Well first of all I don't think a driver upgrade would solve anything since it worked before. Are you using the same brand of DVD-R/W that you used when it did work?
You mention clunking sounds. That means the drive is unable to read the DVD properly and the laser pickup and spindle motor are trying to sync up to the disc but can't.
Is the drive able to read pressed DVD media? How about other CD's, CD-R's?
Are you using Windows XP? It's strange that the name of the device has changed. You say you tried removing the drive and reinstalling. Did you try removing the whole IDE channel from the device list as well?
Of course its always possible that the drive has gone bad and is just not functioning properly. The best and easiest way to test that is to just put it in another computer.
Hope this is helpful,