At this point I'm just exploring my options, but this thread is leading me to believe that I might need a replacement drive.
I would greatly prefer external drives to internal drives, as I'm not comfortable enough with hardware to want to risk messing up my computer trying to install a new internal drive, and service fees for computer work often equal or exceed the cost of the new parts anyways.
I looked around a little, and this one seems solid:
But I'm not really that knowledgeable with hardware, so I'm posting here to get some more informed views as to good potential replacements. I'd greatly prefer ones around the same price point or lower. If it's a little higher than 50 USD that's fine, but I don't want to spend a large amount of money on a replacement drive. Being able to read DVDs is more important to me than being able to write them, though since most of them I've seen in that range can read and write I might as well go for both. There is little need for CD burning, as my current drive can still do that. If it happens to offer CD burning, great but if not, no big deal, and it's not worth paying extra for something I already have.