How to Install Software on a Laptop Without CD Drive

Not all laptops are equipped with CD/DVD drives. Most manufacturers choose not to include disk drives to make their units small, thin and compact. While some decide not to place disk drives to make their units cheap and affordable, this is one component that is often compromised to make laptops accessible.

Laptop with taskbar and code in view

While this is a caveat for some consumers, most people prefer to have thin laptops, so they are willing to forego the presence of disk drives. However, there are some obvious downsides. One of this is that you can’t install programs from an installer CD. Thankfully, there is a workaround for this problem.

In this article, we will teach you how to install software on a laptop without a CD drive. Without further ado, let us start with the tutorial.

Using an External Drive

An external CD/DVD drive is an efficient alternative for laptops that do not have disk drives. You can use it by plugging it into the USB port of the computer. There are plug and play external drives, while there are also some that need to be installed via a driver. If it requires a driver, make sure to follow the instructions on installing the external drive. This is usually found on the manufacturer manual.

After installing the external drive, the next step is to insert the software CD of the program you want to install. Wait until the external drive reads the CD. If it shows up in “My Computer” click on the CD drive and proceeds with the software installation. Clicking on the CD drive will prompt you to an installation wizard which will guide you with the whole installation process.

Using a Flash Drive

Another workaround is with the use of a USB thumb drive.  To do this, you need to copy the installer from a computer with a CD/DVD drive.  The first step is to copy the files from the installer CD and then pasting it to a flash drive. After copying the necessary data, plug in the flash drive to the laptop with no CD/DVD drive. Click on the installer file and then proceed with the installation process.

Using a different laptop that has a disk drive, the installer files found on the software disk can be copied onto a flash drive and then moved to the computer that has no disk drive. After the installation process is complete, close the window and then safely remove the USB thumb drive.

Sharing a CD/DVD drive with another laptop on a wireless network

Another method is by sharing a CD/DVD drive with another laptop via a wireless network. This method though is more complicated compared to the steps mentioned above. You will make use of this shared drive to install the intended software. It is worth noting that this step also works with older versions of the Windows OS.

Before connecting the drives, you need first to configure and set up a wireless network. Once you have this in check, you can now to proceed to the next steps.

The first step is to configure the settings to share the drive among two laptops. To do this click on My Computer and look for the CD/DVD drive, right click on it and select Properties. In the properties window, look for the sharing tab and then click on “advanced sharing.” This will direct you to another window which allows you to select the drive you want to share. While doing this, make sure to assign a name for the drive so that it will be easy to detect.

Open the Permissions Window and then click ok on the full control checkbox. After doing this, click on Apply and then click OK to close the window. Once again, click on Ok to close the advanced sharing options.

Different operating system versions may require a different approach, but it is somewhat similar to what we have stated. You only need to navigate through the properties of the CD/DVD and then click on turn on the sharing feature.

The next step is to set the sharing permissions. To successfully share your CD/DVD to another laptop, you need to turn on the permission settings of the file sharing as well as folder sharing on both laptops.

To do this, you need to click on the search icon and then look for Network and Sharing Center in the search box. Click enter, and you will be directed to the Windows Network and Sharing Panel. In this window, look for the sharing and discovery options. In this window, toggle on the file sharing and public folder sharing features. At this point, you already have enabled the file and folder sharing option.

Once you have already done the steps mentioned above, the next thing you need to do is to install the software using the laptop that has an existing CD/DVD drive. To do this, it requires that you first insert the installer disk on the laptop with the CD/DVD drive. After installing the software successfully, you now need to divert your attention on the computer that has no disk drive.

On the other laptop, click on the search bar and then input Network Settings. After this, you need to click on the name of the laptop where you enabled the sharing features and where you installed the intended software. In some instances, it may require you to log into the first laptop.

Afterward, double click on the folder where the program or software was installed. After this, you need to look for the installer file. This is usually denoted by the filename “setup.exe” or “Start.exe” or something similar. Take note of the folder where you found the record if it is indeed from the installed software.

On the secondary laptop, click on the installer file and then proceed with the installation process. An installation wizard might be present depending on the software, to guide you with the entire process. Finish the installation and voila! You are done with the installation.

The last method we discussed is more tedious and complicated. With this, we highly suggest that you use an external CD/DVD drive to guide you with the installation.