Nope,I replaced nothing and this is on my Dell laptop.Specifically how would I go about removing an optical drive without physically removing it anyway.This had occurred in early may and I didn't touch anything just prior to the last time it was working.
To remove an optical drive or "disable" it without actually removing it do the following.
Start > right click computer > manage > device manager > CD/DVD drives > disable
There should also be an option to update drivers for it in the properties but I have never heard of a DVD drive needing drivers..
As mcnumpty23 try VLC media player. Or you can try updating iTunes to the newest version.