How to play DVDs on a PC without a DVD drive step by step

Play DVDs on your computer even if it doesn't have a DVD dirve

There is a trend towards computers, especially laptops, without DVD/CD-Rom drives. So how do you play DVDs on a computer without a DVD drive? There are several options available to you.

What can you do if your computer does not have a DVD drive? Convert your DVDs to .iso files and play them with VLC

If you have recently bought a new computer, it may not have come with a DVD drive and this means that you cannot play movies on it. What do you do with all of your old DVDs? Bin them? No, there are solutions.

Stream movies

The most obvious solution to not having a DVD drive in the computer is to stream the movies over the internet instead of playing them from a physical disc. You can buy outright or rent movies and TV shows from Google Play or iTunes, and you can stream them from Netflix, Amazon and other services.

Google Play Movies website

Streaming has replaced DVDs and discs will slowly fade away. However, this means you could end up buying or renting streaming movies you have already bought on DVD.

Play your own DVDs

What if you have a collection of DVDs? If they do not have copy protection systems, for example, free DVDs and DVDs you have made yourself from videos taken with your camera or phone, they can be converted into disc images on the computer and then you can play them back any time you want, even without the original disc.

Create a disk image

You need access to a computer with a DVD drive. This could be an old computer that has a DVD drive, a friend’s computer, or you could add a USB DVD/CD writer. You need some way of accessing the DVD discs.

Using DVD/CD writing software, a DVD can be read and saved to disk as a .iso file. There are several programs that can do this and InfraRecorder (http://infrarecorder.org/) is free. I downloaded the zip file because it does not need installing. Just unzip it and run it.

Put the DVD disc in the drive, cancel any messages that pop up, go to the Actions menu and select Copy Disc > to a Disc Image.

Copy a DVD to a .iso file using InfraRecorder

Click the three dots button on the right of Image file and select the location to save the disc image and name it. I named it MyDisc.iso and saved it to the desktop.

Save a .iso disc image file

Once this is finished, the file can be transferred to the computer that does not have a DVD drive. A USB thumb drive is a convenient way to transfer it. A full DVD is around 4GB.

Mount the disc

Let’s say you want to play this DVD on a computer without a DVD drive. Right click the .iso file and select Mount or open it in Explorer. This creates a virtual drive, which is a sort of pretend DVD drive. You will see an extra drive in Explorer that looks like a DVD drive.

Mount a .iso file in Windows 10

Play the DVD

Now that you have a virtual DVD drive with a disc in, it can be played with something like VLC media player. I downloaded the zipped version so it does not need installing.

Just run VLC and either drag the .iso file and drop it on the player or select Discs under Devices in the sidebar and double click the virtual DVD drive with the .ios file. It plays just like a regular DVD, so make it full screen and sit back and watch.

Play a DVD in VLC media player

Putting DVD onto the computer takes up a lot of disk space, so make sure there is a lot of free space. Some laptops come with 1TB drives and this would hold more than 100 DVDs as .iso files.

Playing a DVD in VLC media player in Windows

Copy protected DVDs cannot be copied this way and they must be without protection. The Harry Potter DVD above is a free promotional preview DVD with no protection. DVDs you made yourself will have no protection and these are easily copied too.


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1 Comment on How to play DVDs on a PC without a DVD drive step by step

  1. Bruce Schinkel // 2017/09/04 at 20:39 // Reply

    great info, thanks for sharing. Many newer computers seem to be coming without these drives, so this is super helpful

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