If you have ordered a laptop lately you may have noticed that it did not have a CD/DVD drive. More and more software is going to digital download and laptops are getting smaller and lighter. So, ditching the optical drives seems to be the way the manufacturers are going. But if you have old software on disk or do business with an entity that still uses disk then this can be a real inconvenience.
Installing an operating system with no optical drives.
Not having a CD drive can be a pain when trying to load or install software like an operating system. So, if you have a computer or server with no optical drive what do you do? For me, I use a program to load an ISO (disk image) onto a USB drive then boot from the USB drive. There are a lot of options out there but I kind of like Rufus. Mostly because it has a portable option. Meaning I do not have to install it. Then I can take my Windows or Linux ISO image and put it on a USB drive to install it where I need to.
But you still need a computer that can read the original disk in order to move its contents over to a USB drive. If you do not have that then your only option may be an external CD or DVD drive.
External optical drives
You can find external CD drive that can plug into a USB port. You can go Newegg or even Walmart and look for an External USB Optical Drive. At the time of this writing that will cost you around $20 to $30. I have used a few people and they work very well but they could be a little bit slower than the onboard option.