How to Install an Internal CD/DVD Drive in Your Computer

Your computer or laptop needs one of two types of CD/DVD drives: SATA or IDE. The most foolproof way to see what type of drive your computer can take is to open it up and take a look at the drive or drives it’s currently using. You’ll need to carry out this task before you can replace or add any disc drive in your desktop computer.

1

Remove your computer’s case and examine the data cables that run from your computer’s motherboard (the large, flat circuit board filled with chips and cables) to your CD/DVD drive or drives.

If the drive’s cable is small (left), then your computer uses SATA drives. (The SATA connector is often labeled, too.) If you see a wide, flat ribbon cable (right), then your computer uses IDE drives.

2

Identify the power cables that move from your computer’s power supply — that massive box in the corner that sprouts all the wires — to your drive.

Your drive either uses a SATA power cable (left) or a Molex power cable (right). SATA power connectors are almost always black; Molex connectors are almost always white. Both of them only fit one way — the right way.

3

Remove the old drive, if necessary, by unplugging its power and data cables, unscrew the drive from the case or pull on its rails, and slide it out of the front of your computer case.

If your adding a new drive to a vacant drive bay, you can skip this step.

4

If you’re replacing an existing IDE drive, set its jumper to match your old drive’s setting, either Master or Slave. If you’re adding a second IDE drive, set its jumper to Slave.

If you’re installing a SATA drive, jump to the following step.

5

Attach rails to your DVD drive, if your case uses them, and then slide the new DVD drive into the front of your computer (screw the drive in place if it doesn’t use rails).

You need a vacant drive bay, which is an opening where your disk drive normally lives. You may need to pry out a rectangular plastic cover from the front of your computer before the drive slides in. (Sometimes you must pry out a thin foil protector from behind the plastic cover, too.)

6

Connect the drive’s data and power cables.

The plugs fit only one way, so don’t force them.

7

Replace your computer’s cover, plug in the computer, and turn it on.

When Windows boots up, it should recognize the new or replacement DVD drive and automatically list it in your Start menu’s Computer program.

8

(Optional) If your drive came with disc-burning software, install it.

Some drives come with free disc-burning software that’s more powerful — but more complicated — than the disc-burning tools built into Windows 7. However, the software often lets you duplicate music CDs, a task Windows 7 still lacks.

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