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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting CD-ROM Drives | Configuration Problems ]

My IDE/ATAPI CD-ROM drive only works when slaved to a hard disk on the same IDE channel; it won't work by itself on an IDE channel

Explanation: You cannot get your CD-ROM drive to work by itself on an IDE channel. However, it is recognized and works OK when it is installed as the slave to a master hard disk on an IDE channel.

Diagnosis: The most usual cause of this symptom is the use of the infamous Windows 95 bus mastering drivers. Another cause is simply misconfiguring the drive. Some CD-ROM drives will not work as slaves by themselves and others won't work as masters by themselves.


  • If you are trying to use IDE bus mastering drivers, consult the instructions that came with them and look for a section listing specific models of CD-ROM drives that will not work by themselves on a channel with bus mastering drivers installed. If your drive is listed, then you need to either uninstall the bus mastering drivers, or move your CD-ROM to be a slave to a hard disk on one of your channels. (This is just one of a plethora of configuration and compatibility problems associated with these drivers which is why I recommend against their use.) If your drive is not listed but you suspect the drivers being the problem, you may want to try uninstalling them anyway, or you may want to get some technical support information on the issue of bus mastering driver from your CD-ROM manufacturer's web site.
  • Check this section for many more possible causes of CD-ROM drives not being recognized.

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