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Why a PC optical drive can still be useful

Verbatim DVD-BrennerImage: Verbatim

Nowadays, many people tend to regard optical drive as obsolete in PCs. Modern desktops and laptops generally come without one. But there are still convincing reasons why it makes sense to have an optical drive on hand.

One of the main reasons is the use of rescue boot CDs. Although USB drives can be made bootable, creating a bootable optical disc is often easier and more reliable. USB sticks are also somewhat more convenient to use, but they are not always the most durable solution.

This leads us to the next point: the longevity of optical drives as a storage medium. CDs and DVDs are not only inexpensive storage media, they are also surprisingly durable if you store them properly. Some specialized DVDs can even last an entire century. This makes them an excellent option for long-term archiving.


Optical drives are not only essential for data, but also for entertainment. Despite the popularity of streaming services, there is a huge selection of films and music on DVDs and CDs that are not available online. And users who have a preference for high quality audio and video know that physical media often offers superior playback over streamed versions.

Finally, there’s the nostalgia and practicality that comes with retro PC games. Many of these games are only available on discs. In this case, an optical disc drive is the key to playback. In addition, certain platforms such as GOG allow users to purchase DRM-free games and legally create physical backup copies.


So despite the digital age we live in, external optical drives should still have a firm place in our technology landscape. They are readily available and can be purchased for less than $20 on Amazon. What’s more, blank discs are dirt cheap. You can get a 50 pack of blank DVDs for $16 on Amazon, or about 30 cents per blank DVD disc. Be sure to pick up an optical drive capable of burning discs if you’re planning on going that route.

This article was translated from German to English and originally appeared on

Recent stories by Friedrich Stiemer:

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