How to Disable DVD/CD-ROM Drives

If you can open your computer case, you can pull the plug on your DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive by literally pulling the plug on its power cable or its data cable. However, it's a pain, and you have to reverse the process if you ever want to use the drive again. It's much easier to disable the device from the Device Manager utility in Windows 8.1. That way, you can still insert and remove CDs or DVDs, but you can't read or write discs.

The procedures are the same for laptops.
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Step 1

Press "Windows-X" to expand the Power User menu in Windows 8.1 and then click "Control Panel" to launch the utility.

Step 2

Click the "System and Security" link, click "System" and then click the "Device Manager" link to open the utility. All devices installed on your system are displayed as a list.

Step 3

Double-click the "DVD/CD-ROM drives" node to expand it and display all drives installed on your computer. Note that virtual drives are also listed here. The drives contain the name of their manufacturer, so you can quickly locate the drive you want to disable. Virtual drives usually contain the word "virtual" in their name.

Step 4

Double-click the drive to open its Properties window and then click the "Driver" tab to view more information about the device's driver. The driver helps the Windows operating system communicate with hardware devices and control them.

Step 5

Click the "Disable" button to disable the device and "Yes" to confirm. Click "OK" to close the Properties window and then close the Control Panel.

Tip

You can disable the device from the Device Manager without opening its Properties window by right-clicking the device and choosing "Disable" from the context menu.

To re-enable the drive, open the Device Manager, open the drive's Properties window, select the "Driver" tab and then click the "Enable" button. Click "OK."

The drive is disabled and enabled immediately, so there is no need to restart your computer.

The drive's letter disappears from the File Explorer when you disable it from the Device Manager. Don't worry -- the letter reappears when you enable it. If there is a disc inside the drive when you enable it, Windows reads it immediately.

Warning

If you want to disable the drive by unplugging its cables, make sure the computer is turned off and disconnected from the power source.

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