A Quick Guide to Installing a DVD Burner

Installing DVD burners isn't rocket science; if you're comfortable poking around inside your computer, you can probably do it. If you're not comfortable inside your computer, grab an external computer DVD burner instead. With an external, all you need to do is plug it in to a USB port and maybe run some software.

For those who prefer an internal DVD burner for faster read and write speeds, here's a simple guide for installing it.

  1. Prepare your workspace. You must work in a clean, dust-free environment whenever you open your computer. Have some canned air handy; since you'll have the computer open anyway, you may as well give it a quick spritz with the canned air to flush any accumulated dust. Unplug the system before you begin.
  2. Open your computer. Some computers come with handy thumb screws so you can easily open your case. Others require screwdrivers. You'll only need to unscrew the screws on the outside edge of the computer that secure the case; don't touch any unnecessary screws. Once the computer is open, touch the metal chassis to discharge any static electricity so you don't damage any of the sensitive electronics inside your machine.
  3. Remove the face plate from the drive bay you intend to use. Once you've got your computer open and know which drive bay you intend to use, pop the face plate off the front. Most computers have pressure-sensitive face plates that you simply squeeze to remove.
  4. Slide the DVD burner in from the front of the computer.
    Most DVD burners have a larger frame on the front designed to fit firmly on the front of the computer, so you can't slide it into place from the inside; you have to slide it into the drive bay from the front of the computer, where you just removed the face plate.
  5. Secure the DVD burner into the drive bay with screws. Some computers have screws already provided with the drive bays, and many DVD burners come with screws for mounting. If you don't have screws, you'll need them; never install DVD burners without securely mounting them.
  6. Attach the IDE cable. This cable looks like a flat piece of ribbon with connectors on either end. Most IDE controllers come with multiple ports on a single cable, so you'll want to find a free IDE port to plug into your DVD burner. The IDE controller should only connect in one configuration; if you can't get it to snap into place, try turning it upside down to ensure you've got it connected properly.
  7. Connect the burner to the power supply. Your computer power supply should have several free connectors for expansion purposes. Look for the red and yellow wires with the white plugs on the end. These plugs typically come in two sizes; one smaller size for floppy drives and a larger size for drive expansions. Connect the power using the plug that fits your DVD burner.
  8. Close your case and start your computer. Give your computer one final spritz with the canned air to flush any accumulated dust, and close the system up. When you boot the system, watch the startup screen to see if your computer detects the new drive. If it does, you're all set. If it doesn't, disconnect the power, open your computer and check the power and IDE cables to make sure they're attached securely.
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