1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

Can't read CD drives after replacing power supply

Discussion in 'Earlier Versions of Windows' started by Riverglen, Jul 30, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    473
    First Name:
    Larry
    Not sure whether this is hardware or software issue, but I'll try posting here first.

    I have a very old machine that was delivered with and is still using Win-98SE. Inevitably, the power supply failed. I replaced the supply with one salvaged from another old boat anchor I had around, and all seemed well until I discovered that the only application that I have been running on the machine now fails after running continuously for a couple of days. The application in question is something I wrote myself many years ago, that records and saves data from a home-built seismograph.

    While trying to figure out what the problem was, I discovered that since the power supply failure, I can not read from either of the optical drives on the machine. The Device Manager claims that both are working normally, and I can see them with a file manager, nothing on any disk I attempt to read in either drive shows up. Inserting a disk results in normal looking activity in the led's on the drive, as if the disks were being read, but none of the files on any disk I try show up in either the "My Computer" tool or in a third party file manager I have installed on the machine. Strangely, I can even map either of the drives from my main desktop machine, but they show up as available, but empty (except for a recycle bin, which shows up on the host machine also).

    I had intended on just reinstalling Win-98, but without being able to read the install CD, I don't see a way of doing so. The machine wasn't delivered with a recovery partition. So, now what....?
     
  2. metallica5456

    metallica5456 Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Messages:
    10,215
    First Name:
    Andrew
    Can you read them from Safe Mode? Or try booting a live Linux system from a USB thumb drive. If they work correctly in Linux, then it's a software/driver issue in Windows.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
  3. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    473
    First Name:
    Larry
    Andrew, thanks for your interest.

    I have tried Safe mode, to no avail. I do have a copy of Ubuntu on a memory stick, but the machine is so old that I doubt that the BIOS supports booting from a USB stick, although the machine does at least have a couple of USB ports. I tried to get the thing to read a USB stick that I have with a lot of debugging and maintenance utilities on it, and was informed that the machine couldn't find a driver to install to support the stick. So, I set that idea aside for now.

    A couple of other things of note. The BIOS screen that shows up when the machine boots indicates two drives present on the master IDE controller, which accounts for the hard disk and a floppy drive. The secondary controller shows something like "no disk present" for both the master and slave. Which is strange since as described in my original post, they show up in the file manager app, and the device manager claims they are working properly

    My best guess at the moment is that something in the BIOS got smunged when the power supply failed, but that really doesn't sound like an explanation for the random hang-ups in the data logging app. Symptoms of the app failure are the same every time. Total lock-up of the machine.

    I did notice that when the machine reboots, the BIOS status screen was reporting "floppy disk fail", so I disabled the thing temporarily in the BIOS. And, I replaced the BIOS battery on the motherboard, and made sure that the BIOS settings survived the process. Didn't even have to reset the clock. If I reenable the floppy, I get the error back, and the machine won't read that either. But for all I know, the thing could be full of dust.

    One thing that I can think of that may be worth trying is to connect one of the CD drives to the primary IDE controller in place of the floppy. If I'm lucky, maybe that will make it useable.

    If you have any further ideas, I'm certainly interested in hearing them.
     
  4. metallica5456

    metallica5456 Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Messages:
    10,215
    First Name:
    Andrew
    I would do that and see if it works. Unfortunately I don't have any further advice right now.
     
  5. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    473
    First Name:
    Larry
    Well, it looks like I'm in for more of a science project than I thought. Haven't gotten around to trying the cable swap, but I realized I had an old utility tool installed on the machine that includes a memory test. Ran it and discovered several faults before the test itself crashed before completing. So, it looks like this machine is too shaky to try to salvage. My current thinking is that I should get a reasonably modern machine and run Win-98 on it in a virtual machine. I can foresee some problems, but at least I won't be teetering on the edge of a crumbling cliff.
     
  6. SpyCrab

    SpyCrab

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Sorry Riverglen but if you dont mind me asking, what are your pc specs, redirect me if I missed them
     
  7. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    473
    First Name:
    Larry
    The machine is VERY old. Pentium processor running with a 550 Mhz clock, originally with 64 Mb (!) of memory, but ultimately upgraded to 256 Mb. 20 Gb drive. A reasonably competent machine for it's day (circa 2000). At one time I'd upgraded it to run XP, but wound up downgrading it to the originally installed Win-98SE when I dedicated it to it's data logging job. Believe it or not, it is way overpowered for the application I have been running on it. The original version of the data logging application was written with the expectation it would be running under MSDOS on an "IBM compatable" PC. We're talking antique here.
     
  8. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/1193945

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice