Installing a DVD drive

Table of contents:

Installing a DVD drive
Installing a DVD drive

There are several options if you would like to insert a new DVD drive into your computer. The terminology can be quite confusing at times. With the arrival of Blu-Ray, the possibilities have only grown. Fortunately, installing itself is a breeze, and only takes a few minutes.


Method 1 of 3: Choosing the right drive

Install a DVD Drive Step 1

Step 1. Recognize the different formats

There are some rather confusing designations for the DVD drives, including DVD, DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW. These all refer to different read and write capabilities of the drive. In general, all drivers today are in the format DVD+/-RW or just DVD-RW. This indicates that DVDs can be both read and written in all types of DVD burners.

Most modern drives are suitable for RW, but it may happen that you buy a budget drive that you can only read DVD discs with. These are classified as DVD-ROM drives

Install a DVD Drive Step 2

Step 2. Decide if you want a Blu-Ray drive

Blu-Ray is the newest form of disc storage on the market that can burn significantly more data than a standard DVD drive. Blu-Ray drives allow you to watch Blu-Ray HD movies and use Blu-Ray data discs, and all Blu-Ray drives can also read DVDs.

  • Blu-Ray drives have become a lot cheaper now.
  • Even if the Blu-Ray drive cannot write to the disc (BD-ROM), there is a good chance that this type of drive can write to a DVD.
Install a DVD Drive Step 3

Step 3. Compare read and write speeds

This indicates how long it takes to read the different types of media, or to write data to them.

Most new DVD drives have a 16X read speed and 24X write speed. This designation is a measure of the number of times the drive is faster than a 1X drive, and is not an indication of the actual speed of the drive

Install a DVD Drive Step 4

Step 4. Decide whether to purchase an internal or external drive

If you have a laptop, it is likely that you will need an external drive. If you have a desktop, you can choose both options, but the speed of an internal drive is higher.

If you decide to purchase an external drive, continue reading Part 3 for more info on installing the drivers

Install a DVD Drive Step 5

Step 5. Choose a good quality drive

Choose a drive from a quality brand. This ensures a long lifespan and warranty. Below is a list of more reliable optical drive manufacturers:

  • LG
  • Philips
  • Plextor
  • Lite-On
  • BenQ
  • Samsung
Install a DVD Drive Step 6

Step 6. You can also purchase an OEM model

If you have a few extra SATA cables lying around and you don't mind not having a manual or drivers, you can also consider an OEM model. These are usually cheaper than a consumer model, but come with no extras.

If you choose an OEM model, you can still find drivers and manuals on the manufacturer's website

Method 2 of 3: Installing an internal drive

Install a DVD Drive Step 7

Step 1. Turn off the computer and disconnect all cables

You will need to open the computer to install the drive. Place your PC on a table so you can easily reach everything.

If you are going to install an external drive, plug it into your computer via USB and skip the next part

Install a DVD Drive Step 8

Step 2. Open the case

Most new housings can be opened without a screwdriver. Remove the side panels on both sides for easy access to the drive.

Install a DVD Drive Step 9

Step 3. Ground yourself

Before you do anything with the components of the PC, you should always ground yourself. This prevents electrostatic discharge, which can damage the delicate components of your PC. The ideal way is to put on an electrostatic wristband, but if you don't have one, just touch the water tap to discharge yourself.

Install a DVD Drive Step 10

Step 4. Remove the old drive (if applicable)

If you are replacing an old drive, you will need to remove it first. Disconnect the cables from the back of the drive, then remove the screws on each side of the slot. Now, without applying too much force, remove the drive from the suspension.

Install a DVD Drive Step 11

Step 5. Look for an empty slot for a 5.25" drive

If you are not replacing an old drive, you will need to put the new drive in a different slot. You can usually find this on the front of the housing, at the top. It is possible that several drives are already present here. Remove the front panel to access this slot.

Install a DVD Drive Step 12

Step 6. Attach any rails (if necessary)

Some enclosures use a rail system to secure the drive in place. If this is the case, you will need to attach the rails to each side of the driver before inserting it into the suspension.

Install a DVD Drive Step 13

Step 7. Slide the drive into the PC from the front

Almost all drives are slid into the case from the front, but you may have to consult your computer's manual for this. Check that you are not hanging the drive upside down in the cabinet.

Install a DVD Drive Step 14

Step 8. Secure the drive to the suspension

If you use screws for this, you should fasten them on both sides. If you use rails, make sure that the drive is pushed all the way into the suspension and is clamped all the way.

Install a DVD Drive Step 15

Step 9. Connect the SATA port to the motherboard

Use a SATA data cable to connect the drive to a SATA port. If you can't find it, check your motherboard's documentation.

  • A SATA cable can only be connected one way, so don't force it.
  • Be careful not to accidentally disconnect other components (such as the hard drive), and double-check, otherwise your computer may not boot.
Install a DVD Drive Step 16

Step 10. Connect the power supply to the drive

Find an unused power supply cord that is suitable for your drive. You can usually find these on the bottom of the housing. Connect this to the input of the drive for power. As with the data cable, it can only be fastened one way, so don't force it.

If you don't have enough connections left, you can purchase an adapter for more connections

Install a DVD Drive Step 17

Step 11. Reattach the panels to the computer, connect all cables and turn on the PC

Method 3 of 3: Installing the drivers and software

Install a DVD Drive Step 18

Step 1. Wait for the operating system to recognize your drive

Most operating systems will automatically recognize a new DVD drive and install the necessary drivers. The operating system will notify you when the installation is complete.

Install a DVD Drive Step 19

Step 2. Install the drivers from the supplied disk (if necessary)

If the drive didn't install itself, you may need to use the included drivers first, or those you downloaded from the manufacturer's website. Follow the instructions on the screen to install the drivers. You may be prompted to restart your PC after installation.

Install a DVD Drive Step 20

Step 3. Install the supplied software, such as burning programs or media players

Many drives come with additional software for burning data and media to blank DVDs, or for watching HD video. None of these programs are necessary, as there are plenty of similar free programs available over the internet, but you can use them if you want.

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