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I purchased a new external Samsung DVD writer which is not being detected on startup by my Dell Inspiron laptop.

However, if I attach it to a different Dell model, a Sony laptop, and my desktop machine it works fine.

I've tried updating the BIOS of the Dell laptop but it hasn't had any effect. I don't want to have to buy another DVD writer so I welcome any suggestions for things to change on the laptop in order to support the DVD writer on startup.

Note that I can use it once the laptop has completed starting up.

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Waht operating systems are your laptop and destop using? As it stands we do not really have enough information in order to give you any real help. – Mokubai May 8 '11 at 13:45
I am using Windows XP. But the problem is, It is not detectable at the time of booting I can not run any Live OS even – Amit Gupta May 8 '11 at 14:09
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Perhaps it's not a a drive or Windows issue but rather a hardware issue. Unfortunately you did not specify exactly which Samsung DVD writer you're trying to use. Some slim-line DVD writers are entirely USB-powered. Unfortunately USB 2.0 only delivers 500mA (max. 2.5W) to registered USB devices (100mA/0.5W to unregistered devices). Depending on other consumers connected to USB this might be reduced even further. Some external drives (2.5" HDD drives, DVD drives etc.) take more power. Depending on the hardware design of your laptop it might just refuse to power these devices and report "overcurrent" or similar errors. Some external devices are supporting to connect an external power supply. If your Samsung burner does have a power connector you might try to connect a suitable power supply. Just make sure the voltage (usually 5V) is correct and your supply provides sufficient power.

Another possibly is a software issue. Windows sometimes tends to just "hide" CD/DVD drives when UpperFilters/LowerFilters are incorrectly set in registry. See KB982116 for details. I've seen this happening mainly on Windows XP. Microsoft provides a FixIt tool - you might just try it.

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Device: Samsung Slim external DVD writer(SE-S084) . OS: Windows XP. If it is OS issue then it should be detected when i boot my laptop. I'll check with power supply – Amit Gupta May 8 '11 at 14:13
Well, exactly as assumed. USB-Powered device. However I am not sure if it supports external power supplies. If it does, please try with a power supply. Most of these devices come with a Y-USB-Cabele. These cables do not always work (they are not even officially supported by USB-standard). If you use this Y-Cable just make sure to connect to ports hooked up to different USB root complex hubs. Typically you should NOT connect them to ports nearby; rather try ports on the other side of the laptop even if this requires extension cables. Well, I would recommend going for power supply if supported. – SkyBeam May 8 '11 at 18:54
there's also 'special' USN ports on some systems, including dell, that are meant for USB powered DVD drives - they use a non standard USB symbol. – Journeyman Geek May 8 '11 at 21:05
Now the initial post says that the drive works in Windows. I am not sure if I just missed this part or it has been edited. Under this precondition it's likely not a power issue but rather a BIOS issue when it comes to the use of the DVD drive as a boot drive. As you did a BIOS upgrade it's unlikely that another drive will fix the issue for you. – SkyBeam May 9 '11 at 6:23
I edited post. I had updated BIOS a long time back it is now A09 (latest). Moreover, I am able to boot my laptop via bootable USB stick. – Amit Gupta May 10 '11 at 3:21

Skybeads answer is good, but I would like to add that it could just be the age of the machine... You just state Windows XP which is not really enough, this could be anywhere up to 10 years old. Even assuming it is newer, I have had many machines in the past that simply do not support USB boot... I still see some now, all be it very rare.

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whether detecting a media at the time of booting depends on OS? Moreover, I am able to boot my laptop via bootable USB stick. – Amit Gupta May 10 '11 at 3:23
I had installed Windows 7 somehow. Even though it is not detecting external DVD rom – Amit Gupta Sep 11 '11 at 11:35

Unfortunately you did not write why you would like to detect your USB-ODD at boot. Most likely you would like to boot from it (for example to re-install Windows from DVD disc). Sadly not all BIOS support booting from USB drives but there is a good alternative solution for this: PXE boot. So if you own a machine without any bootable drive (e.g. netbook without DVD drive, a machine with a broken drive or simply some embedded system) you might try booting from network instead of USB drive instead. Unlike USB-boot PXE-boot is supported even by pretty old hardware usually.

If you're going to PXE-boot you need a second machine running the required server infrastructure. You might want to have a look at tftpd32 (there is tftpd64 for Windows x64 too) which embedds all server processes you need including TFTP server and DHCP server. Well, explaining the detail server setup is going beyond this question now but you find many resources on the net on how to do it. Quickly using google I found this article which looks quite OK. In short you need to:

  • Connect your server machine and the machine to be booted to a dedicated LAN
  • Configure TFTPD32 to serve DHCP requests and answer to TFTP requests
  • Copy Windows 7 DVD to local folder
  • Share the folder on your local network
  • Get boot loader from Windows DVD
  • Get boot.wim (Windows PE) from WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit)

So the basic idea is to boot Windows PE (included in WAIK) via the network. From Windows PE you can mount the Windows 7 DVD share then and run Windows setup.

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Booting from CD/DVD can be required for many purposes like OS installation, data recovery, scanning, LIVE OS support etc. Thanks to give an idea abt PXE-boot. But i am very week in networking – Amit Gupta May 11 '11 at 4:13

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