Have you checked the physical connections to the drive? Is this a laptop drive or a regular desktop drive?
Does the drive still show up in My Computer and in Device Manager? Are there any indications of trouble in Device Manager for the drive?
See if it will boot up with a bootable disk in the drive. Check in the bios to make sure the boot order is set to boot from an optical drive first, then look for the operating system on the hard drive second. A bootable disk would be something like an operating system install disk, or a restore disk, or even a live cd for Linux. You can download and burn a bootable disk on another computer from http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ The reason to try a bootable disk is to see if the burner will operate normally outside the operating system. If it will not, then it is probably dead.