ady, thanks for the additional info.
I've also had problems with drives acting like that.
Things I would check (I know they are very basic and you know them already, but it never hurts to doublecheck):
Is your ide-cable properly connected on the motherboard and all ATA/ATAPI devices? Just remove each connection and re-insert it. I once had one (1) pin in the connector that was bent. It gave me a problem not all too different from yours
Have you properly configured your drives as slaves/masters? Check the jumpers? Some drives that should work with "Cable Select" (CS) don't and need to be manually configured to Master (M) or Slave (S).
Are you running two optical drives on the same IDE channel (or perhaps a ZIP or another ATAPI drive)? If you are and nothing else works, try removing another one of those for testing and see if it helps.
When you look at Device Manager, can you check for a few things:
1) Under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, does it say "Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE controller" or something else? If everything else fails, you could try reverting to "Standard IDE controller", but I doubt this is the real cause.
2) Boot under safe mode and go to device manager and (if under XP) select "View" menu and "Show Hidden devices". Now see if you are have any additional drives (virtual drives from CloneCD, Alcohol or already removed hardware cd/dvd-drives) under your DVD/CD-ROM Drives. If so, remove them and reboot
- This should not affect your burning either, but you could try turning off the windows xp burning support (Administrative tools, Services, IMAPI cd-burning com service).
That's all I can think off the top of my head. My apologies if you've already tried all of the above or if you end up doing lots of useless debugging. Sometimes these problems can be hard to pin down.
Please tell us the solution also, if you find it. It'll help others in the future. Also, if you can't fix it, please ask for more help.