It all started with netbooks many years ago: They were small and cheap, but one of their biggest disadvantages was the lack of an optical drive. More and more often, normal laptops also share this fate. From the point of view of mobility and power consumption, the lack of a drive in notebooks makes perfect sense. Most of the time it shouldn’t bother you, but if you want to install software from CD, DVD or Blu-ray, you have to rely on a few tricks. We reveal what they are.
Even if the laptop or PC drive goes bye-bye just when you urgently want to burn a PowerPoint presentation or MP3s, the following tricks will help you out. Even if your drive is working flawlessly, some of these tips will actually save you power – an important factor when working on the go.
Tip: A useful addition are virtual CD drives, which you can set up with Virtual CD. Once one of the following tricks is used, the tool saves the disc compressed on the hard drive. You do not have to apply the tip a second time, but simply start the virtual CD from the hard disk.
Use external drive
The simplest solution is an external drive, which you usually connect to the computer via USB, preferably USB-C. Depending on the model, the external CD/DVD drive draws its power from the wall socket via the USB cable or a power cord.
Those who value as little extra baggage as possible reach for the extra-thin Slimline model. In addition, the user has the choice between external drives, which pull in the CD via a drawer, or via a narrow slot, similar to the CD player in the car. The latter variant is usually even thinner, but does not know mini CDs. When buying the drive, it is best to go for a burner right away: You can use it not only to read data, but also to write backups to CD or DVD.
Most of the time, external CD drives lag slightly behind their internal counterparts in terms of speed. You don’t have to dig very deep into your pocket for an external burner, entry-level models cost less than 30 euros.
Putting on a network drive
Those who don’t want to spend money, have a network-compatible computer and don’t need an optical drive too often simply use the CD/DVD drive on their existing PC. To do this, connect the two computers via a network – with cable or WLAN – and enable the same on the computer with the drive. After that, the drive appears in the network environment of all other computers in the same workgroup – as long as the drive computer is turned on. The data then ends up on the drive-less netbook or notebook via the network from the CD drive of the second computer.
If the computer does not recognize the drive from the network, or refuses to transfer data, you should take a look at the firewall options of both PCs. Allow explicitly the IP address of the respective other computer.
Using USB sticks
For the data transport from the mobile computer USB sticks or external USB hard disks are suitable particularly well – simply data on the data medium pull, and/or. From memory to computer. But via a second PC with a drive you can also install software from the USB stick on drive-less computers.
If the software, such as a virus scanner, is only available on CD or DVD, it is often sufficient to copy the content or just the setup.exe to a USB stick, in order to execute them later on the drive-less computer. Even easier is to download the software from the Internet, for example from the manufacturer’s site or our download archive. A bit more complicated is the installation of Windows from the USB stick.
Conclusion: Life without a drive
Although you can replace the missing drive in the notebook with any of the options, each variant works differently, brings different requirements and is not suitable for all tasks. When it comes to copy protection of PC games, for example, the USB stick variant fails. Only in the network drive or in the external drive can the player actually insert the CD while playing the game.