Rant: No, I didn't delete it, someone else did, it's a long story. I'm hoping to get happy (or at least functioning) ending! Really, all my stuff was gone for a while, but with a lot of trouble I was able to get most of it back. The whole process was frustrating and as much as I've tried to avoid it, life would be a lot easier if my laptop could play DVDs again.
The basic question: Does anyone know how I can get my DVD decoder back on my laptop?
Yes, but ... I had a similar problem where I had to replace my hard drive and used the recovery disks that I paid extra for when I ordered my system from Dell. The Recovery Disks did not include any of the software applications on them and did not contain an image of the factory conditions. They only contained the Windows operating system and for some reason the operating system that they sent, didn't contain the DVD Encoder. My system is an older system, so it only is Win XP. But when you actually went and bought a Win XP disk someplace, it includes the encoder, so it appears Dell sent me an incomplete version of the Win XP. I can now no longer play DVDs on the computer at all and have tried installing several Video Players with no luck on getting things working. I have also installed a Codec pack too and no luck that way either.