I just installed a known good DVD-ROM into my Armada m700. It would not read CDs in the old one. It read CDs fine in the replacement. I then installed Windows XP on the laptop. Everything seemed to work fine until I started trying to install software after the OS install was completed. It will now not read the replacement drive. It recognized the drive and automatically installes the driver but will not read CDs in the drive. The drive does not spin up and I hear clicking noises when it attempts to read the CD. I find it very odd that the drive might have gone bad right after installed the OS, but I can't find any information regarding XP and issues with the driver. Thanks for any ideas.
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Have you tried using a good quality dvd cleaner? Alot of times a dirty laser will cause this problem. After cleaning try using a known good dvd and see if it works. If not check your device manager to see if the drive is functioning properly. If there is a yellow ! then the drive either has a corrupt driver or it has died. You can replace it fairly cheap as a dvd/cd burner can be replaced for around $45 max. Hope this helps.
You will need to install NDIS in linux after the install to use the windows drivers for your wireless card if you have one. Sometimes older wireless cards will work but most of the time you need the NDIS to use the windows disk that comes with your wireless device(if you are using one) Your hard wired ethernet port should be detected automatically as well as all your other drivers(since the machine is old) Good luck..if you need any more help I will be around. No other compatibility issues exist, and it will run a lot faster than XP. I would suggest 512MB of Ram but 256 will handle it fine.
When did you start noticing these issues? If you're someone like me who never powers the system down you might try restarting as well as downloading the program CCleaner at http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/ . You can run both the file/program and the registry fix with CCleaner. If this doesn't seem to work try restarting and pressing F8 to get to the start up menu. Select from that menu LAST KNOWN GOOD CONFIGURATION. See if that fixes it. Lastly the only other thing I can think of is searching for the driver but you mentioned that it reads them as working. Our laptop is roughly a decade old so believe me I know your frustration. That's why I keep a few spare systems around :)