How to Convert an Internal DVD Drive to External

By Contributing Writer

Converting an internal DVD drive to an external device is a relatively simple task for anyone who has a familiarity with basic hand tools. This project allows a user to add another drive to a small or fully optioned-out computer with no expansion bays remaining or for a desktop CPU that is located under a desk, where opening and closing the drive can be impractical. This task should take roughly 15 minutes to complete.

Things You'll Need

  • External 5.25-inch drive enclosure
  • Phillips-head screwdriver

Converting an Internal DVD Drive to External Device

Step 1

Disassemble the external drive enclosure by removing the screws per the manufacturer's instructions. (Please note: This step will vary by manufacturer, make and model, but usually requires the removal of four screws from the bottom of the unit.)

Step 2

Lift off the top cover.

Step 3

Attach any mounting brackets to the side of the drive using the retention screws provided. (Please note: Disregard this step if no mounting brackets are required. This is a manufacturer-dependent step and may not apply to your enclosure.)

Step 4

Lower the cable end of the DVD drive into the case close enough to connect the cables. (Typically, there will be a data cable, a power cable and an audio cable that need to be connected.)

Step 5

Fit the drive into the base of the enclosure and secure it to the base with the retention screws that were provided with the external enclosure kit.

Step 6

Place the top cover on the enclosure and secure it with the screws that were provided with the enclosure.

Step 7

Connect the drive to your system and power if required.

Step 8

Wait for a New Hardware Found dialogue box to appear. In most installations, this will require you to insert the manufacturer-supplied CD that contains the drivers for the device into your internal CD/DVD drive (as the external drive is not functioning yet) and click "OK."

Step 9

Remove the manufacturer's driver CD from your internal CD/DVD drive and test your external drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep a small cup or bottle to place screws and small parts in while you are working.
  • It may be necessary to set the Master/Slave jumper on the DVD drive itself to match your system needs.
  • If you do not have an internal CD/DVD drive to insert the manufacturer's driver CD into, this driver can usually be downloaded from the manufacturer's site.