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

The activity LED is on all the time on my CD-ROM

Explanation: Your CD-ROM activity light is lit solid all the time when the PC is on and a disk is inside it, even if it is not being accessed.

Diagnosis: Some people, recognizing that a solidly-lit LED on a floppy drive is an indication of misconfiguration, think that this happening on a CD-ROM is a problem. This is actually not only normal for some drives, but it is an excellent feature that I think is a great idea. While many drives leave the LED dim and only light it when there is access, some drives work as follows. They leave the LED dim when there is no disk in the drive; when there is a disk in the drive they light the indicator; and when there is access to the drive, they make the LED flash or flicker. This type of drive then lets you know just by looking at it whether there's a CD in the drive or not. This is a useful feature, and you can still tell when there is activity by watching for the light flickering.

Recommendation: No action required. Use the LED as an indicator the way it was intended. Of course if the drive is misbehaving in some other way, troubleshoot that. (I suppose a drive could fail in such a way as to cause it to keep the LED lit all the time when it wasn't programmed to do this, but I've never seen it.)

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