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Tom's Guide: Tips for Living Without the Optical Drive

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 12 comments

Check out Tom's Guide's latest article on surviving without an optical drive.

The advent of Ultrabooks has seen the optical drive omitted from a lot of ultraportable computers. While the industry is adapting to the fact that not everyone has an optical drive, there are still challenges for those that choose to go for a machine that doesn't have one. The Tom's Guide team has put together a list of tips on how to get by without one. Be sure to check out 'Tips for Living Without the Optical Drive' for all their advice.


In the quest for lighter and more mobile laptops and ultrabooks, one piece of hardware that used to be a necessity is often being sacrificed. The CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray disc reader, once a computing necessity, is being challenged by ever more reliable broadband, cloud storage, and other options. Is it possible to go without the built-in optical drive? With some slight adjustment on how you consume your media and work with software, that's definitely possible!

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  • 0 Hide
    seller417 , June 13, 2013 5:08 AM
    i guess hardware drivers will come on flash drives
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , June 13, 2013 5:44 AM
    LOL, a write-up where one of the tips for living without an optical drive is to use an external one. Genius.
  • 0 Hide
    digiex , June 13, 2013 6:14 AM
    Torrent, the best file and multimedia repository.
    ...and just observed when making this post, when I move the cursor using the keyboard arrows, the article also scrolls sideways.
  • Display all 12 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    yhikum , June 13, 2013 7:55 AM
    Why would you bother with media that would easily get damaged and require regular maintenance when accessing it?

    Current alternatives to optical disks include stationary hard-drives in different access factors: USB, NAS on network or plain SATA. There is always SD card or flash drive sticks available for smaller file content.

    Aside from being a relic, optical drives can be used to copy data onto easily readable medium as above listed. Most game content and even media, such as songs, are already distributed digitally. Why bother with optical storage? And why not re-invent optical storage with speeds to match SATA!
  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , June 13, 2013 5:18 PM
    Until digital audio quality (widely distributed) matches CD quality, with comparable prices. The optical drive lives on
  • 0 Hide
    anxiousinfusion , June 13, 2013 11:31 PM
    The worst part about optical drives is that they cause every case manufacturer to waste a huge chunk of space to dedicated room for not only 1, but many optical drives. Come on, people! This is 2013! Just let the things die already!
  • 0 Hide
    deksman , June 14, 2013 2:35 AM
    Optical drives are outdated. They should have been removed completely when USB flashdrives of sufficient capacities were available.
    Sigh...
    I still have an OD in my laptop, but I basically never use it.
    The only time I needed it was once in the past several years, and even then, it was because someone else who primarily uses optical discs needed some help.

    I keep trying to tell people 'get rid of it, its uselessly occupying the space inside a computer, especially when there are flash drives and external hard disks that can save your data in much larger quantities, read it far faster, and there is no danger of the data suddenly becoming unreadable (unlike on discs which are prone to scratches, etc.).

    I find it absurd that some universities, etc. require data copying onto the optical discs, especially if the data is only a few megabytes large - its a waste of media for one thing and an email would have been faster.
  • 0 Hide
    deksman , June 14, 2013 2:35 AM
    Optical drives are outdated. They should have been removed completely when USB flashdrives of sufficient capacities were available.
    Sigh...
    I still have an OD in my laptop, but I basically never use it.
    The only time I needed it was once in the past several years, and even then, it was because someone else who primarily uses optical discs needed some help.

    I keep trying to tell people 'get rid of it, its uselessly occupying the space inside a computer, especially when there are flash drives and external hard disks that can save your data in much larger quantities, read it far faster, and there is no danger of the data suddenly becoming unreadable (unlike on discs which are prone to scratches, etc.).

    I find it absurd that some universities, etc. require data copying onto the optical discs, especially if the data is only a few megabytes large - its a waste of media for one thing and an email would have been faster.
  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , June 14, 2013 9:14 AM
    Quote:
    Optical drives are outdated. They should have been removed completely when USB flashdrives of sufficient capacities were available.
    Sigh...
    I still have an OD in my laptop, but I basically never use it.
    The only time I needed it was once in the past several years, and even then, it was because someone else who primarily uses optical discs needed some help.

    I keep trying to tell people 'get rid of it, its uselessly occupying the space inside a computer, especially when there are flash drives and external hard disks that can save your data in much larger quantities, read it far faster, and there is no danger of the data suddenly becoming unreadable (unlike on discs which are prone to scratches, etc.).

    I find it absurd that some universities, etc. require data copying onto the optical discs, especially if the data is only a few megabytes large - its a waste of media for one thing and an email would have been faster.


    No risk of Hard drives becoming unreadable!!! Go knock around in the forums and you'll get a different picture of reality. Optical Disk Reliability is FAR better than wobbly magnetic hard drives!
  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , June 14, 2013 9:19 AM
    Also, I and many many others will still need Optical Drives because of the slow download speeds, our big library of optical drives, and the horrendous quality of downloaded stuff right now.

    However, I do agree that the time has come for the internal optical drive to die, if there is a good alternative to the space. What will you use the lack of external bays on a tower case for? More fans to cool what already is decently cooled? Weight savings on a Laptop sound reasonable though. So as long as there is no BENEFIT of canning the drive bays on a tower, the optical drive lives on there.

    Either way though, this should not be a problem to anybody, as light laptops for ODD haters do exist, and external drives are sleek, light, and fast with usb3. No conflict, no problem, everybody's happy.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , June 14, 2013 10:27 AM
    What's an optical drive? Is that from a bygone era?
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , June 14, 2013 12:26 PM
    One of my favorite win8 features is native VHD and VCD/ISO mounting. Copied all of my discs to my HDD, and when I need them I just right click and mount.

    Only issue is of course older games which have disc based DRM which seems not to copy over to an ISO, but those are not only few and far between, but rarely played because my tower is in a completely different room, and I rarely care to get up to find the disc and put it in when there are so many other games to play that do not have that issue.