Linux as a Tool for Windows Hardware Errors
From the article: "It may seem a bit ridiculous to some, but on more than one occasion I have been asked to help address a Windows hardware issue by assisting with Linux. The "hardware" problems these people faced were quickly reconciled either by placing Linux on an existing secondary partition of the hard disk, or by using a Linux Live-CD. In every case I have personally encountered, the problem turned out to be Microsoft Windows, rather than hardware related. One example of a prevalent failure is related to Windows not recognizing the DVD drive after some extensive use.
Upon cursory examination, the problem appears to be related to a hardware failure due to overheating, or perhaps the laser reader being damaged or dirty. However, if you encounter a Windows error that is explicitly related to hardware such as "device not found" or "no media", you may benefit from trying..."