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Can the drive read other disks? I'm guessing no. If no, it would appear as if the drivers for the CD rom are not loaded. If this is the case, you will need an internet connection to download the drivers for the cd rom so it will work. Other than that,you can try to install generic cd rom drivers through windows, that may work. Good luck.
it is entirely possible that the boot sector is damaged. if this is the case you need to boot with the cd that came with the machine, or a recovery cd you've made, and load the recovery environment. once their load the command prompt. it should just be a button in vista or 7 and it will automatically load in xp. once loaded type "chkdsk c: /r" no quotes. let it run, this will check for bad sectors and should fix the issue. try and reboot, and let me know what happens. if you don't have the recovery cd's or installation media you can download msdart, which has the recovery console built in. i went ahead and uploaded msdart, download the version you think you need. https://rapidshare.com/files/2296685117/ERD50_x86_WinXP_SP3_blueforce.ziphttps://rapidshare.com/files/2914560443/ERD60_x64_WinVista_SP2_blueforce.zip https://rapidshare.com/files/267688033/ERD60_x86_WinVista_SP2_blueforce.ziphttps://rapidshare.com/files/1400985026/ERD65_x64_Win7_RTM_blueforce.ziphttps://rapidshare.com/files/3314839442/ERD65_x86_Win7_RTM_blueforce.zip
Does it not acknowledge dvd disc only or cd or dvd both. If it doesn't read the dvd disc, or able to play dvd disc, but able to exlpore regular cd's, then you have a codec error, and you need to download a dvd codec like powerdvd for it for your system to play dvd disc. Check to see if your dvd-rom drive appears in the "my computer" window, if it is there, but wouldn't be able to play anything, then it could be a driver issue. so make sure in the hardware , the drivers is installed and working properly. If it is working properly and driver is installed, then you got a bad drive, the optical laser lenses isnt reading or the spindle ain't working anymore if you don't hear disc being loaded when inserting the disc.
one idea is to check and make sure they are all cds and some not dvd or blue ray. and verify that your rom drive is cd/dvd,also try to load the cd and open my computer and see if it even acknowledges that there is a disk in it.if so just double click te icon for the rom drive and run the cd that way.