Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New DVD drive in notebook doesn't work (+ fix)

I had to replace the DVD-RW drive in one of our notebooks today. It is the older IDE/ATAPI type. When I plugged the drive into the laptop, it would not boot and BIOS kept displaying that
- The hard disk is S.M.A.R.T. capable, but command failed
- There is no DVD drive
- Boot from hard drive failed

It turned out that the new DVD-RW had a different Master/Slave/Cable option selected than the original drive. This is no big deal with a regular-sized burner, but laptop drives apparently have the option hard-wired and it cannot be easily changed.

The solution was quite simple - I have noticed that unlike the DVD-RW, the notebook's hard drive has Master/Slave/Cable pins on its back. I didn't have a notebook-sized jumper at hand, so I shorted the two "cable select" pins with a piece of wire and voila. The only glitch is that the hard disk is now the slave and DVD-RW is the master (I wonder why the cable is connected this way), but it doesn't seem to affect their performance, so who cares..

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