External DVD player for Linux

I ordered a cheap DVD player for my Dell Latitude E5570 laptop running Ubuntu 20.04 but it didn’t work. It wasn’t even recognised by VLC or the file manager and the df command did not list it.

I tried it on another laptop (Lenovo T500) running Ubuntu 18.04 and on a desktop (Asus P6) running MX (Debian) and they didn’t see it either. So I returned it to eBay.

I thought I would try a slighty more expensive player (OK, only £22) and that wasn’t recognised by any of my computers either.
These things are supposed to be plug-&-play and Ubuntu has been very good in that respect until now. What am I doing wrong – if anything? All suggestions would be received gratefully.


I bought an external DVD player for my old IBM Thinkpad. I’ve just tried it on my desktop and it was a bit of a fight to get it working. It didn’t show up anywhere to start with. Then I ran my configuration manager and set it to mount removable drives, to mount removable media, and to brouse removable media. After logging out and in again, still nothing. I used Thunar to look at the computer and it now listed a second optical drive. Then I inserted a disk, waited for the little light to stop flashing, and I clicked on the entry in Thunar. It sprung into life! So, I’m not entirely sure what I did, other than reconfiguring the OS and making sure that there was actually a disk in the drive.