Here's the outline: (to the best of my memory) 1) CD burner was working fine, but suddenly stopped being able to burn, yet could still play data and music CDs. 2) Assumed it was a software problem, so tried several different burning programs. None of them helped. 3) Assumed it was a hardware problem and got a new CD burner. Still would not burn. 4) Assumed it was the OS (Windows Me), a good assumption as it had become impossible to even run any of the burning programs. 5) Finally gave in and got Windows XP -- a clean install on a new hard drive. Still cannot burn using a couple of different programs. Error message is "communications failure." Drive plays data and music CDs fine. Remember please that the CD burner is new. Is the problem something dumb like the little cable that goes from the back of the optical drive to the sound card/integrated audio on mobo? Is that cable even necessary? At one time I had two optical drives installed and they both played CDs fine, even when only one had that cable to the motherboard. In fact, I once had a sound card installed because of defective integrated audio, and both drives played CDs fine (IIRC) even though I'd neglected to unplug that little cable from the mobo and plug it into the card. In other words -- can't an optical drive get all the communication it needs using just the IDE? Sincere thanks for your attention and replies.