Why No Optical Drive?

[ad]Hi Elizabeth.

I don’t know if this qualifies as it’s not a techie or how to question. I am wondering why new computers don’t have an optical drive anymore.

My daughter was wanting a laptop in the mid $300’s range (Ontario, Canada). With the back-to-school sales, I’ve looked at one’s up to $600 regular price and none have an optical drive.

One of my prize computers back in the day had 2 drives, a cd drive and a burner. I hated to see that one replaced with only one drive, but at that time, we were able to take our cd’s and move music to the computer, so I could still run a program and play MY music at the same time.

I guess watching dvd’s on the computer is out of date for most, but I still have some programs that have to be installed from a cd. I know for a fact that I can’t move the cd contents to the computer to install. This makes it impossible to use my old programs (eg. Adobe Illustrator). Even my last Kaspersky anti-virus comes through the mail as a disc when ordered online. It wasn’t a download as of the time of my upgrade.

I’ve researched online and I’ve heard that it only costs $20 for a company to install a cd/dvd drive on a laptop. Best Buy locally has external one’s for $35 and burners for $110. Even though this would be the most cost saving, I’d rather have one installed on my device.

So what gives?

Thanks for listening…Sue

Hi Sue,

Computer manufacturers are looking for every way that they can to bring down and keep down the price of computers.

Back when your computer had 2 drives, a CD drive and a burner, I’m willing to bet that it cost far more than the $300 range you are shopping in today.

Another reason that many laptops don’t have optical (CD and DVD) drives is to keep the size and weight of the laptop down. Also, components with moving parts tend to break more often, so leaving the optical drive out of the laptop keeps the cost of support down as well.

The good news is that you should be able to copy your installation disks to a USB thumb drive and install them from there. The installation program might not start automatically, but you will be able to find the installation file, double-click on it and run it.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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