CD/DVD-RW optical drive

Laptop CD DVD optical drives

Most modern laptops are equipped with a CD/DVD-RW drive also known as an optical disc drive which allows it to read and write data from or to a CD/DVD disc. All laptop CD/DVD drives are shaped the same but they all have different face plates also know as front bezels. On the picture above you can see three different laptop CD/DVD drives with different face plates/front bezels.

When you are replacing a failed CD/DVD drive, you have to make sure that the face plate from the old drive will fit your new drive.

On the picture below you can see two different types of connectors found in modern CD/DVD optical disc drives. One drive has a SATA connector and the other one has an older slim ATAPI connector.

An optical disc drive with a SATA connector is not interchangeable with an optical disc drive with a slim ATAPI connector and vice versa. In other words, if your laptop motherboard comes with a SATA connector for the optical drive, you can only use CD/DVD drives with SATA connectors.

SATA vs slim ATAPI connector

On the next picture I compare a SATA connector used in laptop hard drives with a SATA connector used in CD/DVD drives. As you see, these two connectors are a little bit different. The data connector (right connector) is shaped similarly for both drives, but the power connector (left connector) is shaped differently.

By the way, you can connect a 2.5″ laptop SATA hard drive to a desktop computer using same cables as you use for a regular 3.5″ desktop hard drive.

In order to connect a Slimline SATA optical CD/DVD drive to a desktop computer, you’ll have to purchase the Slimline SATA Cable.

Hard drive SATA vs optical drive SATA connector

If you are replacing the CD/DVD disc drive in your laptop with a new one, make sure your new drive is compatible with the laptop. The best way to find a new optical disc drive is searching by the manufacturer’s part number found on the old drive.

When you install an optical drive which is not compatible with your laptop, it will not be recognized by the BIOS or you’ll get an IDE #1 ERROR on start up.

IDE 1 error


In most laptops, the CD/DVD disc drive is secured by one or two screws on the bottom of the laptops. Remove these screws and pull the optical disc drive from the laptop.

Removing CD DVD drive from laptop

On some other models, the optical drive is secured by one or two screws located under the keyboard. If that’s the case, you’ll have to remove the keyboard first. After that remove those screws and pull the drive from the laptop.

Posted in Laptop parts
90 comments on “CD/DVD-RW optical drive
  1. greg says:

    Correction ro Post #89
    HP Multi-track II cd drive should have been typed as ‘Muti-Bay II”

    Please replace all occurances of the term “Muti-track” with “Multi-Bay”

    Sorry for the typo

    BTW the problem laptop is an HP-Compaq nc6400,
    Part Number RB515UA#ABA

  2. greg says:

    Some HP laptops which “should” be able to “eject” the CD /optical drive (when the laptop has a ‘Mutipack 2″ feature), DO NOT allow you to remove the CD/DVD due to an internal screw that holds the CD drive into the ATAPI board connector. The screw cannot be acessed from under the kepyboard and with my NC6400 HP laptop, it seem required to compleltely remove the complete top of the laptop- A LOT OF WORK- (have to remove monitor etc)

    I thought my dirve was “stuck” and managed to tear the soft aluminum bracket on the back CD palyer, which was screwd into the mother board ( or a seperate board- i cant tell).

    Without this screw/bracket to hold the CD “tight” against the spring action of the Mutipack 2 mount, it will not make contact with the board connector. I have noticed “proper” mulitpack HP CD drives seem to have an extention on the Drives rear ATAPI connector that makes the connection “reach” the inside motherboard connector. Make sure you have the correct CD player if updating . (I was tryiing to update from CD to DVD r/w drive)

    I have a HP/compaq nc6400 Professional edition laptop. I think it used the non-removable “screwed in” CD drive in the Mulitpack 2 slot as a security feature (to prevent theft ?) I dont know- I am stumped at the factory installed method. There was NO written info anywhee about this CD drive being “screwed in place” from within the chassis. Everything I read indicated it shold have “ejected” as the spring loaded mutipack system normally allows. The ” flush” CD drive connector will not work without this INTERNAL screw t hole it tight , in place. HAd the drive a longer connector, ( or adapter of some kind) , it would work using the srping loading system as intended.

    SO BE CAREFUL if your CD drive only ejects a short distance and seems “stuck”- you may have the internal screw and bracket holding it in place, even though you have a mutipack 2 “removable ” model.

    I am still looking for a DVD R/W with the longer (about 5/8″) connector, as seen on most puti pack CD drives.

    ALso, since removing the screw, the drive willnot make contact with the internal card/motherboard unless I firmly and manually press it down – past the spring locking of the mutipack . I was working for a short time but is now not being found by the device manager- even though the CD lights come on and a cd spins up. Not sure- may have damaged connector or having a common HP problem with CD not being found due to a registry error.

    I have bought a USB DVD RW drive to use – but its a hassle harring it around.

    If you have any info on this situation, please post or email

  3. steven says:

    my sony vaio vgn – nr32l , I cannot get the disk drive to work its winows 7 and shows in the hardware list but the details are all 0 port 0 bus 0 etc, it makes a lot of nose when a disk is put inany ideas? or what other drives can I put in it 2nd hand from ebay as this model number returns no resolts, or can I just change the lazor? thanksany help welcomed

  4. joe holland says:

    CD/DVD Rewritable Internal Drive – Replacement for Toshiba Satellite L566-S5112RD Laptop

  5. sue says:

    i need a help! i have 2 laptop, one them is infected by virus badly that’s why i need to run the onekey recovery but it doesn’t have an optical drive. can i connect this affected laptop to the other one so that i can create a recovery disk? pls help. thank you.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Sushant what the repair explained in this tutorial above is that you ca no-t convert a ATAPI drive to a USB or SATA drive, the only option you have is 1) find another laptop that can support this drive that would be “upgraded” if you replaced the drive the other option you have is to use this drive externally for say, a netbook- for this you will need to purchase a ATAPI to USB converter though, the good news is that it will work on a-ll ATAPI drives and would be useful again and again.

    Greg, I done Dell for 7 years, Dell uses the same size ATAPI on the older Dells that used that technology. What you’re seeing is probably the converter board Dell inserts behind the drive. If you were to take the Drive fully out of the enclosure that it’s in you’d see that The port looks just like the Slimline ATAPI port pictured above (IF it’s indeed ATAPI and not SATA)

    Acers are usually not difficult computers to service, I’ve rarely seen a Laptop with a tray loading cd/dvd drive that required more than 2 screws removed before it is possible to slide that drive out of the computer. All I can suggest to you without looking at the drive is to remove all the screws in the surrounding area of the optical drive and then use a straightened paper clip and release the drive lock (pop the tray open, by sticking the paper clip in the tiny hole in front)(the other way you can do it it power the computer up from the off state and press the eject button and to pop the try out before windows starts loading then quickly power off the computer ;) hehe ) once you’ve removed all the screwed from under the the laptop that are in the area of the optical drive pull the tray slightly (not hard) and see if it pulls away all in 1 piece from the computer. Good luck.

  7. naveed says:

    i’ve acer aspire 5536g, DVD Drive have three points upon which a DVD can revolve. its 2 points have breaked ….. please suggest something proper

  8. sushant says:

    im having atapi connector dvd rom and i want to convert it to sata or usb so is it possible to convert that particular drive
    as it no more use in that particlar laptop
    waiting for the reply

  9. Repair Man says:


    I was just wondering if the Dell Laptop DVD drives are different than the ones in the pictures as they do not match the connectors on my Dell Latitude!

    I cannot tell without looking at the drive you are using. Different laptop might use different DVD drives.

  10. Repair Man says:

    @ Nick,

    I would be very grateful if anybody could advice me how to replace DVD RW drive in Acer Aspire 3660. Can’t find anything on the internet and after checking all the screws on the bottom came to realise that none are responsible for holding unit in place.

    I don’t have instructions for this model, but if you cannot find correct screws on the bottom, most likely the are located under the keyboard.
    On some laptops it’s necessary to remove the keyboard in order to remove the DVD drive.

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