I already know this will be a controversial example, but let's say you're at school and you can't use the floppy drive or the CD-ROM drive because they've been disabled somehow. Let's also assume you have honorable intentions and you want to do a project or something at school and then save it to a disk (CD or floppy) and then save it onto a computer at school or at a library (some public computer)...and that you're not installing Unreal Tournament. How would you go about re-enabling those drives? You can see them - they're there and you can even push the little buttons to make them do things - they just aren't registering for some reason. That's what I'm going to attempt to explain how to do.

Although I'm using the example of basically hacking a public computer, I'm aiming for this tutorial to be helpful for anyone who needs to enable a piece of hardware. I'm also assuming the OS is some version of Windows - as it is the most common OS.

If you get caught tampering with a computer at school, you will most likely be suspended. If you are caught tampering with a computer at a public libary, there is a good chance of you being arrested. Don't be stupid - please see "Better hint" at the end of this tutorial.

Using the Device Manager

If you are unable to access a drive, the most likely problem is that it has been deactivated (or maybe even uninstalled *gasp*) using the device manager. You can access this by right clicking on "my computer", click properties from the menu, then click the "hardware" tab in the new window that pops up, then click the button "device manager". From here, click on the "+" next to "floppy disk drives" or "DVD/CD-ROM drives" and if there's a drive with a red X over it, click on it, then find a button near the top of the window that says "enable". I believe this will require you to restart the computer... If it was uninstalled, the drivers to reinstall it may be included with windows (this is where the whole plug'n'play thing works to your advantage) and after the "found new hardware" window pops up, you might be able to install whatever piece of hardware it is that you are trying to re-enable. If it was never uninstalled and simply disabled, you shouldn't have any further trouble...unless something is disabled from the BIOS.


BIOS - Basic Input/Output System

When you reboot a computer, look closely for a hint as to what key(s) to press to enter Setup. Usually this will appear at the bottom of the screen as soon as the computer is turned on - before the "Windows" or manufacturer's screen appears. If there are no instructions, try pressing F1, F10, F12, Ctrl + F10 (I'm told this works on newer motherboards), Del, or Esc. If none of these work, look up "access the BIOS" on google and write down other combinations of keys that might work. "Setup" gives you access to the BIOS. From here you can configure how the computer starts, including what drives are accessible. DO NOT SKREW THIS UP! If you screw up the BIOS, you will cause serious and obvious harm to the computer so please be careful...it will be hard to explain why the computer is no longer functioning... This is because, in very simple terms, the BIOS is like a pillar that supports the Operating System used on the computer. Its purpose is to interface with the hardware on the behalf of the OS. Also, a good precaution to take would be to write down the settings the BIOS had before you tampered with it so you will know what you changed and how to change it back to the way it was. Now, what you are accessing is the *main* BIOS, but there are also other BIOS'es...ie: there's one for each individual piece of hardware attached to the motherboard. This would include a video card (in my opinion, one of the most important...), floppy, CD-ROM, HDD, and others. You can configure what in the computer is activated in the BIOS setup. (I don't recommend going on a "deactivating" spree...this ain't like the processes in windows where you can just kill most of them with little to no ill effect). The specifics of enabling drives will completely depend on which version of BIOS you are in, as there are many. This will take research on your part...once you access the BIOS you can find out what version it is and then look up specific instructions on www.google.com.

If you are actually trying this on a public computer and you need a password to log back on, make up some excuse like "The computer is being stupid and died, and now it needs a password". If you try messing with the BIOS and you need a password that you do not have, give up and see "Better hint". Do not make up some detailed explanation or try and diagnose the problem - you're trying to look like an average luser that knows nothing about computers...someone that wouldn't even *think* about tampering with the BIOS. "What's a BIOS?"

*Better hint*
Again - if you are using a public computer, it would be infinitely easier to ask someone to enable the drive you need and tell them why....common sense always prevails.

Good BIOS tut - http://www.pcguide.com/ref/mbsys/bios/

My ego will not be injured if you tell me I'm wrong - if you see something amiss, plz tell me about it. If you think this is in any way inadequate, please tell me.