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How to Replace Your CD or DVD Drive

January 8th, 2010

replace-dvd-drive.jpgReplacing your malfunctioning CD or DVD drive is one of the more simple maintenance activities. A few screws, a cable, and the device drivers are about all you need.

Before even purchasing your new drive, there is one thing to consider. Most new programs are coming on DVD disks, so you probably don’t want to buy just a CD-ROM. The most optimal option would be for you to purchase a CD/DVD R/RW All In One drive. This will allow you to read, record, and write both CDs and DVDs. It has the added benefits of saving you money, time, space, and the headache of having to install multiple drives.

To actually remove the drive, start by turning off the computer, removing all wires attached to the computer (keyboard, mouse, monitor, and power cables), and setting the computer on a rubber or anti-static mat. This is done because static electricity from the body can damage internal components in a PC.

Next, remove both side panels (if the PC is a mini or micro-ATX tower). To take the panels off, remove the two to four screws from each panel on the back edges. If you have a case fan attached to one of the panels, you’ll have to disconnect the wire.

Once both panels are removed, look for the CD/DVD drive, which is usually located in the top of the case. Most of the time there will be two screws on each side of the drive securing it in place. For more expensive cases, there is sometimes a plastic lock and no screws.

Before removing the screws, unplug the cables attached to it (there could be up to three of them). Next, take out the screws and slide the drive out through the front of the computer.

After removing the drive, look on the back. Somewhere, you should see a small two-pronged jumper (or bridge). Scan the outside of the drive to determine whether the jumper is set to master, slave, or cable select. Cable select will normally not have a jumper on any of the pins.

Set the new drive to the same as the old one. This is especially important if you have more than one CD/DVD drive present. Having two masters or slaves will cause neither to be recognized by the system BIOS or the operating system. Slide the new drive into the computer and secure it in place.

Next, reattach all the cables to the drive, plug everything else back in, replace the side panels (leaving the screws out of the left side), and turn the computer back on.

The system might tell you to enter the setup menu. The reason this might happen is because the old drive was saved in the BIOS, and the CMOS has detected changes. You should be able to search through the menus, and have it automatically find the new drive. If it doesn’t you may have set the master/slave jumper wrong. You’ll have to go back into the system and set the jumper to the correct settings. Worst case is that you’ll have to flash the BIOS. In this case, you’ll have to consult the motherboard manual to find out how to do it.

Once you have everything properly set up, your operating system will recognize the new drive and try to locate drivers for it. This is when you’ll need to insert the driver disk which came with the drive. If none came with it, let the operating system try to locate them automatically. You also have the option of going online and downloading drivers directly from the manufacturer’s website.

If everything has gone well, you now have a working CD/DVD drive. The only things left to do are to put the screws back in the side panel, and install any software you didn’t have before, such as a CD and DVD burning program if you upgraded to a R/RW drive.


This article on replacing your CD or DVD drive was sent to us by Barry Davidson from Constant Content.


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