Do Laptops Have CD Drives? (9 Facts You Should Know)

It’s quite unusual these days to find a laptop with an optical drive.

Many laptops brands have eliminated this feature from their devices in favor of other forms of storage.

Even though they are rare, that doesn’t mean that CDs and DVDs are obsolete yet.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Laptops With CD Drives

Many laptops in the market don’t have optical drives. However, you can still find a few models that do. You can purchase a cheap optical drive in case you need one, and installing it is straightforward. 

However, as technology advances towards cloud storage and faster flash drives, CDs and DVDs will become a thing of the past.

Why Do Laptops Not Have CD Drives Anymore?

There are several reasons most modern laptops don’t have CD drives. Let’s look at some of them here:

Media Delivery

With the emergence of new platforms like YouTube and Netflix, most companies no longer deliver music and movies on optical disks.

 It’s no longer workable for young consumers to purchase physical media when they can easily enjoy streaming services from their favorite platforms across all devices. 

Software and apps are also easily available for download, eliminating the need for optical disks.

USB Drives

No longer are CDs and DVDs high-capacity portable storage devices. Instead, you can use a relatively inexpensive flash disk with a larger capacity to carry your media or data around.

As technology improves, these flash drives run faster than ever. You can also purchase an external hard drive to store more data, and you can get a terabyte’s worth for just about $100.

Cloud Storage

Much like external hard drives, cloud storage offers immense storage space for vast amounts of data. 

For a relatively small fee, you can rent space on services like iCloud and Google Drive, eliminating your need for a stack of DVDs or CDs.


Getting rid of optical drives makes your laptop slimmer, lighter and much less expensive. This also helps manufacturers revolutionize laptop designs, leading to more reliable devices. 

Also, gaming laptops can utilize this space to add special features like GPUs, extra batteries, cooling units and extra storage space.

Are There Any Laptops With A CD Drive?

Plenty of brands still produce laptops with optical drives, although these brands are slowly phasing out this feature from their devices. 

If you’re looking to buy a new laptop with a CD drive, look for one in the product description of your chosen device. You can also ask for help from the assistant at your local electronic store.

Do Apple Laptops Have CD Drives?

Modern Apple laptops no longer feature a CD drive. Apple got rid of the optical drives from their laptops completely in 2013.

For this reason, some Apple laptops have a CD drive while others do not. Those that do are usually legacy and obsolete laptops. 

For example, the 2013 Non-Retina Display MacBook Pro is a legacy laptop with an optical drive that you can find today on Amazon.

What Do I Do If My Laptop Doesn’t Have A CD Drive?

If you must use a CD but your laptop does not have an optical drive, you can purchase an external one. External optical drives are quite cheap, and you can get them from an electronics store for just under $15. 

After acquiring one, you can plug it into a USB port and use it the same way you would an inbuilt optical drive.

A second option would be to insert your CD into a computer with an optical drive, copy files from the CD/DVD and transfer them onto your new laptop with either a flash drive or a network connection.

How Do I Know If My Laptop Has A CD Drive?

There are two ways to know if your laptop has a CD drive:

Physically look for it on your laptop

Most laptops feature an optical drive either as a slot or as a tray. Because of its size, your optical drive will either be on the left or right side of your laptop. 

You’ll notice either a slot or a tray that jerks out when you press its button.

Check your Computer Devices

To find your optical drive from your computer, Open File Explorer. On the left taskbar, click on ‘This PC’. 

This will open a directory that shows you all devices and drives connected to your laptop. Here, you’ll see a CD or DVD drive with an alphabetical letter assigned to it.

How Do I Connect An External CD Drive To My Laptop?

External CD drives usually come with a USB connector that powers the optical drive and transfers data to your laptop.

To use it:

  • Ensure that your laptop is on and running.
  • Plug the compatible end to the back of the optical drive and the USB end to your laptop.
  • Allow your computer to sense the device and install all the required drivers. This happens automatically on all laptops.

Once your laptop has installed your optical drive, you can insert your CD or DVD and access its media directly.

Why Do Gaming Laptops Not Have CD Drives?

They won’t have CD drives for several reasons:

Gaming laptops usually have more specialized features than ordinary laptops do. Therefore, the space that an optical drive would occupy can house more physical storage, cooling units, graphics cards, or extra batteries. 

This gives gaming laptops more power and functionality.

As the gaming world continues to evolve, few PC games are still available in DVD or Blu-Ray format. 

You can pay for and download most games directly from their creators to your gaming PC. You can also extend your gameplay using their cloud gaming services, taking part in online tournaments.

Is A CD Drive Necessary For A Laptop?

You don’t need to have a CD drive on your laptop anymore. Except in very rare cases you won’t need to use a CD or DVD to watch movies, listen to music or install software to your computer. 

Also, getting rid of the optical drive allows manufacturers to replace them with newer technologies. 

Removing optical drives helps laptop designers produce slimmer and lightweight laptops which are comfortable to carry around. 

The development of SSDs and cloud storage also helps eliminate optical drives as they store more data for the lowest cost ever.

Final Thoughts

You’re better off with a laptop that doesn’t have an optical drive. You don’t really need it. If you do, however, that’s nothing to worry about. 

You can always replace it with a caddy that carries extra storage or use it to watch old movies, just to remember the old days. 

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