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Q.  I went to use my CD ROM drive for something and when I go to look for the icon it has suddenly disappeared. It was there a couple days ago, so how could it be gone now?

A.  The problem more than likely lies within some software. If you have a CD/DVD burning software program installed on your computer, it may be the root of the problem. If you've recently tried to uninstall that software, it may not have completed properly, which would be the start of the missing CD ROM mystery. If the uninstall doesn't go smoothly, an error may have occurred and that's why the CD ROM/DVD icons are missing.

Before you dive in to fixing this problem, let's make sure your CD ROM drive is properly connected to your computer. If this happens to be the problem, you surely don't want to go messing around with a software issue, so try this first. Double click on your My Computer icon and click on "View system information" under the System Tasks area at the top left hand corner of the window. Next, choose the Hardware tab and click on the Device Manager button.

Once in there, look through the list for the DVD/CD ROM drives and click on the little plus sign ( + ) to expand it. At least one item should come up under that heading. If one does, it means that your CD ROM device is connected and that it does have power. If nothing comes up, you may have some internal connection problems with the power and the ribbon cables. To check on this, shut down your computer, remove the two cables that go along with the connectors on the back of the drive and reset them firmly back in. Also, check on the ribbon cable and ensure that it is plugged tightly into the motherboard. (If you're not completely sure on how to do this, get some professional help with it).

When you have done all of that, restart your computer and try the above directions again (in the device manager). If you still don't have anything listed, your CD ROM drive may be defective. Now, if you have tried all of this and nothing has worked yet, as I said before, it could be a software problem. So, let's go ahead and explore that.

In the device manager listing, right click on the item that appears in the list and choose Properties. Look in the Device Status area and see if there an error (could be error code 19, 31, 32, 39 or 41). If this is the case, you won't be able to use the original software for your CD ROM drive, but you could do a search online for your drive's vendor and see if you can download the latest driver software for your particular CD ROM drive. This along with a restart of your computer can solve the problem.

Another thing that may help is the system restore feature that Windows XP offers. A system restore can place your computer back to a time when it was working properly. If you can remember the last time you know your CD ROM drive was working right, do a restore for that date. This may solve your "missing drive" issue. With any luck, it will.

But, if luck is still not on your side, the next resort is working in the registry. I know I've said this before, but please do keep in mind that the registry is a very advanced module to work with and if you're not 100 percent sure about it, ask for some help or take your computer to a repair shop where they can give you further assistance. If you are sure you can do this, follow these steps.

1. Go to Start, Run and type in "regedit" (without the quotes) to open up the Windows Registry Editor.

2. Find the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Class" listing.

3. Under the Class entry, double click on "{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}."

4. Next, in the right hand window pane, click only once to select the UpperFilters entry.

5. Verify that the UpperFilters entry is highlighted and click on Delete, then click on Yes.

6. Now, go back up to the right hand pane and click only once to select the LowerFilters entry.

7. Make sure the LowerFilters option is highlighted and click on Delete, then click on Yes.

8. Close out the registry editor by going to File, Exit.

Now, restart your computer and when it boots back up completely, your CD ROM drive should show up under the My Computer icon. If it still doesn't, you can always reinstall your original CD ROM software to get it up and running.

Hopefully one of these suggestions will bring back your missing CD ROM drive and you can go on using it as if nothing ever went wrong!

Let me know if you need anything else.

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