ok here's an update: System Restore did nothing, and replacing the cable did nothing either. D/l some drivers but didnt use them cuz they're not compatible w/ XP. So now i have to check for some sort of software error.
nope nothing. The jumpers are set to CSEL (makes my cd burner slave and the dvd drive master). I think my last chance is to rollback an IDE driver i recently put in and see if that does anything. I know the drive is good becuase it works under linux (and yes it reads back a dvd and cd) so it has to be a Winblows problem of some sort.