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Thread: Laptop CD drive problems! cant boot from it

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    Laptop CD drive problems! cant boot from it

    I've got a friends Toshiba Satellite Pro A120, it was running very slow so I said I'd do the usual for him. Backup all his documents then reinstall windows. not so simple!
    Firstly, trying to boot from CD so I can boot into Ubuntu or reinstall windows. Took me long enough to work out I had to press DEL/ESC to get into the BIOS, but once I set it to boot from CD (and had a bootable CD in the drive), it just kept booting from the HDD. Every so often I would get an error saying
    "Media test failure - check cable"
    or something similar, theres lots on the internet about that. I think its something to do with if the boot order has CD first then it has LAN as 2nd.

    Managed to boot Ubuntu from pendrive. Trying to copy his documents over to my external drive but was copying really REALLY slow (like 1MB/s) and kept getting I/O errors on a few files. I can't run HDD diagnostic software as I can't boot from CD (could get the Ultimate Boot CD onto a USB stick though if anyone thinks it could help?).

    In windows, the CD drive only reads real CDs (like audio and DVDs, not CDRs or DVDRs). does this mean a failing drive? what puzzles me more though, is that I switched the CD drive with a working CD drive from another laptop and windows now doesnt recognise this new CD drive at all! When Putting a bootable CD in this new CD drive it still boots from HDD (not recognising the CD drive at all). The BIOS is a bit useless and doesnt show detected drives....
    Also, booting Ubuntu from pendrive, with the original CD drive, it only reads real CDs and DVDs and all copied ones are seen as blank discs, and replacing the CD drive with a known working one in Ubuntu means its not recognised at all (so its not windows driver problems).

    When I started messing around with it I do remember windows saying the time had been reset, so I set the time properly, then it did the same again i think. A flat CMOS battery couldnt be responsible for this?

    Is the motherboard, and specifically the IDE controller or one of the ports broken, or am I doing something stupid? I'm tempted to just install Ubuntu by USB and tell him not to bother with CDs anymore ;^)

    Any suggestions or comments would be much much appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Dan Gent

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    K22
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    Re: Laptop CD drive problems! cant boot from it

    Had a similar problem with a Thinkpad not so long ago. Look for a bios update and new firmware for the drive. You'll want to be sure it's not the battery before you do this of course... that would make for a disaster!

    Regards, K22

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    Re: Laptop CD drive problems! cant boot from it

    the battery? could the battery be responsible for any of this?
    the battery is very old and done in, doesnt hold charge for more than twenty minutes, also theres only a universal adaptor to plug in, which doesnt help because it doesnt quite fit properly! any slight movement stops the current to twenty minutes later the laptop will shut down.....

    i tried cleaning the CD drive with isopropyl alcohol, no luck though, still didnt work. going to buy a new CD drive to put in, i've read on a few websites that (because its old IDE technology) I need to set the drive to slave by software (not just jumpers). I have to flash it or something to set it to slave.
    does that sound familiar?

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    Re: Laptop CD drive problems! cant boot from it

    Hi Dan,

    I meant the BIOS battery before flashing. If you are setting to CD and it persists to boot from HDD, the bios may be resetting itself on reboot if the battery is dead. Personally I'd try the CD firmware first (if there's an updated version) as that less hazardous to your laptops health ;-)

    K22

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    Re: Laptop CD drive problems! cant boot from it

    ah yes of course....the BIOS battery!

    when in windows the CD drive only reads real CDs and not CDRs, so i think this is why it doesnt boot (i dont have any real CDs to boot off so I cant test this theory though!).
    I dont think the boot order is resetting as once it doesnt boot from CD it then tries to boot from LAN (which is the only way you can set it up, HDD first or CD>LAN>HDD) and gives me a "cable error" message (or something similar).
    could an old firmware version be responsible for the CD drive not being able to read CDRs?
    i've written off the CD drive so its not like i can break it anymore by giving flashing a go!

    Thanks for the help,
    Dan

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    Re: Laptop CD drive problems! cant boot from it

    On some laptops you can hold C, then press the power button and keep holding C until the CD boots.
    Could you borrow a USB CD drive or is there an option in BIOS to boot from a USB flash drive?

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    Re: Laptop CD drive problems! cant boot from it

    ah, i never thought of that. a USB CD drive. I've never been able to boot from them in the past, but i've only tried it once or twice. however, if this laptop supports booting from a pendrive it must support a USB CD drive.
    If i can find one to borrow, i'll do that. If not, i'll buy another laptop CD drive, and if that doesnt work, i can always keep it as a spare!

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