What to Do If Your Laptop Doesn’t Have a CD Drive?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “my laptop doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive; what can I do?” If you do not have an optical drive with your laptop, it is not the end of the world. You can still watch your favorite movies and TV shows, but you will need a few things to do this. 

This guide will show you how to survive modern life without a CD/DVD drive on your laptop. In addition, we will provide you with suggestions and recommendations to overcome the lack of an optical drive. You are not alone. Many laptop users these days do not have optical drives, and they get along just fine.

Get a USB External Optical Drive

Because of the decline in the use of CD/DVD drives, you can now purchase an external drive that plugs into a USB port of your laptop for under $50. Amazon is one of the best places to look for these, and there is one optical drive available for the $30 mark. This will be fine for what you need.

If you have a Macbook, then you may be tempted to get an external drive from Apple. However, this will cost you around $80, and it will not do anything different than a generic optical drive for $30 or $40, so don’t waste your money just to have the Apple logo on your drive.

For around $30, you can get an optical disk drive with a lot of functionality such as CD read and write and DVD read and write. These drives will work with any laptop as long as they have a USB port. Most of the external optical drives available today will work with both USB 3.0 and USB-C standards.

With an external optical drive, you will be able to play your favorite music and movies. If you need to install software from a CD or DVD, then you can do that too. Recording data to CD or DVD is also possible. You can even rip your music CDs so that you can play them without the optical drive.

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Use your External Optical Drive to Rip your DVDs

A lot of people have many movies on DVD and enjoying watching these on their laptop. You can use your new external optical drive to rip your movie DVDs so that you can store the files on your hard drive and watch them without a DVD player.

Although carrying around an external optical drive is not too much of a problem, continually playing DVDs and CDs will eventually cause it to fail. You should rip your favorite movies, so you have the freedom to watch them without your external optical drive.

It takes less battery power to watch a movie from a file than from an optical drive. This is another reason you should rip your DVD movies. There are different methods that you can use to rip DVDs to your computer. If you are limited with disk space, then you can use a method that compresses files. Otherwise, it is easy to copy the MP4 file components and audio.

You can use applications to rip your DVDs, such as MakeMKV, which you can read about here. This makes it really easy to rip Blue-Ray and standard DVD movies to your internal storage drive. You can then watch the ripped movies using a versatile media player such as VLC Media Player. You can use this setup on a Windows or Mac laptop.

Get a USB Flash Drive

If you do not currently have a USB flash drive, you should get one as soon as possible. They have come down in price considerably over the years. You can usually get a USB flash drive (also called a thumb drive) starting from 4 GB and up to 1TB. There are different styles of USB flash drives available as well.

You need to work out how much storage you want from your USB flash drive. If you intend to rip a large number of DVD movies, for example, we recommend that you go for a larger flash drive so that you can save space on your hard drive. 

Using a USB flash drive is very easy. All you need to do is plug it into a USB port, format it, and save files. Flash drives are small, light, and portable, so you can take them with you wherever you go. 

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Final Words

A lot of modern services use a flash drive these days, such as the Amazon Fire Stick. Over the years, laptop users have got used to not having an optical drive built-in. This enables the manufacturers to create really thin laptops and modern ultrabooks. However, not having a built-in CD/DVD drive does not mean you will miss out on anything.

Check out:

  • The best CD players
  • The best portable DVD players
Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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