Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs Laptop Macs
I've noticed that certain CD and DVDs never jam in my MacBook Pro, while others almost always wind up jammed. It also seemed that culprit discs would only jam if left in for more than a few minutes. My conclusion? Lower quality CDs and DVDs must warp slightly when heated, which causes them to jam in the player.

My solution: Turn off the MacBook Pro, and put it in a cool location for about five minutes. Then eject the CD as soon as the OS starts up. This has worked every time for me.

[robg adds: I've probably only ever had a few discs stuck in any of the Mac portables I've owned over the years, so I'm posting this as not only a hint but also a call for comments: are jammed discs somewhat common, and I've just been lucky to miss out on this problem? Or is this possibly a sign of a misaligned drive or other hardware related issue? Please share if you have additional information...]
    •    
  • Currently 2.30 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (10 votes cast)
 
[38,884 views]  

One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs | 26 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: skigil on Aug 02, '07 07:48:44AM

Rob, I'm with you. I've only seen a few discs stuck in the drive before. Most of them were due to hardware failure, but I will say that back in the OS 9 days, every-once-in-a-while I would have to hold down the mouse to get my disk out on a reboot.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: deviantintegral on Aug 02, '07 07:53:02AM

I had this problem on my old 12" PowerBook. The disc was misaligned and was being blocked by the top felt protector of the drive. Thin pliers eventually got it out.

Also had this problem with a 20" intel iMac in one of our university labs. The solution was to pick up the iMac, CD drive facing the ground, and to slowly shake while ejecting.

I've always liked how Apple has standardized on slot-loading drives, as tray drives on laptops always seem to be the first thing to break. But now, I'm not sure that they're actually any more reliable.

--Andrew



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: ClunkClunk on Aug 02, '07 08:30:29AM

I work at a local Mac repair shop, and I see jammed discs fairly often. Usually they're related to someone using Mini-DVDs which are only to be used in tray loading optical drives.

However, I do see a few portable Macs guilty of getting stuck with normal CDs and DVDs, primarily first revision MacBook Pros and first revision MacBooks. Perhaps it's due to the fact that they're the first ones to use the super slim DVD drives, and later revisions have worked out the problems due to engineering changes on Apple's end.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: chrisjniles on Aug 02, '07 08:32:11AM

My mother and brother both have new iMacs, I have a MacBook and used to have an iBook, and my wife has an iBook. In the three+ years that we have had all of these slot loading optical drives, I have never seen a disc get stuck. Ever.

But, it is nice to have some recommendations in case it ever does.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: Svenito on Aug 02, '07 08:36:03AM

I had one (DVD) stuck a few days back. Somehow the entire system hung during playback leaving me no other choice than to hard reset and eject the disc at boot time. The disc ejected fine but then my macbook pro (new model) hung at bootup.
I tried several times until I booted into single user mode and noticed the disc was still mounted... I then simply typed 'reboot' and luckily everything was ok. It must have unmounted the disc when rebooting from single user mode.

I also used to get DVD-Rs stuck in my iMac a lot, but mostly the same brand (Datawrite). And these discs also caused problems during disc writes as well. Probably best to avoid BTW



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: myneid on Aug 02, '07 08:51:31AM

yea my 13" macbook always gets disks stuck.
first time i ruined the dvd trying to get it out then i read the hint to use a piece of cardboard which is what i usually do.
i really only use the slot to rip my movies so there are some that i just cannot rip ever.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: boredzo on Aug 02, '07 09:12:10AM

You don't even need to wait for the OS to start up. As soon as you press the power button, start holding down the (physical, not virtual) trackpad button. When it goes to search for startup disks (or boot the one you set in Startup Disk), it will eject all removable media, including CDs and DVDs.

This goes all the way back to the Mac 128.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Not quite that old
Authored by: mustang_dvs on Aug 02, '07 12:54:42PM
The 'hold-down mouse button to eject insert-able media' trick only dates back to the introduction of Open Firmware.

Prior to that, you needed a paper clip or to press the physical button on the drive before the OS booted.

As for the Mac 128k, you're probably thinking of the behavior that you would encounter when booting a Macintosh with a non-system disk in the floppy drive: it would eject at the Happy Mac.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not quite that old
Authored by: delight1 on Aug 04, '07 09:35:10AM

i had an old power mac running 7.5.1 (and one that ran 7.5.5 before that), the BOTH could eject discs on boot. and i don't think open firmware was being used back when macs were in two pieces and lacking usb ports XP



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: stephenhart on Aug 02, '07 09:27:55AM

In almost four years of use, we've never had a disc jam in our PowerBook G4. That use includes watching full-length commercial DVDs with the PowerBook sitting on a flat, unventilated surface.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: kyngchaos on Aug 02, '07 10:11:58AM

Ever since I sent my MacBook (1st model) in for repair for other problems a month ago, discs usually get stuck and it takes a few tries to eject.

I've been too lazy to take it back in (don't want to be without it for days AGAIN), so I found a take-apart guide and ripped the MacBook apart. I found one corner of the drive screwed down in the wrong order, so the drive was higher off the bottom than it should be.

But fixing that didn't help. I can see that it is still hitting the upper edge of the disc slot on the case. It may be the combination of heat and a misalignment of the drive in the case. I need to take it apart again to see if there is anything else I can do. Otherwise I might buy a replacement drive of the newer version that's in the current MacBooks (including dual-layered burning). Powerbook Medic sells them.

While the heat thing may be (a part of) the problem, shutting down the Mac so the disc can cool is only an emergency solution.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: robdern on Aug 02, '07 11:08:29AM

Major pain dept.: The disk drive of Titanium G4 PowerBook has always jammed for almost all CD's or DVD's. I could worry it out with a knife, risking the CD.
Here's the correct foolproof sequence:
Press Command-e. Quickly tilt the PB onto its front edge with the slot sticking out over the tabletop. As the drive strains to eject the disk, quickly bump the edge of the PB on the table at just the right moment while intoning the magic words, "COME ON OUT YOU %&#@*&, GET THE &%$#% OUTTA THERE!." A half inch of the disk comes out, but suddenly it will hesitate. In a flash grab hold of the edge with your fingertips and squawk, "GOTCHA, YOU %$&#-er!" If you miss any part of the sequence, esp. the flash part, it goes back in and remounts.
"Mom, what's wrong with Daddy?"
"Nothing, sweetie, he's just ejecting a disk from his laptop."



[ Reply to This | # ]
No Problems in Iraq
Authored by: mork29 on Aug 02, '07 11:27:29AM

I've been using my MBP for 3 months in Iraq. During the day, temperatures can exceed 120. I'm also playing alot of really cheaply made disks that the locals sell. So far, I haven't had a single problem, despide these harsh conditions.

So, I can't say for sure that heat has much to do with it, although hardware will always vary between models....



[ Reply to This | # ]
Stuck 'naughty' discs common?
Authored by: bronxred on Aug 02, '07 11:34:35AM

I have only had a couple discs get stuck in my slot-loading PowerBook. The first one I couldn't dislodge myself forced me to take my 'Book to the Genius Bar for help. Just as the Genius was about to walk off to their back room (presumably to use whatever secret methods they use to pry stuck discs out those damn slots), I gingerly warned him that it was a 'naughty' disc. He said not to worry, that that was actually very common (haha). I'm guessing it may be because of the quality of disc used.

In any case, he gave me a suggestion on how to get them out in the future...it was something he tried right in front of me that didn't work then but worked for me on other discs. There is a command to eject the disc in Open Firmware, so if you boot into that and issue this command (sorry I don't remember it but found it easily by googling), you have a better chance of ejecting your stuck discs. I haven't had any discs get stuck that I couldn't get out since then. It helps that there are fewer and fewer reasons to use discs at all these days. =]



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: Ross T on Aug 02, '07 02:51:06PM

Just this week my 1st gen MBP started having trouble ejecting disks. It was sitting on a Griffin Elevator, which tilts the MacBook forward. When I held the MacBook level, the disks ejected normally.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: borisbad on Aug 02, '07 08:38:59PM

My Intel MacBook developed problems ejecting DVDs... it became progressively worse ... all sorts of DVDs had problems, normal netflix stuff and xxx ... 2 weeks short of a year after buying the Macbook, one naughty DVD got stuck .... next day a trip to the local Genius bar .... they replaced the DVD and the "logic board" which I later learned is the entire motherboard in this notebook .... the DVD was in the new drive .... bought Applecare to get 2yrs warranty extension .... these DVD drives do seem to wear .... looks like I am not the only one who has had problems



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: ikioi on Aug 02, '07 10:01:02PM

I had a powerbook G4 for two years and I've had my MacBook Pro now for a year and a half. Once in a blue moon, one of them wouldn't eject a disk because the OS didn't want to unmount it, but I've never had a disk that failed to eject because it was physically stuck or blocked (as far as I can remember).



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: drmacnut on Aug 02, '07 11:38:53PM

First of all, thanks to *Robert Dern* for his very entertaining comment (above) - it made me smile really wide!

Now here's how I approach all stuck disc problems in my own PPC Macs and in those of my clients. (You can't use this hint for Intel-based Macs).

On startup, I go into Open Firmware (hold Command-Option-O-F). Then I use the "eject cd" command to get the disk drawer open (same command will close it after), or to spit the disc out of a slot-loader. I have had to use Robert's bang-tap method once in a while to help the situation, but I don't like to do that for fear of HD damage.

Note to experimenters: Do not mess with Open Firmware. Just eject the disc and then type "shut-down" or "mac-boot" depending on what you want to have happen.

Thanks again to Robert for the laughs.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: Stelex on Aug 03, '07 02:22:43AM
I had some success with a piece of cardboard, and seems that this worked for many others.

http://silvermac.com/2006/dvd-stuck-in-macbook-pro/

[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: Stelex on Aug 03, '07 02:24:46AM
I had some success with a piece of cardboard, and seems that this worked for many others.

http://silvermac.com/2006/dvd-stuck-in-macbook-pro/

[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: dwf on Aug 03, '07 08:16:37AM

I had a big problem with my iBook G4 jamming almost every disc, but I think that was the case's fault rather than the discs themselves. My solution: use a plastic pen cap from a Bic pen, insert the part that is used to clip a pen to your shirt pocket just slightly into the gap, and then rotate it in order to prop the gap open a little further. Worked every time and never caused any damage (the pen caps got a little worn though).



[ Reply to This | # ]
Sometimes there's a screw loose
Authored by: Johan Edstrom on Aug 03, '07 01:23:38PM

I have seen PB G4s loosing one screw holding the DVD/CD drive. This screw has then blocked the slot of the drive since it's stuck between the drive and the slot. This screw can be removed with tweezers but since the drive is loose you really need to take the machine apart and re-fit the screw. Otherwise the drive will be misaligned to the slot causing further problems.

Force ejecting on start up by holding down mouse click or pad click takes care of most stuck CD's and DVD's.

---
Johan Edstrom



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: Dash_Merc on Aug 03, '07 07:47:40PM

Unusual solution here:

My MacBook likes to (only with certain CDs) make a grinding noise as the CD comes to a complete stop due to friction. After much toying around (including the occasionally successful restart-and-hold-down-mouse-button thing mentioned in the "manual," I tried holding my laptop upside-down while pressing (and holding, now) the eject button. It usually works for me.

Now if I could just get my computer to stop thinking every other blank CD-r is already written to.

---
-Dash



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: houston on Aug 06, '07 07:26:39AM

I find that my 12 powerbook always has problems with jamming discs, this is with every type of disctoo. I put it down to the heat problem as it is a small, but highly overworked powerbook.



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: K&K on Feb 27, '10 10:49:36PM

Me and my friend decided to take my sisters mac book pro and watch a movie on it.( not a good idea) we inserted the CD and it started to make repeating ejecting noises. We freaked out and didn't know what the heck to do. We tried turning it off throwing it at the wall...anything you could possibly think of. So my smart friend decided to look it up on the internet. Your post was first on the list. So we read it...and we put the computer in the refrigerator for 4 min.( we felt pretty darn stupid at this point) those were the longest 4 min. of our lives!!! Finally it was time to take the computer out of the refrigerator. We turned the computer on and heard the noises once again then pressed eject hoping it would work. Finally the noise stopped. Our stomachs lurched. Right in front of our eyes...THE CD POPPED OUT!!! so we decided to become a member and comment on your post. YOU SAVED OUR LIVES!!! WE



[ Reply to This | # ]
One solution to jammed discs in laptop Macs
Authored by: JosephDaniel on Sep 05, '12 01:14:55AM

First, I would like to express my surprise that Apple hasn’t devoted more attention to this as a known problem which is pervasive with the G4 Powerbook. Second, I would like to express my sympathy for all those who have gone to great lengths to solve this problem doing things like resetting their PRAM and even replacing their internal CD/DVD drive only to see the problem recur.

From my analysis, it appears the CD eject problem with the Powerbook is entirely mechanical in nature. When the CD is inserted, one thing that happens to secure the disk is a metal tab circles around the front and holds the disk securely in place. You don’t see this because it happens behind the felt-like dust shield. Outside that shield the CD slot housing is formed by molded plastic and the top lip of that shield is rather thin. Although I’m sure the designers believed that this plastic lip would remain true and straight, this is not always the case. Whatever the cause, this lip can become gradually warped and bow downward to constrict the opening of the CD slot. But the real problem with ejection is that the moving part which is the metal retention tab mentioned earlier fails to get out of the way and release the disk, so the disk never even gets the chance to bump into the lip and be retracted back. But the warped lip may be connected to this problem, by producing a constriction pressure on the front of the mechanism that is enough to stop the retention tab from doing its job.

The solution I discovered is that whereas the upper lips has warped downward, it is malleable with tensile memory and can also be warped back upward. A good way to do this is to use pieces from a super cheap carpentry item called a “shim” at the point where this gradually wedged piece of wood or plastic is 1/8” thick. That is the correct slot opening. Cut three pieces of shim at the 1/8” point and leave them gently wedged in the slot at three points for a while. In as little as 15 minutes the slot will retain a wider opening, and if left in overnight it will retain its shape longer. With the slot opening “healed” I have found the disk will eject, revealing that the problem may not be so much with the drive as with what the warped lip does to the drive.



[ Reply to This | # ]