How to Recover a Lost CD/DVD Drive Under Windows XP

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Recover a lost CD/DVD drive under Windows XP by restarting the computer to see if that helps, re-seating the actual drive in the computer, or buying a new drive. Determine whether a CD/DVD drive can be recovered with instructions from a network engineer and IT specialist in this free video on computers.

Part of the Video Series: Computer Hardware Tips
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Video Transcript

If you've lost your CD or DVD drive, your optical drive inside of Windows, and it doesn't show up anymore, a couple of things might have happened. You put in a memory key and when it reassigned the drive letter, for some reason it lost your drive. So if you restart Windows and it shows up again, you'll know what happened. B, your actual drive failed, and you need to replace it. Which, you can go out to Best Buy or Walmart even, and buy the optical drive that you want... DVD writer, CD writer, reader, ROM, doesn't matter. Or C, you just need to simply reseat the actual drive. So basically you go inside your PC, go inside the case, unhook the cable that goes to the motherboard, hook it back in, restart your machine, and see if that helps. If it doesn't, then you probably need to replace the drive itself. Windows does a very good job of detecting your drive and assigning a drive letter to it, and letting you know it's there. There are very few cases that you'll need to actually do anything inside of Windows. But a good way to tell if the drive is there, if Windows detects it, but there's a problem with it, then you go into the Device Manager, inside of the Control Panel on Windows, you click down to 'CD/DVD-ROM Drives', and you'll notice that your... in this case I have two devices--one's a virtual drive and one's a physical drive--and you'll see a little exclamation point beside it saying that there's a problem with it. If that's the case then you need to replace the drive itself. Like I said, go to Best Buy, go to Walmart... any really electronic stores or a store that has electronics, and pick up a drive that you'd like. You can also go only to TigerDirect or NewEgg.com, and purchase a drive there for considerably less money than you would at a department store or electronics store. Once you buy it and you mount it in the computer just like you would any other computer component, screw it in and then plug in the cables, whether it be IDE or SATA, into your computer and then you plug in the power from the power supply inside your computer to the optical drive, power it on, Windows will automatically detect it, assign it a drive letter, you'll be good to go.

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