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Dell OptiPlex 745 not reading ANY optical drive

Posted on 2010-11-25
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
OptiPlex 745 will not read or execute from CD or DVD drives on any SATA interface, whether at boot or inside WinXP  NOTE: the BIOS does report the a drive installed, and the correct manufacturer of optical drive in the "Drives" section.

Various troubleshooting methods tried: (Please read all before responding)

(1) Upgrade to latests BIOS. Downgrade to BIOS several revisions in the past.
(2) Replaced DVD drive with another "known good" from an OptiPlex.
(3) Bought a new LG DVD drive and tried it.
(4) Tried various SATA cables.
(5) Swapped internal HDD and DVD drives and cables between SATA 0 & 1
(6) Enabled SATA port 4. Confirmed SATA port 4 would work with a random SATA HDD, then rebooted PC and tried DVD drive there. No Joy.  
(7) Removed BIOS battery and drained system of residual electricity. - -reset BIOS to default values.
(8) Set SATA in BIOS from "Normal" to "Legacy"  and back.

In conclusion, when I tried to boot to any bootable cd, the optical drive light blinks about once per second for a short while, and then the BIOS moves to the HDD for the boot process. Of course, if the drive is not recognized at boot, the O/S does not access it either.

I've never seen a SATA interface communicate with HDD's but not optical drives.   Any help PLEASE!!

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Question by:jnoaubrey
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by:techhealth
ID: 34213758
When you tried to boot from CD, did you strike F12 or let the system select according to the boot sequence?  Did you try multiple bootable CD?
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by:dlethe
ID: 34213795
I would eliminate windows / microsoft / drivers from equationfirst...  Download an ubuntu live CD, boot to it.  (You do not install the o/s, just boot to the cd/dvd).  Then you get prompt, and see if it identifies the optical devices and you can access them.

This will let you know if it is hardware or software, so you can eliminate half of the debugging methodology and look at the component that is known bad.
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by:jnoaubrey
ID: 34213952
Of course I've both used the Boot Sequence to set the system to the Optical first, and also selected F12.

I eliminated Windows / Microsoft right away by doing all my tests at boot. No need for a seperate Ubuntu CD, I have several bootable utility CD's from credible sources, these are based mostly on Linux distros and work on a wide, wide, variety of systems from laptops to desktops to servers!
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by:dlethe
ID: 34214058
some BIOSs simply won't support this.  based on what you wrote and your experience, your system won't ever do this ... so why not pick up a different SATA controller that is knownto work?
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by:jnoaubrey
ID: 34214160
dlethe:

Consider: A Dell OptiPlex 745 that was designed, built, delivered, and put into service with an internal optical drive, and functions for years with that drive  - - - - - unexpectedly exhibits a complete failure to be able to read from it's OEM optical drive, a Dell replacement, and a new LG drive.

I am focusing on the drive outside an operating system, so that we don't go through an unnecessary focus on the O/S. This is a bare essentials troubleshooting examination.

With respect, may I kindly ask do you know what you're talking about?????

 
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Lukasz Chmielewski earned 500 total points
ID: 34214257
How about the Power Adapter ? Did you try different one ?
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by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 34214358
Consider: A Dell OptiPlex 745 that was designed, built, delivered, and put into service with an internal optical drive, and functions for years with that drive  - - - - - unexpectedly exhibits a complete failure to be able to read from it's OEM optical drive, a Dell replacement, and a new LG drive.

I think you have already identified the problem.  The drive did work, but no longer does.  A replacement drive does not work either.  The probability that both drives are defective is small.  The system cannot boot it either.  The most probable reason is that the SATA controller has developed a problem.

Replace the motherboard or -- and this would be cheaper -- buy a PCI SATA controller.

By the way, everyone here is trying to help you.  Insulting dlethe was unnecessary.
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by:dlethe
ID: 34214371
author.  had you mentioned everything related to your system in your rant to me in the original question, I would have reponded differently.  

look at my profile. I submit I do know what I am talking about.


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Author Comment

by:jnoaubrey
ID: 34214421
dlethe:

I submit that I did report everything necessary to troubleshoot this problem at the basic level. I submit that you popped off a quick but incorrect answer because you just skimmed my extensive first post.

Regarding the "in-your-face" reference to your rank, please provide crediable help, or excuse yourself from this thread.
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by:dlethe
ID: 34214465
a new lg drive does not mean that the replacement drive has SAME firmware as the original.  it also does not insure that the PROGRAMMABLE mode pages are correct. it does not even mean that the darned thing even works properly.

your testing methodology makes assumptions that invalidates your statements about what could be the problem.  get another ata controller will likely resolve the issue.  if not, get a mode page editor if the firmware and hardware rev matches.  if the firmware is different, then this is NOT equivalent to what you replaced.  
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by:dlethe
ID: 34214552
and the reason I said to boot linux is that operating systems and drivers differ in their ATAPI commands and feature reauirements.  to dumb it down, not all hardware works the same on all operating systems.  even the boot sequence comes into play. (of course so do drivers)., but *nix operating systems are wonderful debuggers as you can attempt raw I/O with the dd command on the physical device, send TURs, and such to assess the situation and break down failure scenarios further to interoperability .
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by:nobus
ID: 34215811
to be sure, you can test both drives on another PC also (and the cables)
but to me, it looks like a bad controller on the mobo - as said above
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Author Comment

by:jnoaubrey
ID: 34218496
Roads_Roads:
Gets the credit on this one. It was the power line to the optical drive. I did not include a power problem in my initial troubleshooting because when I tested the SATA controller with a standard 3.5" 250GB hdd, it spun up and functioned properly!  There was just enough power to spin up a hdd, and enough on that power line to make one believe the optical drive was functioning. (LED light, tray action, and some rotational sound from inside)

I also hasten to add that the OptiPlex has only three power lines. One dedicated floppy connector, one long enough to reach the hdds at the bottom of the case, and the shorter line to the optical drives. Since the shorter line would not reach down to the hdd,  I never swapped lines because that would have disabled the internal hdd.
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