That shouldn't be the case. A DVD-RW drive should be able to read music CDs just fine, and you should virtually never have to update the firmware for a drive.
It sounds more like you might have either a bad IDE controller or a bad IDE cable. Open the case and look for the cable running out of the back of your DVD-RW drive. It should be sort of gray and flat. Trace it to the motherboard and press down on the top of the plastic connector part to make sure it's firmly in place. Then do the same at the drive end.
If that doesn't do anything, try switching the cables between your hard drive and the DVD-RW drive. (They're both the same so don't worry) See if the system will boot in that configuration. If it doesn't, it's probably a bum cable, and you can buy a replacement for a couple of dollars at a Best Buy or whatever. Just tell someone you need an IDE ribbon cable.
If it boots fine, and seems to run fine, but the DVD-RW drive continues to have problems, then it's either a problem with the drive or the controller. It's really kind of hard to test the controller, but if you have a spare system about or know someone who'd be willing to let you use theirs for a brief time, you can test to see if it's the drive by putting it in some other system to see what happens.
my cdrw/dvd will only recognise films ibelieve the firmware for the cd ie music or data has dissapeared iam using win me my cdrw/dvd is asamsung 308b how can iget it to recognise adisk in the drive i cant use my restore cd as it doesnt know there is adisk in the machine i am using a e machine hope u can help john