Chapter 8. Optical Drives

Replacing your optical drive is a fast, easy, inexpensive way to upgrade the capabilities of an older system. And many recent systems include optical drives with limited capabilities, because the manufacturer wanted to save a few dollars. Even if your optical drive is only a year or two old and was a high-end model when new, it may make sense to replace it to gain the additional features and speed of a current model.

Upgrading your optical drive can add many useful features, including the ability to:

  • Watch DVD-Video movies on your PC

  • Make copies of your audio CDs for your car, or simply to keep the originals in safe storage

  • Create custom audio CDs, with a mix of tracks you choose from various sources

  • Back up your email, documents, images, and other data to inexpensive optical disks

  • Make backup copies of your DVD-Video discs

  • Create DVD-Video or Video CD discs from video files you find on the Internet

  • Create custom video CDs or DVDs from home video footage

This chapter details what you need to know to choose the best optical drive for your needs, how to install and configure it, and how to troubleshoot it if problems occur.

Optical Drive Types

There are several types of optical drives available. Some can use only CDs, which typically store about 700 MB of data. Other optical drives can use DVDs, which typically ...

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