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At one time, this was a rare feature, but nowadays, there’s no reason to purchase a model that is lacking in this area. Almost all modern external DVD drives are plug-and-play devices, meaning they will work just by plugging them into your computer. However, to achieve full functionality of your device, you may have to install additional software. From desktop hard drives to NAS to portable solid-state drives, we’ve spent hundreds of hours finding the best external drives for most people. The Sea Tech MD-3107S is large, heavy, and expensive, and it doesn’t come with Windows software.
For instance, a three-minute video captured as .avi is around 3.5GB, as it’s a raw file without compression. Where I’ve marked the red boxes in the above picture, it’s important to set the correct video and audio devices and also to check the sound capture box. The preview box will reassure you that a video signal is coming through, so you can proceed to the next step. Again, I’m not sure how developers come up with naming conventions for software, but that aside, this program really does exactly what it promises.
If you’re looking for the cheapest good DVD drive you can get, or if the Asus ZenDrive U9M isn’t available, get the LG GP65NB60 instead. It didn’t rip our test DVDs as quickly as the ZenDrive, its glossy plastic feels flimsier, and it doesn’t include a USB-C cable in the box. But the GP65NB60 usually costs around $10 less than the ZenDrive and doesn’t make as much noise, and it’s from an established company you’ll be able to get support from if something breaks. Wirecutter has been testing external optical drives since 2013, when they were quickly disappearing from most laptop computers. We also have decades of accumulated experience testing other kinds of storage, including USB flash drives and memory cards, external hard drives, internal and portable SSDs, and network-attached storage.
For a deep dive into the world of external burners, you should read our guide to the best DVD & Blu-ray drives for Mac. Alternatively, like CDs and DVDs, you can burn Blu-rays using Disk Utility or by simply inserting the blank disc and letting Finder do the work. Roxio’s Toast Burn (£19.99/$19.99) is a good option for burning Blu-rays.
Even if you purchased a plug-and-play external DVD drive, additional software can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your device. Some examples include encryption software for added security or playback software to enhance your viewing experience. The functionality of your external DVD drive can be enhanced by the following features. If you are looking for a device that also reads Blu-ray discs, you will need to spend about twice as much. A plug-and-play external DVD drive is designed to work simply by connecting the drive to your computer, without the need for manual configuring or additional software.
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- Home users should also consider making regular backups and storing their data elsewhere.
- It’s for that reason that you’re seeing a lot of cloud storage service providers.
- Possessions can be replaced, but family photos, especially those of ancestors, are irreplaceable.
- This cloud storage is mainly focused on media files (images, videos…), although you can store documents and other files as well.
We also encountered several errors when trying to play DVDs that worked without issue on the other drives. The LG SP80NB80 was a runner-up DVD drive pick in the previous version of this CCleaner for Windows 7 guide, and it performs about the same as other LG DVD drives like the GP65NB60. It’s a fine drive if you can find it for less than $30, but it’s usually more expensive than that, and it isn’t always available on retail sites.