Im sorry & Perhaps I missed the post but ...
Was it ever determined if the bios sees the CD/DVD drive? or if it simply missing inside Windows?
If the bios sees the drive, you should be able to boot from a disc without any problems (even the Windows 7 one)
In the bios, in the section Standard CMOS features should list all devices the bios sees.
It may not look exactly the same, but will be somewhat similar..