Go to Home Page GuidesHow to ArticlesReviewsForumsFrequently Asked QuestionsNewsLinksPotpourri

Site Search


How to Install a CD-ROM Drive
Last updated: 5/16/00

PHYSICAL INSTALLATION.  Use care when installing any disk drive.  I've seen too many CD-ROM drives ruined by "gorillas."  This drive goes into a 5 1/4" drive bay in your computer.  You may need drive rails.  Attach them first.

It is usually easier to plug the audio cable and flat IDE cable into the drive before inserting the drive into the computer .  The flat, IDE cable is plugged into the drive with the red stripe towards the power connector (the above picture is of a Toshiba SDM 1221 DVD drive).  It makes no difference which connector of an IDE cable is connected to a drive and which one is connected to the motherboard (it does make a difference with an ATA/66 cable).  If you have more than one drive to connect to the Secondary IDE connector and the cable length is not long enough between the drives, try it the other way around.

The audio cable is plugged-in with the red wire away from the power connector.  You may have a power supply cable that is long enough to extend through the bay and past the front of the case.  If so, attach it next.  Feed the wires followed by the drive into the bay.  Take your time and do not force the drive if it is a tight fit.  Align the drive and secure with the four screws provided.  (If screws were not provided with the drive, be sure to use the correct kind.  Most CD-ROMs use the same sort of screws used to attach floppy drives).  Do not over-torque the screws.  Remember, a CD-ROM is a precision instrument.  Over-tightening the screws may warp the drive frame and make the drive inoperative or sporadic.  Recheck the drive alignment with front of the case to assure a professional appearance.  The flat cable usually plugs into the motherboard's Secondary IDE interface with the red stripe towards pin 1 and the audio cable goes to the CD-ROM Input (or something like that) on your sound card with the red wire towards pin 1. Excess cable should be folded-up and secured with cable ties for a professional appearance and to assure that the cables will not fall into a CPU fan, etc.   Push on all of the connectors before firing-up your computer to be sure they are fully and properly seated.

CMOS SETUP.  You may need to go into your CMOS Setup and enable your the appropriate drive in the Standard Setup (Award BIOS).  Setting it to Auto works with most recent motherboards.  You may have to actually disable the drive if it is connected on the same cable to a Zip drive, etc.  Windows 9X and NT will usually still detect and install the CD-ROM and make it usable.

WINDOWS INSTALLATION.  The Windows Installation of the 848E and many recent CD-ROM drives is simple and fast.  The ATAPI driver on the various flavors of the Windows 98 Startup Disk recognizes the drive and brings it up for a quick Win 98 installation on a new system.  Windows 98 will also boot directly from the Windows 98 CD if the BIOS is supports booting from a CD and is configured to do so.  During the Windows installation, Windows 98 will detect  the drive and automatically install the appropriate ATAPI driver.  Other CD-ROMs may not be detected by Windows and may require installation of a Windows or real mode drivers (see below) to operate.  After the Windows installation, one should go to Start>Settings>Control Panel>System>Device Manager>+CDROM>
Select the CD-ROM drive>Properties>Settings and be sure the DMA checkbox is checked for optimum performance of the drive.  After installing 98, you can install the drivers provided on the 948E floppy by F8ing at boot-up to bring up the DOS prompt and typing a:install.   With this procedure, the CD-ROM is also available when booting directly to the DOS prompt.  If Windows is installed after installing the DOS (real mode) driver, it will remark-out the mscdex line in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file and the drive will not work when booting directly to DOS.  That line should be unrem'd with an editor if you are going to use the CD-ROM from DOS.


If you want to duplicate my benchmark tests, I copied the files, less subdirectories, in the win98 directory on Windows 98 Upgrade CD to my hard disk.  If you find the benchmarks are noticeably slower than mine and file transfers actually become slower as you increase the speed of the CPU, chances are you have a scratched CD.  If the CD-ROM drive abnormally pauses and speeds-up during transfers between drives on Secondary to Primary IDE interfaces, you probably have a scratched CD.  CD error correction is very robust and successful data transfer are still  possible, albeit slower, with quite a few small scratches.

If you get a CD that is stuck in the drive and the door won't open, unfold a paper clip and insert it into the emergency eject option hole, which is a tiny hole above the volume buttons and below the tray, three times.  Most CD-ROMs have this option.  Many drives will open if you insert the paperclip once and wait for the door to open.  If you force the door, you may break it or strip the gears.


Test Computer: AMD 500 Mhz K6-2 processor, EpoX MVP3G2 motherboard, 1 MB cache', 64 MB, 8 ns PC100 memory, Western Digital 36400, 6.4 GB, 9.5 ms, 5,400 RPM ATA/33 hard disk with a 2 GB partition wand FAT32 file system (defragged), Windows 98 OEM, Diamond V770 AGP display adapter with 32 MBytes.

< Back to the First Page

Please see our Contact page if you have any comments or corrections that would make this article better. Please use our Forums if you need help with a computer or network problem.

Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.