Microsoft Windows XP?
1) Left-click on Start
2) Left-click on My Computer
Look at the drive letters.
Local Disk (C:) is for the Harddrive.
If you have Local Disk (D:) this is for Recovery - Windows files, on the harddrive.
If it states Drive (D:) it is for the optical drive (CD/DVD drive)
If you have Local Disk (D:), then Drive (E:) is for the optical drive.
If there is no drive letter that corresponds with the optical drive;
1) The power cable to the optical drive has become partially unplugged,
2) The data cable has become partially unplugged,
3) The data cable is bad,
4) The power cable isn't giving out any power. (Use a different power cable from the Power Supply, IF available)
5) The optical drive is bad.
[Driver: A small piece of software that allows the Operating System to communicate with a device.
Windows XP Media Edition is the O/S.
The optical drive is the device ]
A) Left-click on Start
B) Right-click on My Computer
C) In the drop down list left-click on - Properties - at the bottom.
D) Left-click on the Hardware tab.
E) Left-click on Device Manager
F) Left-click on the + sign to the left of - DVD/CD-ROM drives.
DVD/CD-ROM drives is NOT listed? Stop. Instructions after this part.
G) Right-click on the name of the optical drive.
H) Left-click on Uninstall
A Microsoft 'squawk box' will come up,
"Warning you are about to uninstall this device"
Click on OK. (It is OK I assure you)
Now close all windows, and go back to your desktop screen.
Restart your computer.
(Start > Turn Off Computer > Restart)
When Windows fully loads again, you should see -
"Found new hardware"
And perhaps "Found XXXX device"
XXXX being the name of the optical drive
Then it is time to go to Dell Support, and download AND install THE driver for your optical drive.
Post back in a Comment for this, and I will guide you step by step.
No Drive Letter for the Optical Drive in My Computer:
You need to check if the power cable has come loose, from the optical drive.
You also need to check if the data cable has come loose, from the optical drive.
No? They are tight?
Then try another power cable from the Power Supply, IF available.
Try using a different data cable if you have access to one.
More than likely the optical drive is bad.
(NO DVD/CD-ROM drives listed in Device Manager)
A CD/DVD drive is a mechanical device. It only has so many hours it can be used.
For additional questions, or to have me clarify anything I have stated above, please post in a Comment.