1. Start with "The CD-ROM drive cannot be recognized or seen by the system, or the CD-ROM driver hangs or says it cannot find the CD-ROM when it loads", and see what comes out in the wash.
2. The first thing to determine is whether the CD drive door will operate when power is applied to the computer and the drive indicator light blinks.
3. If devices are recognized as attached peripherals they will be listed as resident on the "System Configuration Summary" (BIOS Startup Screen) at boot. Press the Pause key as soon as you see this screen start displaying so it can be stopped and read. Press any other key to continue. If the CMOS/BIOS does not recognize and display peripheral information on this screen, Windows certainly will not.
Note: Enter the BIOS and set the particular controller where a single CD-ROM drive is attached to None instead of AutoDetect.
(PCGuide Web site quote)
The BIOS is not autodetecting the CD-ROM drive when the system boots up:
Explanation: Your BIOS supports detecting CD-ROM drives when it autodetects at boot time, but either consistently or intermittently does not detect your drive.
Diagnosis: Support for detecting CD-ROM drives in BIOSes can be rather spotty. Newer ones usually support this feature but older ones don't. I have also seen drives that are sometimes detected and sometimes not. Ironically, the BIOS doesn't really do anything when it autodetects a CD-ROM, unlike when it detects a hard disk. The CD-ROM is controlled entirely by the software driver. So in short, it doesn't really matter much if the CD-ROM is detected in the BIOS or not.
Recommendation: Don't worry about it.
4. Use an Emergency Startup Disk/EBD with BIOS properly set to boot to start the computer and see if access to the CD drive is possible and a director listing can be performed by typing dir at the command prompt and then pressing Enter - do this with several CDs without rebooting to see if access to different CDs operate correctly.
5. Test a CD drive using the Windows 98 "Microsoft System Information (MSINFO32.EXE)" (Click to see an example screenshot) tool, which is a tool for gathering system configuration information and is intended primarily to help engineers determine information that could indicate problems with a system (click the + (plus sign) in front of "Components", and then "Multimedia").
6. Dismount and test whether the CD-ROM drive works on another computer. Don't do anything and just purchase a new CD drive and/or data cable. Add the old CD drive to the bone yard and you'll have a stack like mine after a while.
7. Edit the Registry for anomalous entries:
a. Click Start Run and type regedit and then press Enter.
b. If the CD drive in question is IDE, and there are no SCSI drives on this computer, delete the key entry for HKLM\Enum\SCSI.
c. If there are entries other than the one 0000 sub-key in the following registry address - others numbered greater than four zeros, remove them:
8. If any updates from the Microsoft site has been integrated into the system just prior to this anomaly occuring, uninstall those and see if the problem is corrected (click Start, Run, type msinfo32, and then press Enter. From the Tools menu, select Update Wizard Uninstall, and follow the instructions).
Note: If you'd like to compare the before and after process before initiating the uninstall, there are two and perhaps more, registry addresses involved which are listed below. Export the main key address for which these two sub-addresses fall, and after initiating the Update Wizard Uninstall and then compare the two (TEXT) file for differences:
a. To start the System Registry Editor, click Start, Run, type regedit, and then press Enter.
Note: Click the Plus box in front of HKLM to expand it and continue clicking/expanding appropriate folders (each word preceded by a slash in the above address) until reaching the last folder named "MF". As sub-folder to this address, you should find the last two items.
b. Click CHILD0000 so this key has focus (bolded). Click Registry in the main menu and select Export registry file. Select where you want it saved (floppy perhaps) and change the extension of the file type to .txt - don't want you accidentally double-clicking it and that information be re-entered into the system registry, which it would if the file has a .reg extension. I'd simply use the file name as reflected for that address (child0000.txt). Do the same for the second address indicated. Should you want the deletions from the registry re-integrated, simply change the extension of .txt to .reg to merge it back.
c. If you have accomplished the above, or simply looked at the information contained in the registry, click Registry in the main menu and select Exit. Or simply click the tiny x in the URHC of the window to close.
Note: To check the differences after an uninstall, open the registry again and compare what is seen there as compared to the the exported text file(s) -- most likely the line "DeviceDesc"=".
Warning: The article [Q194847] explains that when a device driver is chosen to uninstall, the newer version is removed (no backup copy is saved) and the older version is reinstalled.
Note: The article [Q273851] explains that when an attempt to view the list of Windows Update packages available for uninstall, the following error message may be received and may occur because this wizard is used only to uninstall device drivers that have been installed, not software packages:
No packages available for uninstall