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DVD Stopped Working – How To Replace?

Jerome from Louisville, KY writes:

My DVD/CD drive stopped working suddenly, what could be the problem? I have a Gateway; Windows 7, 64bit computer.

If your DVD/CD drive has stopped spinning discs, the motor may be defective or burnt out. This isn’t that big of a problem if you have traditional desktop computer, as replacement DVD drives are fairly inexpensive. If your computer is a laptop, however, you would want to contact the laptop manufacturer about the availability of replacement DVD drive or look on eBay for your particular model laptop and the keywords DVD drive. Keep in mind buying used or secondhand electronics carries risk, so make sure you deal with someone on eBay with good feedback and reasonable return/exchange policy.

Most desktop computers use either a SATA or IDE interface for the DVD drive. If you open your computer up (turn off the power first!) and look at the back of the CD/DVD drive you should see two cables. One cable will be a power adapter and the other will be either see an IDE cable or a SATA cable.

Once you know which connector you have, you can purchase a replacement DVD drive at most major electronics retailers or online pc part shops [1]. Check the specifications for the drive under the interface and match the type of cable you have, IDE for IDE and SATA for SATA I/II/II. An internal DVD/CD reader/writer should cost you roughly $22.95>$34.95. You can buy the OEM version, which is designed for PC builders, as you just need the replacement drive. You do not need software or consumer retail boxing.

Once you get the replacement drive it’s usually as easy as removing the support screws on the side of the CD/DVD drive, disconnecting the power and interface cable and pulling the drive out. You may need to remove both side panels to get at two screws on each side. Some computer manufacturers have cases which have support clips or special methods of removing a drive, so you should check your manufacturers website for a service guide or manual which usually will describe in detail the process to replace the CD/DVD drive.

Once you insert the new drive, screw in the screws and reconnect the power and IDE or SATA cable your computer will automatically detect the drive next time you turn it on and it should start working. If you’re not comfortable doing any of these steps yourself most computer shops offer a repair service which could replace the drive. Expect to pay at least $29.99 for this service and possibly more, depending on the retailer.