Laptops forum

General discussion

Stumped- Dell Inspiron 3200 CD-Rom not recognized by the OS

by queenofmn / April 5, 2005 4:24 PM PDT

I recently bought a Dell Inspiron 3200 Notebook off of eBay. It has Windows 98. Right away I swapped out the floppy for the CD-Rom and was going to test it out. For some reason, the CD-Rom drive does not appear anywhere in the OS. Even though the floppy was disconnected, the A drive still appears (but is unaccessible).

I thought maybe if I re-formatted, it would work. Luckily the CD-Rom is recognized in BIOS and I was able to re-install Windows 98 via CD by having it boot with the CD-ROM. On the first start-up, everything was as it should be. The CD-Rom drive was present and the floppy drive (A) was not. But after the next restart, it went right back to the same old problem.

Any suggestions?

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Stumped- Dell Inspiron 3200 CD-Rom not recognized by the OS
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Stumped- Dell Inspiron 3200 CD-Rom not recognized by the OS
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Last time...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 5, 2005 9:11 PM PDT

I had to remark out the real mode drivers in config.sys and/or install an IDE BUS MASTER driver from

Windows 98 is quirky and best of luck finding this out elsewhere.

About drive A: That's how the PC is. The Macintosh doesn't do that so you may want to try one.


Collapse -
Thanks for the advice.
by queenofmn / April 6, 2005 2:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Last time...

I have a version of Windows ME from my roommate's old dell laptop that got fried in a lightning storm. Maybe having a different OS will solve the problem....trying to install it now but she threw away all her info from it when she got a new laptop, including the product key for Windows ME. D'oh!

Collapse -
That's a lessor OS.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 6, 2005 3:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks for the advice.

You can't find a Windows ME machine at home, shop, lab or near me.

Why do this?

Collapse -
It's the only other OS I have
by queenofmn / April 6, 2005 4:46 AM PDT
In reply to: That's a lessor OS.

I don't have access to any other OS and the specs of the laptop are too low for XP. My main objective is to get the CD to work so I can load this one program which is pretty much the only reason I wanted a laptop in the first place. I'm hoping that it will work with ME since it doesn't with 98.

Collapse -
Since it's the other OS, I'd stick to 98.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 6, 2005 4:49 AM PDT

ME has less drivers than 98 so stick with that one. If the CD doesn't work in 98, my bet is it won't with ME.


Collapse -
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 6, 2005 5:08 AM PDT

1. REM out that real mode driver in config.sys
2. In the IDE properties in the Device Manager, enable the secondary channel on the IDE controller in Device Manager (use the BOTH setting.)


Collapse -
Is there any hope left?
by queenofmn / April 6, 2005 11:50 AM PDT
In reply to: DO THIS!

I went in to REM out the driver but to my surprise, the config.sys file was empty. I did step 2 anyway and that didn't help.

(As a side note: My CD-ROM is a TEAC CD-224Exx. I went to their website to download a driver but it stated that drivers are not necessary for it.)

Collapse -
The file can vanish if you boot to dos.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 6, 2005 11:52 AM PDT

Your last post may have left out a detail.


Collapse -
I booted to windows
by queenofmn / April 6, 2005 12:08 PM PDT

I booted to windows and opened the config.sys with notepad and I also tried using MSDOS. Empty both times.

Collapse -
But was that C:\CONFIG.SYS
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 6, 2005 9:42 PM PDT
In reply to: I booted to windows

I had one person open CONFIG.SYS in C:\Windows.

That threw us off the trail.

How about that IDE setting? Is it on BOTH?


Collapse -
It was C:\Config.sys
by queenofmn / April 6, 2005 10:48 PM PDT

I found a backup file of the config.sys on a floppy I made before I re-formatted. It must be an older file because it wasn't in use when I received the laptop. It was in a folder called C:\Backup and it's all just a bunch of lines of this: *************************************** Noting about the cdrom driver. The autoexec.bat file lists the cd driver and it was already remarked out.

I did set the IDE setting to both.

Is it a possibility that the CD-ROM is just faulty and that is the reason for this? (Even though it works in DOS) Looks like it has been refurbished...

Collapse -
Now that the CONFIG.SYS looks ok, NEXT UP!!!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 6, 2005 11:19 PM PDT
In reply to: It was C:\Config.sys

Many get thrown around by EXPLORER as their only means to look for a drive or device. If you look at TWEAKUI you notice that you can HIDE DRIVE LETTERS.

The CDROM could be hidden from EXPLORER. I'd use a command prompt to skirt the issue, but even with Windows 98 being some 7 years old I've found owners that haven't bothered to learn basic command line skills.

Use your basic skills to open a command WINDOW (not booting to dos here!) and try DIR D:, E: and so on to sniff this out if you don't have TWEAKUI handy.


Collapse -
Still no luck.
by queenofmn / April 6, 2005 11:48 PM PDT

I opened TWEAKUI and all of the drive letters are checked. What should be my cd-rom drive, E:, has a picture of the drive with a little red x below it, while the drives that are working properly, A:, C: and D: do not.

I also did dir e: in the command window and it said invalid drive specification.

Collapse -
(NT) (NT) What does the DEVICE MANAGER report on this?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 6, 2005 11:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Still no luck.
Collapse -
(NT) (NT) Doesn't list a CDRom at all, and there are no conflicts
by queenofmn / April 7, 2005 12:01 AM PDT
Collapse -
Recap 2.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 7, 2005 12:10 AM PDT

After you install Windows 98. Did you find and install drivers from for this machine?

Some are forgetting just how old these DOS based systems are and how much was asked of the person who installs the OS.


Collapse -
by queenofmn / April 7, 2005 12:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Recap 2.

I downloaded all the drivers Dell has available for the Inspiron 3200 for Windows 98 and burned them to a CDROM with my desktop PC. After I installed Windows 98 (and my CD-ROM on the laptop was still present), I started trying to load the drivers but it kept saying that the most current one was already in use, and I didn't really give it too much effort. I will go back and make sure they are all loaded.

In the mean time, I am sending the CD-Rom drive back to the seller today, not because I can't get it to work properly, but because they had stated in the auction that it comes with a DVD-Rom, which it did not. He is going to send me a DVD-Rom for it. Hopefully I will not continue to have the same problems once I receive it. If so, you'll see me again.

Thanks for all of your help!

Collapse -
This sounds like you tried the DRIVER UPDATE BUTTON
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 7, 2005 12:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Drivers

That is not how one installs drivers and shows again how the memory is fading about how to install Windows 98.


Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

Does BMW or Volvo do it best?

Pint-size luxury and funky style

Shopping for a new car this weekend? See how the BMW X2 stacks up against the Volvo XC40 in our side-by-side comparison.