Windows XP SR2 problem? Grumble 50... 2004

 At last all our problems will be over. The very latest version of Windows has fixed absolutely all the bugs in earlier versions. Well maybe it has but unfortunately the designers were not content with just fixing all the bugs, they had to write lots of new stuff that carries probably more bugs than SP2 was supposed to fix.

Already patches are being placed for download on the Microsoft site and the new updated XP gaily picks them up (totally automatically of course) and installs them willy-nilly.
I think the silly bug about "not having an up-to-date anti-virus" has been sorted out. Whether this has been fixed by Symantec or Microsoft or a combination of both I don't know, but at least we're no longer concerned by the warning message that our computer will drop dead if we don't load another anti-virus program.

The latest problem I've come across led me a merry dance. Is it XP or is it something else??
I built a new computer for my brother in law recently and by chance had loaded SP2 quite early in the proceedings. After copying his old Windows 98 to a new drive and updating it to XP Pro, I must have installed an additional CDROM.

At some point I noticed that sometimes, even though a disk was in place, I got the message that there was "no disk".
The obvious thing I thought was that the laser was a little tired and focus couldn't be obtained so no disk was recognised. This is common with audio CD players that have had lots of use. Either a tired laser or a layer of dust or nicotine on the lens will cause this fault.
So, full of confidence, I fitted a new CD drive.

After inserting a CD it worked fine so I turned off the computer and put the machine on one side for collection the next day.

At some unearthly hour Riki turned up to collect his new computer.
I always demonstrate new computers as a matter of course and after some preliminary work placed an audio CD into the top drive. After a minute or two one of the media players opened and music came from the speakers.
You can also play a CD from the other drive, I said, and swapped the disk. Nothing.
I tried opening the drive icon and was rewarded with the message no disk, insert a CD etc….
I was then a little confused. Had I selected D or E? I tried the other icon (the one for the RW drive) and it opened but with no files showing.

This seemed to be the problem I'd had before changing the CD Drive for a new one.
After rebooting and experimenting for ages, I discovered the simple fact that it was always the first CD drive one tried that worked, leaving the other "disk-less".
Was it a problem with compatibility?

I changed the cable to a new ATA133 type. No change.
I swapped the drives from master-slave to slave-master… no change.
Was the new rewriter at fault?
I fitted a new drive, a different make even, but to no avail.

My supplier was baffled but sent me zipped up ASPI drivers. These went in but with still the same results.
What if I fitted one of the CD drives to the primary IDE port with the hard drive? This was not easy. In this particular box a standard cable wouldn't stretch between either of the CD drives and the hard drive. Have you noticed that for some reason cable manufacturers seem to mount the sockets on the wrong side of the cable, requiring a convolution or complicated twist to get them into place?
Anyway with this particular box the cable just wouldn't reach. I thought about remounting the hard drive. Sometimes mounting it the other way up with the power cable downwards will squeeze another inch or so from the IDE cable. Unfortunately, after removing the metal tray and detaching the drive, I discovered there were no mounting holes in the metal plate for this option, so back it went after wasting another 30 minutes.

We then found a mounting space underneath the CD drives so out came the hard drive again and, after some more convolutions, got it screwed down with an ATA133 cable satisfactorily stretched in place.
The other CDROM remained on the secondary IDE bus.
After switching on the power and rebooting we got an error message straight away about the drive not being ATAPI compatible.
Why was this?
It turned out that this particular motherboard need prompting to change the positions of the drives.
After fixing this we rebooted and…. Exactly the same. The first drive to be offered a disk accepted it and it worked OK. The other didn't see it.

By this time 4 hours had passed and Riki decided to take the machine as it was and we'd sort out the problem later….. Maybe?

Any clues?


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