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upgrade from CD R/W TO DVD R/W

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i own a laptop and it only has a DVD/R CD R/W i bought it around 3 years ago. my question is how would i know what can i upgrade it to. i want to replace my internal drive with a dvd R/W...but how will i know what will work?
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Internal optical drives for laptops are custom made to fit each model, unlike those for desktop computers which are "one size fits all".
You will have to visit the website of your laptop manufacturer to see what, if anything, is available for your particualar model.
Generally speaking,if your laptop is made by a 'big name' manufacturer you are more likely to find they have what you want, whereas a more obscure brand may be more difficult to upgrade.

Your other option is to buy an external DVD-writer which plugs into a USB or Firewire port on your laptop. This means you're not limited by what your laptop manufacturer has to offer, but for reasonable performance your laptop must have either Firewire or USB 2.0 ports. The original USB 1.1 just won't cut it. The downside to this option, of course, is that you'll have to carry the dvd-writer around as well as the laptop.
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