Many PC's (all 3 of mine for instance) are incapable of reading/utilizing a CD-ROM without loading the drivers from a boot floppy.
In other words, no FDD=no CD-ROM.

Time for a new FDD PaPa -- they are pretty inexpensive as far as PC hardware goes. I wouldn't expect to pay more than about 15$ (that's US $'s) for a shiny-new one.

You can utilize the CD-ROM from within Windows, because Windows contains the drivers for the CD-ROM. Before Windows starts up though, it is recognized by the BIOS as a drive on the IDE, but it is effectively useless. Most BIOS's don't load the drivers for it.