startup/CDROM/hardware problem(?) Can somebody please help me with initial diagnosis?
I've got a Dell Dimension 4100 which I have been using for a couple years now as a dual boot WinXP/Red Hat Linux machine.
Within the past week, I suddenly began experiencing the following new behavior on my machine upon startup: When the machine starts up, where I used to see the Dell splash screen for a few seconds (e.g., 3 to 5 seconds or so), I now see the Dell splash screen for well over a minute.
In addition, my regular factory-installed CDROM drive is suddenly no longer visible or accessible from either Windows or Linux. (In addition, if I press the button to try to open the CDROM drive tray, this has no effect; basically, I cannot open my CDROM drive at all as I might choose.)
So, I think my basic question is: If I had a bona fide CDROM drive problem of some kind, could this also explain my slow startup? [I'm guessing my machine may be trying to figure out my CDROM drive, but can't, so this may explain the delay.] If not, what else hypothetically might be the cause of this very slow startup? (i.e., What might the now very lengthy Dell splash screen indicate?)
A few additional facts: Occasionally (in a non-predictable fashion), upon startup, the CDROM tray will now either open or try to open (only open part-way) by itself (with no intervention on my part).
Btw: As usual, I have been tinkering somewhat with my Linux machine recently. However my machine had been running fine since then until very recently. Nonetheless, I should ask the following seemingly central question: Could (even inadvertent) changes made to my Linux system also affect CDROM drive recognition within WinXP? [I don't think so, I think the failure of my CDROM drive to be recognized within WinXP *and* Linux is indicative of a hardware problem, but perhaps I'm wrong. Any insights with regard to that conclusion?]
P.S. I called Dell for technical support, since my machine is under a service contract until 3/2003, but they indicated that since I have upgraded my Win98 to WinXP (about a year ago), they cannot help me (unless I reinstall my Win98!) Ha! : )
Thanks in advance for any offered help or suggestions,