MacMost Now 591: Sharing CDs and DVDs Between Macs

The MacBook Air and Mac mini have no optical drives. You can get an external drive for $79, or you can share the optical drive on another Mac on your network. Learn how CD and DVD drive sharing works.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's look at how to share DVD or CD between two Macs. So if you have a MacBook Air or one of the new Mac Mini's, you don't have an optical drive. Now, if you need to use DVDs or CDs, one solution is to buy the $79 external optical drive that will work on one of these. Another option is to share a CD or DVD with another Mac on your network. So say you have an iMac and you have a MacBook Air. The MacBook Air can access the optical disk in the iMac. Let me show you how. So here I am on my Mac Pro and I'm going to go to ‘System Preferences' and in there I'm going to go over to 'Sharing'. This is where you will find things like ‘File Sharing' and ‘Screen Sharing'. Now just like that, you will also find DVD or CD sharing. You can see I have it selected here so I can see the options I have turned on. And I can choose whether I need to be asked before someone else* uses that drive. You can turn it on or off, it's your preference. So once you have all that set up, a disk inserted into this Mac Pro or into an iMac, whatever you're using would be available to other Macs on the network. Now what I've done is that I've put the iWork DVD into my Mac Pro. Now here I am over my MacBook Air and in the finder here, in the ‘Finder' Window, I can see on the left that got devices, that's got* other things like say, ‘ iDisk'. But I also have ‘Remote Disc' that appears there, both these missing from the same network. So the ‘Air' or the Mac [xx]* these remote discs. I selected and I can see that under the ‘Remote Disc' I have got my computer there. I will double click it to go in there and, it will have a little thing here in the upper right. You can see right there ‘Ask to use' and yes, I will ‘Ask to use' that. Now, if I switch back over to my Mac Pro, I can see here I've got this dialog box window here that says, 'Gary Rosenzweig' on 'Gary's MacBook Air' would like to use your DVD drive. So I hit ‘Accept'. You can see there I've got the iWork DVD inserted in. So now I'm going to go back to my Air here and you can see it has allowed me to have access to the ‘iWork '09 Install DVD'. I can go into that and will access the drive remotely and there I can see the iWork installed, that's on the optical drive on the other computer on my network. Now one thing you can do is burn a DVD or CD, across the network on another machine. But, there's really no need to do that. Of course if you have a machine and your* iMac with the drive in it, just use that to burn the data. You can copy data across the network and put it in a burned folder there or simply create a disk image instead of burning something using the disk utility and then take that disk image, move it to a machine that has a drive and burn the disk image using disk utility. So there's the look at sharing CDs and DVDs across your Macs comes in very handy now with the new MacBook Airs and MacMinis. And of course like I said, another really good option is only $79 and you can get yourself an external drive. Perhaps in the future, you might see most Macs without an optical drive use less and less and the $79 option might be the only option for people if they don't happen to have a Mac with an optical drive. Till next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 591: Sharing CDs and DVDs Between Macs”

    Ellen
    8/12/11 @ 3:01 pm

    Perfect timing, Gary. I was wondering how to do this exact thing since we got our mac air.
    Thanks a million

    Susan
    11/2/11 @ 10:38 am

    Is it possible to share CDs and DVDs between Macs other than the MacBook Air? I have a MacBook Pro with a temperamental DVD drive and I would like it to be able to access disks on my other (newer) MacBook Pro.
    Thanks,
    Sue

    Phil
    2/16/12 @ 1:53 pm

    I wish it would allow remote burning. The very justification you give for not including burning support could also have been used as an argument against the whole concept of DVD/CD Sharing in the first place. Seems like an oversight to me.

    Kevin
    3/3/12 @ 11:12 am

    Thanks a million Gary. Been trying for ages to work out how to use the remote disc on my Mac Air. Having watched your video, I’m now fully unto speed.

Comments Closed.