Purchasing an external optical drive

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Fig 1. HP External DVDRW Drive F2B56AA

About this article

This article includes information about purchasing an external CD/DVD drive for the HP EliteBook 840 and the Apple MacBook Air. It is intended for all students and employees participating in the E-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program.

Isn't there a CD-DVD drive built into my laptop?

Laptop manufacturers have been moving away from optical drives for the past few years. Shedding the optical drive allows the laptop to be thinner and lighter, increases battery life, and eliminates numerous points of mechanical failure. This is also in line with recent changes in media distribution. Music, movies, and software are no longer being distributed via CD-DVD and cloud services and large-capacity external drives are replacing CDs for file storage.

Do I really need a CD-DVD drive?

If you rely on media stored to CD or DVD, you may want to invest in an external drive that you can plug into your laptop. However, this is also a great time to think about whether you really need this capability. Consider the following:

  • You might be able to get away with checking out an external CD-DVD drive from the Technical Support Center (AskTech@winona.edu, 507-457-5240, Somsen Hall 207) on those occasions when you absolutely need one.
  • Some of the media you need may be available online (e.g., Netflix, YouTube, or the Krueger Library's Films on Demand).
  • As long as you don't break copyright law, you may be able to publish some of your disc-based media online. Please consult with TLT (tlt@winona.edu) to discuss this option before publishing any copyrighted media online.

Attention faculty and staff

If you are interested in an external CD-DVD drive, please contact the WSU Technical Support Center (techsupport@winona.edu, 507-457-5240, Somsen Hall 207)

Introducing the HP USB External DVDRW Drive

Although there are several drive options for both laptops, ITS recommends the HP USB External DVDRW Drive (F2B56AA). This drive is compatible with both the PC and Mac laptops and can be purchased from the WSU Bookstore. You can use the drive to read and write CDs and DVDs. The drive has a USB 2.0 connector, but can be plugged into the USB 3.0 ports. No additional AC power adapter is required. The drive comes with a one-year parts replacement limited warranty.

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