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Find a "bootable" CD-R disk (Ubuntu Linux, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows 7) and restart your computer, and tell it to "boot" from the disk inserted into the CD/DVD disk. If it reads from the CD/DVD, then the hardware is OK. If it cannot read the disk, then it's time to replace the "broken" CD/DVD device.
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It's likely a laser alignment problem inwhich you will need to replace the hardware. However, I had a similar problem once with a notebook and found out that a tiny bread crumb was near the spindal making the cd in the drive off balance. Check liberally for any debris. Good luck!
Is you cd-rom drive shot - are you trying to boot up your computer through an xp or windows cd? If it is, it's not going to recognize and boot up. You'd be best getting a new drive - look around for someone with a Compaq Evo 800cp. They have the same exact cd-rom drive. Here are your compatible cd-rom devices: TEAC DW-224E-A or a Compaq DVD-ROM DRN-8080B otherwise try a HP SD-C2612. I have these three drives. They all work really well.
Simple diagnostics is the way forward, ensure you are using DVD-ROM and not DVD-RAM or DVD-R as this machine may not be compatible with them. Try a DVD movie or a data DVD e.g. Windows Vista, if you are trying to burn, try a different make of DVD if you bought a large batch from one supplier. Failing that, the hardware may be faulty, check the Compaq website for diagnostics tools. Good Luck!