Most desktop PCs ship with an optical drive, usually either a DVD drive or a Blu-Ray drive while mobile PCs may not always ship with one. Especially tablets, netbooks and other low cost or small form factor devices do not ship with one usually.
If you need to access files stored on a DVD, drivers for example, tools, or media then you have two main options to achieve that.
You can either move the files to an USB Flash Drive or online storage before you connect that drive to the mobile device, or share the optical drive over a local area network.
It is actually pretty simply to do so, provided that you have already set up a local area network. If you have not, you may want to check out Microsoft's guide on the topic to get started.
One of the easiest ways to get started is to use the operating system's Homegroup feature which is available on Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows. It is explained in detail on the Microsoft Support website.
Sharing a CD, DVD or Blu-Ray drive
Do the following to share the optical drive of one computer on a local area network:
- Open Windows Explorer on the PC that has the optical drive.
- Locate the drive, right-click it, and select Properties from the context menu.
- Switch to the sharing tab in the properties window.
- Click on the advanced sharing button.
- Check "Share this folder".
- Type a descriptive name under "Share name", e.g. DVD Drive.
- The remaining settings are all optional. You can limit the number of simultaneous users, add comments, or define permissions or caching in detail. It is usually not required to make any changes here.
- Click ok.
Head over to the computer that you want to access the DVD drive on. Open Windows Explorer, and there the network listing. you should see the new shared folder here. Simply click on it to access its contents and work with the files stored on the disc.
Setup is not complicated and unless you make changes to your home network, it should work from that moment on directly without you having to modify anything anymore. The only requirement is that both systems need to be online and connected to the same network to share the optical drive.
It is often easier to share the DVD drive than to move files on optical discs to another location to access them on computer systems without optical drive. This is especially the case if you need to access discs frequently and not just once in a lifetime.