts is to look in the open the device manager and look for yellow exclamation points in front of the device names.

When connected to a computer running Windows 95, IDE CD-ROM drives are detected automatically. After the computer is turned on and windows is loaded, you should see briefly a message that a new device was installed.

The drive will be given the next available drive letter.

If the drive does not seem to be detected then should check the device settings to see if there is a problem.

Double Click the "My computer" on the desktop, the My Computer window will be displayed
Double Click the "Control Panel" icon, the Control panel window will be displayed
Double click the "System" icon, the System window will be displayed.
Click on the "Device Manager" tab on the top of the screen, the System Properties window will be displayed

If there are any problems with the drive a Yellow Exclamation point will be shown in front of the "+CD ROM" entry on the device manager window.

Click on the + sign in front of the "+CD ROM". This will open the CD-ROM section and show you the drive name that windows has detected. Click on the name so it is highlighted (blue) and press the properties button on the bottom of the screen. The CD ROM properties window will be displayed. There are at a minimum 2 tabs on the top of the screen. The General and the Settings.

When the General tab is pressed the "Device status" will be shown in the middle of the screen. This should normally say "This device is working properly".

When the Settings tab is pressed, you will see specific information for that drive. The assigned drive number is located here. If for some reason the computer chose a drive name that is already in use by another device or if you want the drive to have a different drive letter you change it on this screen by setting the "reserve drive letters" of "Start drive " and "End drive" to the new drive letter you want.

Most of the problems are caused by improper Master/Slave settings or not having the IDE controller in the BIOS enabled.


For Laptops, make sure the disk is pushed in all the way in the center holding mechanism so that it is latched in place. You should hear a sound and feel the disk bottom-out when its seated all the way in.

For Desktops...

1) Make sure the disk is centered in the drive's tray.

2) Also check to the autoexec.bat file. If it has an entry for "lastdrive=xxx" this setting might be set too low. Change it to lastdrive=z and reboot.

  3) If you have a removable drive like a Zip or Jaz, you might have set the drive letter to the same letter as the CD drive.


Technical Information

Typical settings for IDE controllers are as follows:


Hardware Device Settings, Common Port Addresses


Device Common Port Range (h) IRQ
Floppy 03F0 [- 03F5]    
Video Cards 3B0 [- 3DF]    
Parallel Port LPT1 0378 0378 - 037F 7
Parallel Port LPT2 0278 0278 - 027F 5 *
Serial Port, Com1 03F8 03F8 - 03FF 4
Serial Port, Com 2 02F8 02F8 - 02FF 3
Serial Port, Com 3 03E8 03E8 - 03EF 4
Serial Port, Com 4 02E8 02E8 - 02EF 3
1st IDE drive 1F0   14
2nd IDE drive 170   15
3rd IDE drive 1E8   10
4th IDE drive 168    11
NE200 Ethernet Network Cards 300 300 - 31F 3,11
Sound Blaster 220 220 - 22E  
* Usually IRQ 5 if it is not used by a sound card



Installing on a Windows 95 computer

To physically install the drive follow the instructions that came with the unit. IDE drives are automatically detected by windows 95 so you will not have to do anything other than to physically install the drive and then turn on the computer. Windows automatically detects a new CD-ROM drive and loads the appropriate drivers and assigns a drive letter to the drive.


Installing on a Windows NT computer

Windows NT automatically detects IDE drives during a reboot and loads the appropriate drivers for the drive.


Installing in OS/2

Try selecting the "non-listed" IDE CD option in OS/2 Warp.


Installing on a DOS computer

To physically install the drive follow the instructions that came with the unit. You must run a special program usually provided to you on a floppy disk by the drive manufacturer.

Typically you enter windows, then click | Start | Shut Down | and select the "Restart in MS-DOS mode" option and press the <OK> button. Then put the floppy disk on the computer's A drive and after changing to the drive (A: <enter>) you type INSTALL <enter>. If this does not work, view the directory (DIR A: <enter>) and look for a file having the EXE extension. Type the files name on the keyboard and press the Enter key to execute the file and start the installation.

Some files will be copied to the hard drive and changes will be made to your config.sys and autoexec.bat files to allow the drive to operate correctly.

Examples of DOS settings

Installing on a Windows 3.x computer

The same procedure is followed as the DOS installation above.

To share a drive over a network in Windows for workgroups (WFWG) you must add the switch (option) /s after the device file entry "MSCDEX" in the autoexec.bat file.


SCSI drives

These drives have 2 additional settings that must be correctly set.

First the termination has to be correct. Either a set of resistor packs is used, or there is a jumper, or the termination is automatic. The drive Users' manual should tell you how to set the termination. Generally, on any one SCSI chain the two ends of the chain must have the devices terminated. If the CD-ROM is on the end of the chain then make the termination active.

Second the SCSI ID must be set and it must be unique. No other SCSI device on the system can use the devices SCSI ID. There are several ways to find what IDs are used by devices.

Some SCSI controllers will report this information while the computer is booting. Also, programs such as EZ SCSI by Adaptec, can report what IDs the devices use, and finally you can look at the jumpers of the other devices in your system and compare the settings to the user's manual.


Typical problems

Specific Models
Mitsumi, Wearnes




While looking at the back of the drive the selection pins are (left to right)

Cable Select, Slave, Master

Note: Some of the newer Atlas drives do NOT say CableSelect / Slave / Master, instead they have 1, 2, 3 but the manual still refers to the words instead of the numbers. In this case Cable Select is probably 1, Slave is probably 2, and Master is probably 3 .

DOS Setup





If you need to be able to access the cd-rom drive in the DOS environment, press Start, select ShutDown, select "Restart the computer in the MS-DOS Mode" and make the above changes to the autoexec.bat and config.sys"



( Note : This is a CD-ROM Drive, not a rewritable drive, it might say on the front "Rewritable Playback", the key word here is PLAYBACK )

Cds32x.gif (5441 bytes)

LG Electronics

...see the LG Electronics FAQ page.



Sound Cards

CD-ROM, Sound Card, Connectors

In order for the computer to be able to play sound through the CD-ROM drive a cable needs to be connected from the "Audio Out" connector on the back of the CD-ROM drive to a connector on the Sound Card.

cd_sound.gif (6277 bytes)

There are many types of connectors the majority of which are NOT interchangeable. If you need a cable make sure you get one that is made for both the CD-ROM drive and the sound card. Retail stores also sell cables with multiple connectors on each end making it easier to match the connector to the device.

Some of these cables can be found at the "CD-ROM cables" page.

A typical cable is up to 36 inches long with a black connector on one end and a white connector on the other end.






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