As I mentioned in a recent rant my DVD burner seemed to have died or was MIA.. It wasn't showing in the BIOS or Windows of course, obviously wasn't working and appeared dead as a doornail. Well, I can report that as I suspected, it was a Windows issue and not hardware related. I fixed it myself with the help of Google and the site mentioned below.
In the Event Viewer I had this error among a number of others related to paging files and of course the missing drive.
When the problem started I had been looking through my backup discs for files and mods that I need for Oblivion, and other games, after having replaced a dead hard drive. In between exploring one disc and the next I had plugged in my USB zip drive, copied files from it, then removed it correctly. It seems Windows thought I wanted to remove the optical drive and not just the zip drive....stupid!
Of course nothing like this is mentioned on the Microsoft pages, but it is a Windows issue and not hardware related.
I'm like a terrier when it comes to researching problems and I found LOTS of complaints, old and recent, about disappearing optical and HDD's in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, but not quite the same as my problem. Until, I came across this site where it describes exactly what happened to me, but seemingly usually happens in laptops.
I had of course checked the cables but didn't completely unplug them because they were so tightly attached I had trouble getting them out, so I assumed it wasn't caused by loose connections. This time with a lot of care, I completely unplugged the cables at the drive and motherboard and reseated them and now my drive is showing again in the BIOS and Windows, and most importantly...working.
I posted this here in case anyone else has the same or similar issues. Last year I had a problem where the drive would only burn at 1x speed and by researching the problem I also managed to fix that issue which was a simple fix.
Here if anyone has the same problem.
Now to get my games installed before anything else goes wrong.