. Well, you’re gonna have to open it up to replace the drive anyway. Don’t worry about it. I haven’t seen a “Warranty Void If Broken” sticker in a long time. I don’t think many companies even have that clause in the warranty any longer - don’t remember seeing it when I scanned the warranty on a Dell I bought about a year ago. I make pocket-money working on PCs and have to talk to Tech Support 3-4 a year. To save time, when the Tech gets my customer info and starts into the troubleshooting tree, I’ll blurt out what I’ve already tried. Back in The Good Ole Days, I’d often be reminded that I had voided my warranty - can’t remember the last time I heard it, but it’s been at least 3-4 years.
. If it were me, I’d be curious to see if it really is a bad connection (my second guess; bad drive is my first). A loose connector would be a sign of poor assembly or rough handling. In either case, I’d want to check all the other connections (including RAM, cards, and heatsinks) and notify the manufacturer (unless you dropped it ).
. If I suspected rough handling, I’d also want to run extensive diagnostics on my HDD and anything else with mechanical parts. As a rule of thumb, electronics are pretty rugged - any blow to the case, strong enough to affect the electronics, will probably leave a substantial dent. Where all those electronic parts connect to each other is another story.
. If the connections are OK, the drive has probably failed. Most anything made by Man (especially things with mechanical parts) has a high failure-rate within the first month or three (or some small %age of it’s lifespan). Once the bad ones are weeded out, failure rates drop, level out, then rise again near the end.
. Possibly a driver problem, but you’ve already tried everything I can think of - flushing drivers from DevMgr and forcing a reload usually works for me. If it was a codec problem, it would only affect playback of specific filetypes and shouldn’t have any effect on whether discs can be recognized/read.