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CD drive broken

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#1 eterniawolf


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Posted 17 August 2011 - 06:40 PM

I have an old, OLD computer that I'd like to see properly functioning again. The thing has some malware on it that I tried to remove about 6 or 7 years ago. I was able to remove most of the malware through Spybot S&D, but there are some things that it could never remove. I haven't really touched it since about 2 or 3 years ago. Aside from the malware, all the hardware was working fine. Then, a few weeks ago, I moved the old thing into my apartment. It had been sitting around in my grandparent's old house for a year. I turn it on and start removing all the unnecessary programs since I decided I would try to save it first before going the route of reinstalling Windows 98. I planned on cleaning the malware out with some free programs I burnt to a CD (like a newer version of Spybot and a couple of other things). I stick the CD in and nothing happens. It won't read the CD. At first, I assumed I burnt the CD wrong. So, I burnt another CD. It also would not read.

My next thought was maybe it just couldn't read the type of CDs I was using since it's an ancient computer. The thing is 16 years old, after all! So, I get one of my games that I used to play on it. The disc was scratch free, and it wouldn't read that either. And since that game used to work, I knew that I had a problem. <_<

So, I check to see if the driver for the CD drive was working. It appeared to be fine when I looked in my settings. It didn't say it had an error or anything. After that, I turned off the computer and inserted my Windows 98 CD upon immediately turning it on to see if it was just Windows 98 that for some reason wasn't reading the CDs. Nothing happened. So, then I was 95% sure that my CD drive was broken. The other 5% was the possibility that maybe I knocked a wire loose or something during the move, but I was being careful with it.

ONWARD TO THE QUESTIONS! So, my CD drive is broken or something. I went to my settings to see what the CD Drive was, since I honestly know nothing about the hardware on that computer. It told me the driver was a SONY CD-ROM CDU77E, which is IDE I think? So, what kind of IDE CD drives can I get? I'm assuming all the wires are in tact. Can I buy anything? One with a CD burner? I don't know if it can handle a DVD drive since it's so old or if Windows 98 even supports DVD drives. What would you guys recommend? I could just find and buy the exact same CD drive I already had, but I'd rather get something better. :unsure:

Next question. How hard is it to change a CD Drive for someone who has never opened up a computer before? I've opened up my old Nintendo (NES) before and changed the 72 bit pin in there with instructions. I've also opened up my friend's Ipod video 30GB and changed the battery in it before. So I at least have a little experience opening up electronics, even though I've had no experience opening computers. It's hardly any experience, but at least it's something, lol.

While I'll be opening the computer, I was thinking I'd upgrade the hard drive while I was at it. How hard is it to do that? Is it has simple as just connecting wires to something? Cause I don't have tools to do anything complicated. Why do I want to upgrade the hard drives Well, look at the specs of this old thing:

Intel Pentium® Processor
812 MB Hard Drive
Microsoft Windows 98 4.10.2222 A

What's the highest sort of hard drive I can put in something like this, provided it's not too hard? I was thinking of at least a 2GB hard drive.

So yeah. Those are all my questions. I'm mainly concerned about replacing the CD Drive, so answers to my questions about that would be what I'd most like to hear. I would like to know what I can do with the hard drive situation as well, but the CD Drive is way more important to me if no one can help me with the hard drive questions. :)

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#2 lti


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Posted 17 August 2011 - 07:47 PM

You can install any IDE optical drive. Windows 98 was able to play DVD movies, but I don't know if it will read a data DVD. Drives are easy to replace. There is a power cable, data cable, and an audio cable. No soldering is required.

A computer that old might only support an 8GB hard drive.

#3 Nicholas Basso

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 07:45 PM

If you can still find something that small, an 8 GB hdd may be worth your time if you can get it for real cheap.

As far as replacing with a CD or DVD drive, a DVD Combo Drive or a DVD+RW may do the trick - Windows 98 can read Data DVDs /if/ they are formatted in the ISO or Joliet filesystem. I think there was a UDF driver for Windows 98, but I do not believe it came standard in the OS.

You will want to make sure you obtain an IDE optical drive, not a SATA (Serial ATA) optical drive. Sometimes IDE is also referred to as PATA (for Parallel ATA).

Replacing the device is very easy in terms of cabling, as lti wrote. In terms of hardware, older cases often had screws on the sides to mount the drive in place, but it sounds like you have a concrete understanding of that.

Some things to note:
The power cable, which is known as a "4-pin Molex", will be angled in such a way that the top of the connector has rounded corners, and the bottom of the connector has flat corners. It will only fit in one way.

The IDE Data cable is not so easy. The best way to guarantee you have it correct is to look on the connector itself to see if it has a block sticking out of the top or bottom, and make sure that it's inserted the same way into the new drive.

The audio connector, if present, will be a two-or-three wire plug in to a small socket on the back.

The other thing to consider is the jumpering. This is much easier than it sounds. Look on the old drive, and you'll probably see labels in the area for the jumper pins of CS (or cable select), MA/MS (or master), and SL (or slave). Make sure that the jumper selection on the new drive is set the same as the old. This is how the PC knows which device to talk to when sending signals back and forth.


I know this sounds like a lot of information to take in, but it becomes easy when you think that all you really want to do is make sure the new drive is set up the same as the old drive was set up.

Also, you'll find that the amount of RAM present there means that burning discs will probably be out, as the system will probably not be able to respond fast enough to write data to the drive fast enough.

You may find that a DVD-ROM drive, or even an old CD-ROM drive (if there are any small computer shops in your area they're bound to have one or two of these lying around) will be your cheapest option.

#4 Eyesee


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Posted 11 October 2011 - 11:36 AM

You can pick up a drive for really cheap these days so I would replace it. 20 bucks or so on Tiger Direct.
Make sure it is IDE as mentioned. If the IDE connection is not keyed just remember that the red stripe on the data cable always faces the white Molex power connector on the drive.

While you are in the case give it a good cleaning with compressed air. Particularly around the fans and heat sink.
On a system that old I would replace the battery as well. It takes a CR2032 which is about 5 bucks at Radio Shack.
Just remember that when you replace the battery you should go into the BIOS and set the date & time, the boot order (floppy, cd, hard drive) and make sure that the system ID's all the drives. Then save and exit.

I think this system might take a 20 gig hard drive. Not sure until you try it or give us a make/model or the motherboard specs. You might be limited to an 8.4 though.

I would also do a clean install. Since the system is infected you dont have many options in the way of virus/malware removal tools. Spybot still works, so does ClamWin AntiVirus and CWShredder but that is about it as far as I know.
In the beginning there was the command line.

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