Is the drive listed in BIOS and Windows Explorer?
If this is a new problem and the drive used to work, have you installed or uninstalled any media players or disc burning software recently?
To open your laptop, check the manual. It will tell you where the screws are located.
To check the cable, look at the back of the CD drive. There will be two cables, one for power, one for data. The data cable will either be IDE or SATA. Just make sure it's plugged in firmly to the back of the drive and the other end of the cable is connected to the motherboard.