How to Install Software on a Laptop without a CD Drive?

Laptops without a CD/DVD drive are quite common today. They are made this way because CD drives take up a lot of space and make the laptop chunky and less portable. As opposed to that, a laptop without a CD drive is usually sleek and lightweight.

Anyway, we’re not here to discuss the pros and cons of that. You’re probably in search of a simple and easy method to install software on your laptop without a CD drive. Here, you’ll find not one but three ways of installing software on a laptop that doesn’t have a CD drive. So let’s get right into it.

3 Ways to Install Software on a Laptop without a CD Drive

You’ll find the following three ways, and each of them is an equally efficient way to fix your issue.

  1. External CD/DVD Drive
  2. Flash Drive
  3. Sharing CD drive over a Wireless Network 

The first two methods will be quite straightforward, while the last one may be complicated for some.

External CD/DVD Drive

Installing software through an external CD drive is one of the most common ways to install software on a device without a driver. This method is super easy and foolproof so let’s see what you need to do.

  1. Purchase an external CD/DVD drive. A good CD drive will cost you anywhere around 50 to 100 bucks. 
  2. Once you have the external drive in hand, connect it to your laptop via the USB port.

Note: Check if your drive needs to be installed through a driver (refer to instruction manual) or if it is a plug-and-play device.

  1. After connecting the external drive to your laptop, insert the software CD that requires the installation to the external drive.
  2. Once the drive processes the CD, you’ll be able to locate the program in My Computer, as usually happens with an internal disc drive.
  3. Open the installation wizard of the software by clicking on the CD drive.
  4. Proceed to the installation process as required. 

Using a Flash Drive

You’ll need access to a PC/laptop with a CD drive and a USB flash drive for this method to work. This method doesn’t require any additional purchases, so if you don’t feel like spending 50 bucks on an external disc drive, this method is for you.

  1. Insert the CD of the software into a computer with a disc drive.
  2. Connect the USB drive to the same system.
  3. Now copy the installer from the computer to the USB. 
  4. Once that’s done, remove the USB from this computer and attach it to the one that needs the software installation.
  5. Now launch the installer on your laptop without the CD drive. 
  6. Complete the installation process as directed by the installation wizard.

Share a CD Drive over a Wireless Network

Let me warn you, this method is complicated and requires more attention and time than the previous two. For this method, you’ll also need two laptops, one with an internal CD Drive. However, this process is slightly lengthy and may be challenging to comprehend for some of you. So here goes:

  1. Open properties of CD/DVD Drive and turn on sharing.
  2. To do so, locate the CD drive in My Computer and open its properties. Now head to the sharing tab, here you’ll find an advanced sharing option. 
  3. Here, select the folder you want to share. Next, open the permissions tab, and check the Full Control checkbox.
  4. Now close the window after applying all the changes.
  5. Next, make sure both laptops are connected to the same network.
  6. Insert the CD drive to the laptop with the disc drive. 
  7. Now is the time to work with the laptop without a CD drive. On this laptop, open the Network and Sharing Centre from the search box. 
  8. Look for the name of the laptop for which you enabled sharing earlier and open it. It may ask you for a login.
  9. Now, open the CD drive folder and locate the installer file. 
  10. Launch the installer and proceed to the installation process as required.

Well, this process involves quite an unbearable amount of steps, and I suppose you’re not planning on going with this one. However, it was necessary to go through this complicated method because if somehow you cannot work your way through the first two methods, this can be your last resort. 


Installing software on a laptop without a CD drive with the help of an external disc drive or a flash drive is almost effortless. Installing software through an external disc drive is the most recommended method. However, using a USB drive is another simple method that doesn’t even require a purchase.

Categories  Blog,  Laptops