Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Netbooks, Windows 7, and DVDs

It has been a while since I did any tech posting, but my personal computer situation has gone a bit wonky these days and I finally figured it out. I figured I share some things.

When the dogs got tangled in the power cord of my Acer laptop and drug it to the ground, it was kaput. The power input was broken away from the motherboard, so there was no way to recharge the battery, which only lasted a few minutes at the best of times. I consider it a blessing, as I was fed-up with the thing anyway. I decided to go with ASUS this time, getting an Eee PC Netbook. There are a few things I did not consider.

Netbooks do not have DVD players. This is hardly a huge issue, as with "cloud computing" and my network storage device there was no huge need for DVD storage. But what about playing DVDs? Well, if you have a desktop computer as well, you can share your DVD drive, making it accesible to your netbook. With Windows, generally, open My Computer and right-click the DVD drive. Select either Sharing and Security... or Properties. If you selected Properties, there is a Sharing tab. Click the radio button next to Share this folder and give it a name. This is the share name that your netbook will use (it should auto-populate the drive letter). For minimum hassle, and since it is your computer, click the Permissions button and give everyone Read rights. If it is a DVD writer, you may want to give Write or Full Control rights. I wont address security here, but if you have a question, leave a comment and we'll talk.

Now, put a disc in the shared drive and go to your netbook. In the Run dialogue, or the address bar of Explorer, enter \\ip-address\share-name. Let's say my ip address is and my share is called "DVD" I would enter \\\DVD and hit Enter. If you see anything that looks like the disc in the drive, you are golden. Otherwise you might need some other configurations. Again, leave a comment if you need a hand. Now that you know your share is working, you should map the shared drive, so that it has a drive letter. See this helpful bit from Microsoft, which provides instructions for Windows XP, but is pretty typical of all their operating systems.

Now. Since your netbook does not have a DVD player, it is likely you do not have DVD software. Also, if you have Windows 7 Stater you do not have the ability to play DVDs in Media Player. You could buy a DVD player application, or you could get the lovely, open source, free VLCPlayer from VideoLAN. Installing this will give you a multifunction media player, as well as DVD playing capabilities.

After the software is installed, go to the Media menu and select Open Disc... If you mapped the share, you can Browse to that drive letter and click Play. If you had a DVD video in the drive, it should begin just as on any other player. Viola!

If any of this was too arcane, talk to me in comments and we'll figure out what is up. I understand that not everyone knows how to find their IP address, or what all the little things are that I may have merely brushed past. I am trained in this (to some degree) and know that IT is not everyone's skill set. I won't be a dick, and no question is stupid, so ask away if you need to.


dfordoom said...

Or you can buy a Mac, and then you can't play DVDs successfully at all.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Really? I thought Mac was a media machine... I have not tried DVDs on the wife's. There might be a Mac version of VLC.

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