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External Cd Drives - Beginner's Guide to External CD Drives - Benefits and Uses of External CD Drives

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Are you in need of an extra CD drive for your computer? There could be any number of reasons that led you to this decision. Maybe your old one is just that – getting old. Maybe it stopped working altogether, but you do not want to go to the hassle of opening the case, removing the old drive, and hooking up the new one. Maybe you just want to add more capabilities to your computer, like CD burning or playing DVD’s. Any one of these is more than enough reason to look for an external drive. But if you have never bought one before, you may be a little unsure of what features to look for or what to expect when it arrives. That is where we come in.

Here is a simple guide on external CD drives, explained in plain English. We will go over the main benefits and uses, where to find good quality drives, and a brief overview of how to install them.

Benefits and Uses of External CD Drives

Increased Capabilities
An external CD drive is one of the quickest and easiest ways to update your old computer’s capabilities, instantly allowing you to watch DVD’s with a DVD-capable drive or even burn CD’s and DVD’s with a burner drive. A burner drive also makes it easy to create direct copies of CD’s and DVD’s, just by using your old drive as the data source in your burning program. Just make sure you get a drive with the specific functions that you want – look for CD-RW drives for making CD copies, and DVD-R or RW drives for DVD burning (which also usually have CD burning capabilities).

Low Cost
You can find good-quality external drives (even with CD/DVD burning capabilities) for $40 brand new, making it a very accessible option for just about any computer user. There is really no excuse not to get one when you need it.

Easy to Install
Another big plus for external drives is the ease of installation, especially when compared to the internal drive replacement process (which can get you into some tight corners, and is just a lot more trouble in general). For most external models, the most you ever have to do is plug them in to a USB port, and then plug the power cord into the wall. And some are even completely powered via the USB cable, making it about the easiest hardware installation you will ever do in your life.

Sleek Designs
Modern external cases are extremely sleek and small, about the size of a portable CD player. Rest assured, the days of bulky, ugly external drives are over.

Where to Find Quality External Drives at a Fair Price

While you can get external CD drives from every online electronics store and discount outlet (Best Buy, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, etc.), we have found that NewEgg.com really knows their stuff when it comes to computer hardware. They can offer you discounts as good or better than the big box stores, and they have customized support that really helps in making your final decision. They also frequently offer special mail-in rebates and shipping deals that sweeten the package that much more. Check out the extensive customer reviews on just about every product so you can get the skinny from people who have actually bought and used the product for themselves. And if you are a techie, they include all the information that you could ever hope to know on the technical specifications of all products they sell.

Even if you do not end up going with New Egg, pick a place that offers similar benefits like extensive customer reviews and product guarantees.

Installing External Drives

Most external CD drives are made to simply plug into a free USB port (and into a wall outlet for some models). Your computer should sense the new hardware right away, and will start the process for finding and installing drivers to support it. It should do all of this automatically, but if for some reason it cannot find the driver, it should give you an option to search online for it. In the very rare case when it still cannot find the correct drivers, you may need to refer to your installation manual or contact the manufacturer for support. But these are made to be as easy and low-maintenance as possible, and in 99% of cases you will be up and running in seconds.

That is it for this beginner’s guide to external CD drives. Use these tips to help you locate your new hardware, and know what to expect after it arrives. Happy computing!

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almost 7 years ago

My granddaughterhas a 10in Acer laptop. It does not contain a CD drive. She has games on CD's that she would like to load on to it. What does she need to do this?