inspiron 2200 laptop drive problems

By wiss22
Jan 29, 2007
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  1. i don't even know where to begin. did i even post this in the right place? i'm so frazzled...

    let me preface by saying i lost my desktop hard drive a few months ago. no, i did not back up. it sucks, but i'm finally over it. whatever. it was an old-ish computer and i wanted to get a new one anyway. before it completely crashed, though, i got a blue screen - it mentioned something about hard disk failure, etc. somehow i was able to get it started and get some files off of it.

    but now i'm having laptop issues. i bought this dell inspiron 2200 august 2005. i had some shut-down errors that, thanks to this forum, i was able to fix by completely uninstalling norton. but lately it has not been recognizing the cd drive. sometimes when it starts up i get this light gray screen with white writing that says there's a problem with the unit in the modular bay. i haven't done anything to add hardware, etc. to my computer, by the way.

    yesterday i got the gray screen and it told me to reseat the device or shut the computer off and turn it back on again. i did that, and it was working fine (although i didn't try the cd drive). i didn't shut it off last night. i got up this morning and tried to play a cd in the cd drive. the auto-run (or whatever it's called when you have to choose what you want to do with the cd) did not start. "my computer" did not show a D drive (which is the cd drive). so i tried to restart.

    i got the blue screen that i mentioned above. hard disk problems. it said something about if i just added a program, i should just restart. i didn't add anything, but i restarted anyway. it started in safe desktop mode and said i had a major disk error and asked me to report the error. after i did, a browser window popped up and gave me instructions on how to backup my files and run chkdsk. i ran chkdsk but needed to restart. chkdsk found no errors, and it started up fine, including the cd drive (i was able to play my cd).

    what's going on? should i take it somewhere to get it checked out? why doesn't it see that the cd drive is there sometimes? it's so frustrating, especially after having lost almost everything on my desktop machine.

    by the way, i have backed the laptop up, just not using the actual backup utility because i'm running windows xp and it doesn't come pre-installed. it instructed me to find the xp cd and install it - which is impossible when it doesn't recognize the drive!!! ACK!!!

    please help. thanks in advance. sorry that i'm not fluent in tech-speak when it comes to this stuff. i'm sooo much better with software applications :)

    thanks,
    carrie
  2. wiss22

    wiss22 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    can someone recommend another website/forum that might be able to help me?

    thanks,
    carrie
  3. monton

    monton TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 146

    Another forum?

    Is there another forum?

    It sounds like you may have a hardware problem with the CD drive or a conflict with a driver. Have you reseated the cd drive? Tried using the computer without it? Do you know anyone who has a cd drive you can use to test your computer with?

    I have a Latitude D610 I'm working on that had/has various BSOD messages about files, hardware failure, etc., etc.

    I've run Memtest32 and have found numerous memory failures - over 8,000,000,000 so far. Bad RAM. I don't have the link to memtest32 but I did get it from this excellent forum. I think I would run that to eliminate the memory from the potential problem list.

    Download memtest32 (zipped)
    Extract (creates bootable disk
    Boot with floppy (you may need to set the floppy as the first boot device)
    Let it run for a few sets of complete passes.

    If no memory problems then back to plan B - other hardware

    Hope this is a fix or at least a start.
    Monton
  4. wiss22

    wiss22 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    no one responded so i thought maybe i needed to go somewhere else.

    thank you so much for your advice. i don't know how to do any of that stuff, so it looks like i have a lot of research to do before i can try any of this things.

    here's a dumb question (probably) - i don't have a floppy, but could i extract the memtest to a jumpdrive and use that as the boot device?

    maybe it'd be better for me to take it somewhere for a professional to do all that stuff. i might just make the situation worse!

    thanks monton. i appreciate your assistance!!

    carrie
  5. N3051M

    N3051M Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,800

    yes you can use the USB drive, just download the correct file off the memtest website. Don't ask me how it works because i haven't had the time to check it out.. but i assume you load it onto a USB drive, reboot the laptop and set it to boot off the USB..

    Otherwise a bootable CD is cheap and effective, does the same job and only needs a CD burning software to make it. But seeing that you have some CD drive problems...

    Follow my guide below in how to set conditions of the test, but do note that the latest version is 1.7 or something.

    This forum is run by volunteers across the world, so they would post if they have time or not post anything if they don't have anything to contribute to it (in other words they simply don't know the answer..). If you wish to go to a pro, then you can, but remember they take cash and credit :D

    The problem described sounded more like hardware problem than anything, but kind of hard to pin-point right now, so testing RAM would be a good first step.

    Regarding your CD drive problem, is it constantly not picking it up or just sometimes? Check if its being picked up in any of these places:
    - Device manager (right click My computer>Properties>Hardware>Device Manager) under CD/Dvd Drives or similar.
    - Disk management (right click My computer>Manage>Disk Management)
    - My computer
    - BIOS/Setup (when you boot up your PC there will be some key you will have to press, a clue it will say "Press ___ to enter SETUP", usualy DEL key or F2 etc.) in Boot devices or one of the pages there.

    Questions if i may..
    >Have you recently changed something in your laptop? hardware, software etc
    >did you bump the laptop by any chance?
    >how old is it?
    >care to expand on the BSOD? Go to C:\Windows\Minidump folder and post any new recent ones here (about 5).

    Run a HDD disc diagnostic utility on your HDD, by going to the manufacturer's webpage and putting it on some bootable media.. find out if you can boot from an external CD drive or something if you're stuck.

    A pro can probably fix it in a day or so, but for laptops its quite a bit of money unless its under warranty.. at least running some tests to help you determine whats the cause would minimize your downtime and probably cheaper to fix, since you know whats what..
  6. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Your CD-RW drive has likely gone bad, as this is typical of the Inspiron 2200. They do wear out, and yours is 17 months, or more, old. A combo drive is available for $30 plus shipping on eBay... $85 at Dell.
  7. jarro

    jarro Newcomer, in training

    Modular Bay is bad

    I have a similar problem with my dell latitude d800.
    I get the same gray message showing up when the computer boots with the dvd drive in the bay. Don't go buying another drive because the drive may be fine. In my case the drive work in other similar laptops and other drives from other similar laptops had the same problem in my laptop. I called dell and it turns out that the modular bay is bad which means the motherboard is bad. So dell is changing my motherboard. Dell figured out the motherboard was bad by having me look at the lights next to my power button. All lights went off when I got the message, all lights going off means bad motherboard.
    Hope this helps.
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