The Blog

Jan 13, 2008

CD/DVD Stuck in MacBook Pro 

by Maxim Porges @ 8:50 PM | Link | Feedback (0)

We've owned seven Apple laptops in my immediate family, and I have only had this happen twice - but it happened again tonight.

I've been importing all of my CD collection in to iTunes so that I can put it away in to storage once and for all, and to speed things up I'm doing half on my MacBook Pro and the other half on my old Quicksilver G4 tower. I got through about 120 CDs, and then came back to my MBP to find it had a CD stuck in the drive.

Those of you who have experienced this before know how annoying this is. The drive basically just makes a noise like it's ejecting, struggles a bit, and then remounts the disk. Last time this happened, it was with the CFUNITED 2006 CD, and all I had to do was hold my MBP upside down with the CD drive pointing at a slight downward angle to get it out (although it took me a few days to figure it out). Sean Corfield had the exact same problem with the exact same computer and CD media from CFUNITED.

This time, that trick wasn't working. I dug around in Google a bit and found that some people had had success by holding the CD drive pointing toward you at a 45 degree angle (facing you as if you were going to type on the keyboard). I tried that, but the CD was still stuck. I tried sliding a business card through the slot to "guide" the CD out, but that didn't work either.

Finally, I tried the 45 degree angle thing again, but holding the computer somewhere between 30 degrees and 45 degrees. Finally, the CD popped out - actually, my Mac spat it out at speed like it had really wanted to get it out, which was kind of amusing.

One of the articles I found suggests that CDs or DVDs that are warped are likely to get stuck. This makes perfect sense, of course. I took the offending CD and laid it on my glass desk, and sure enough, it was bowed upwards so that the center of the disk was about 2-3mm above the flat surface. So, once again, this problem was media-related rather than a hardware issue per se.

Even so, it's a pretty stupid problem to have. There is no manual method for ejecting the discs if they get stuck on my MBP model, so I'm basically rolling the dice every time I stick a CD in there. It would be nice if Apple provided drives that either had slightly higher clearance, or some way to force eject manually if something gets stuck. Again, this has happened twice in seven Macs over the course of three years, so it's an edge case, but a very annoying one nonetheless.