Skip to main content

Tom's Guide: Tips for Living Without the 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!Tips for Living Without the Optical Drive' for all their advice

Follow Tom's Guide on Twitter!

  • seller417
    i guess hardware drivers will come on flash drives
    Reply
  • teh_chem
    LOL, a write-up where one of the tips for living without an optical drive is to use an external one. Genius.
    Reply
  • digiex
    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.
    Reply
  • yhikum
    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!
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    Until digital audio quality (widely distributed) matches CD quality, with comparable prices. The optical drive lives on
    Reply
  • anxiousinfusion
    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!
    Reply
  • deksman
    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.
    Reply
  • deksman
    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.
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    10968705 said:
    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!
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    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.
    Reply