CD-ROM malfunctioning at boot sometimes
Right now I have an array of independent troubles with both my windows and linux machine, but this one in particular bugs me. It's one thing if I can boot of a live CD or an installation CD to fix my troubles, but it's another if I can't get even that far because my whimsical CD-ROM drive decides not to boot.
When I first installed Mandrake on my system, the installation CD worked perfectly. Since then I have changed the motherboard/CPU, and sometime afterwards I found that I could no longer run bootable CDs on that drive - they all had problems loading a "local loopback". Upgrading the drive to a slightly less ancient one helped the situation.
Now, either this drive has gone bad as well, or my CDs have all simultaneously broken (which, with my luck, isn't impossible). When I try to load Knoppix, I get a repeated error message when it boots about an I/O error. Eventually it retries and succeeds, but then I get similar problems trying to startup X. With the Mandrake 10.1 Community installation disk, there's about a 3 in 5 chance that it will successfully find the CD but then not be able to load it - due to a hardware error, according to Mandrake's error message. Also, when I try to install mandrake again on different partitions of my system, I get a strange linker-like error referring to not being able to find "&&main()" (or something to that effect) - certainly not the behavior I observed when I installed for the first time, about 5 months ago.
One more thing: when I boot, sometimes it brings up the live CD, and other times it seems to think there's no CD in the tray and goes to the harddrive bootloader - I think this has to do with the CD drive not responding to the BIOS quickly enough.
Ok, so my question is, what are the chances that both my Knoppix disk and Mandrake Install disk have failed - keeping in mind that both could load if given enough tries? If my drive is the problem, can anything be configured (perhaps in the BIOS) to solve it, or do I need yet another drive in that system?
Motherboard (reading straight off the box): MSI KT4A-V
CPU: VIA KT400A + 8237 Chipset
CD-ROM Drive: BTC 40X, older than the other devices in the machine
Thanks for any help you can give, this has really been driving me nuts.