A lot of laptops are coming without DVD drives these days, like the super-thin ultrabooks or Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3. Apples Macbook Pro is another example of a highly popular machine with no DVD drive.
Ultra-thin laptops are great. They’re light, super portable, and can handle almost any modern task you throw at them. They don’t come with DVD drives inside, but the fact of the matter is that most of us rarely use disc drives these days. That said, there are still situations in which they can come in handy—like when you’re trying to install Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Dragon Medical, ripping one of your own CDs, or when you want to watch a movie on your laptop. A Portable USB drive is the best way to do those things without an internal disc drive.
As far as purchasing your external DVD drive, your local electronics store such as Best Buy will have what you need in stock at a reasonable price. If you have a Mac, don’t waste your money on Apple’s $80 model. You can also get one for as cheap as $30 on Amazon or Newegg if you have time to wait. Once you acquire your unit simply plug it into your USB drive, pop in your copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Dragon Medical and you’re ready to begin installation. As an added bonus you can also now rip CDs to iTunes, play DVDs, and even boot from the drive if you need to run Linux or reinstall Windows.
In the end, if you’re going to purchase a computer with no disk drive (which makes perfectly good sense these days since online stores like iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix provide us with most of our media), you really should consider spending the extra $30 on an external USB DVD drive.