That was one of my thoughts....but it doesn't get used that much these days with web downloads and USB keys...still a mystery. Anyway, replacing a DVD burner is a piece of cake and pretty affordable....if it disappears again I'm gonna yank it.
It may have something to do with iTunes...I was having issues with iTunes which kept crashing my PC and then AppleMobileServices.exe would suddenly start eating CPU and Memory...kept terminating it but it kept popping back.
Part of my clean up was to delete iTunes. Hate Apple anyway.