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External optical drives and Win 8.1

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External optical drives and Win 8.1

Postby tmack on Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:45 pm

Apologies in advance for my ignorance here, but I have not been able to have some basic questions answered through a lot of Google searching. Most mainstream sites seem to treat optical drives as something not worthy of their time and assume that they are almost an anachronism.

I just ordered a new desktop not equipped with an optical drive of any kind and running windows 8.1 I assumed that picking up an external drive would be a simple matter, however, I seem to be reading conflicting information. On one hand I've read that Win 8/8.1 does not support an optical drive. On the other, I see information that suggests this is not a problem as long as the external is set up with the proper software. Reviews of external drives tend to be 2012 era and prior and I noted that the systems they are tested on run Win 7.

So my questions are: 1) Can a win 8.1 OS be compatible with an external optical drive? 2) Is special software required, and if so, what is recommended? 3) Any recommendations on the external drive for a system that isn't constantly mobile, but is used in different locations on occasion?

I have to believe that with all of the Win 8/8.1 laptops and desk top all-in-ones that don't have room for an internal optical drive, there has to be a way to successfully add an external and that manufacturers still support.

Would greatly appreciate any input and again apologize for my tech ignorance here on what is obviously a very tech oriented forum. Thanks.

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Re: External optical drives and Win 8.1

Postby Ian on Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:29 am

Yes, external optical drives are supported in Windows 8/8.1. You should be able to just plug one into an available USB port and have it be automatically recognized by the system.

As far as software goes, it really depends on what you're trying to do. If you're trying to burn a disc, there is some basic stuff built into the OS, but there is free software out there like Imgburn that is a lot better. As far as movie playback software, you'll want to pick up something like PowerDVD that has the necessary codecs.
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Re: External optical drives and Win 8.1

Postby tmack on Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:06 am

Thanks for clearing that up! I'll look into the software you mentioned. Imagine this site may have some info on options. From what I've seen Samsung appears to be a reliable optical drive choice. other than here, anywhere I should be looking for trusted product reviews? Thanks again for your quick and knowledgable response. For a non-tech this stuff can quickly get very confusing.
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Re: External optical drives and Win 8.1

Postby Ian on Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:54 pm

Samsung, LG and Pioneer seem to be the only ones still making new portable optical drives. While some people may have personal preferences, all three make good drives.

Trusted product reviews? That's sort of a loaded question. ;) Honestly, not may websites are doing optical drive reviews anymore. They just aren't sexy, cool, etc. and companies know this so they don't even bother to send out review units. If you want to see reviews of older models, you can check out myce.com and cdrinfo.com as well as our own reviews here.
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