My mate's CD-RW drive had the same sort of problem - the BIOS detected it, but it didn't show up in Windows. Turned out the IDE cable was loose and it had started to come out at one end. This meant that the pins to identify the drive in the BIOS were still in, so it came up. However the ones that told Windows the drive was there and what make & model it was had come out. Pushing the cable in fully soon sorted this out. IDE cables have 40 pins that do various jobs - some tell the BIOS what make & model the drive is, others tell Windows the drive is plugged in and what type of drive it is and what driver to load for it etc. and the rest are used for data transfer.
No, uninstall via device manager. Expand IDE/ATAPI controllers. Right click on secondary or primary IDE controller and select uninstall, reboot when done. If your not sure which IDE channel the drive is on repeat the procedure for both.
On another note, have you installed any new software lately, burning software or for that matter any Adobe software?