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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive Other Hardware
I had the very unpleasant experience of a DVD drive seemingly dead with a DVD inside: I inserted a DVD in the drive, but it didn't mount and I couldn't eject it. I restarted the Mac while pressing the mouse button down (both the track pad and then a USB mouse). Nothing. I restarted again and pressed Command-O-F followed by eject cd. Nothing. More worrying: System Information wouldn't see the DVD drive at all. I restarted several times with no more luck. It looked like it was the end of the DVD drive, right?

Wrong. I just had to put the Mac to sleep by closing the lid of the laptop. When I woke it up, the drive woke up as well, the DVD appeared, and I was able to eject it. I thought this hint, albeit totally straightforward, would be useful because I was very close to running to the nearest Mac support store. I would never have believed that putting the Mac to sleep could be the solution! I'd be interested in any rational explanation of this behavior.

[robg adds: Note that this is a different issue than this one, which dealt with discs stuck in optical drives. In this case, the media's not stuck, it's as if the drive itself has vanished from existence. Similar to the last hint, though, I've not had this happen to me, and would be curious to know if others have had their drive seemingly vanish.]
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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive | 13 comments | Create New Account
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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: ghlbtsk on Aug 07, '07 07:51:21AM

I had this situation with my old G4 MDD tower, except it was highly erratic. Since a reboot would usually solve it, I dealt with it for a few years. After one extended episode where it couldn't find the drive in either OS X or OS 9, though, I decided to open up the case and see if there was a loose cable somewhere. It turned out that the ATA cable had been partially sliced by the little metal door this G4 model had, and replacing the cable cleared up the problem for good. This seems less likely in a laptop, but it probably can't be ruled out, either.

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: hunterhicks on Aug 07, '07 07:55:04AM

This happens to me a lot- especially when ripping DVDs- something happens, the drive disappears, the ripping program hangs, and if I try to eject the DVD (sometimes still shows in the finder) the finder hangs and I have to hold the power button down for 5 seconds to kill the machine. Force quitting, etc. does not work. I'm using an NEC 7150, and it seems to be finicky. Quite annoying really. Restarting sometimes does not help- you have to turn off the machine, then turn it back on. This is on a dual 1ghrz quicksilver.

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: Erik9999 on Aug 07, '07 09:53:08AM

This happens constantly on my intel MacMini. Drive just goes away. Restart will not fix it. I have to unplug it for a while (sometimes days) in order for it to return. Zapping PRAM and resetting PMU SMC does not work at all either. I will try the sleep thing next time it happens.

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sleep coerces 'lost' internal dvd drives (on laptop) to re-appear | USB non-ASAS drives R flaky
Authored by: zahadum on Aug 07, '07 06:32:52PM

i havent tried the sleep option - because i am scared to death i will suffer a one of notorious hang-on-wake situations - so i will have to wait until i dont have anything important enqueued to test this hint.

however, i can confirm that the 'disappearing' dvd problem occurs on ppc mini's as well - among other macs; the problem can also be one of 'lock-out- where the device seems to be registered in disk util / sys profile / finder / etc .... but cant be accessed.

but a restart is not always required.

for external drives, re-connecting the usb cable will often force the usb system driver / disk arbitration mechanism to reinitialize itself.

however, there is another related problem that effects both internal & external drives and does absolutely require a restart: sometimes the dvd drive stutters; video playback is halting and jittery; and data access is atrocious (a 45 _minute_ RIP can take 10-20 *HOURS*) ... especially if two instances of MTR are running, with different user privileges - as the wonderful sudo tool Pseudo allows one to do.

often this access problem seems to be a resource contention conflict when two or more apps try to access the same device (eg dvd player; mactheripper; handbrake - sometimes even just momentary polling will set off the lock-up ... this cascade of death is just one of the many, special 'gotchas' that osx inflicts on us) ... the indispensable telemetry tool fseventer (sweet!) shows that there is a loop back to a file (dvd.css, i think) which is part of the jam.

side-note: obviously apple has failed to design a graceful IO arbitration API .. however this should not be a surprise since it is part of the same pattern that cut R&D in half when Jobs returned to apple ... it is but more fall-out from the bone-headed decision to ditch os/x's original, sturdy driver model - built in objectiveC - in favour of the ludicrously brittle C++ api - which consequently deprives of us *true* plug'n'play ... it took more than a decade for linux kiddies to catchup with the elegance of OSF/2 - which died out when compaq killed the DEC Alpha; whilst in the same timeframe, apple just threw away the only other (commercially viable) robust driver model for no corresponding benefit. ALL HAIL THE GENUIS STEVE JOBS.

as indicated, this jam up can effect internal & external drives; and sometimes re-initializing the (usb) external device will not set things right - only a restart will clear the decks ....

this is profoundly intrusive if one has other mission-critical work which is mid-way through some heavy-duty crunching (that dont arent created with the ability to serialize an intermediate pause/resume mode --- I AM LOOKING AT YOU, COREDATA!).

so, one is forced to do with out dvd drive access for a day or more while waiting for a production run to finish ... or else one is forced to endure long RIP's (did i mention 10-20 hours?!) as the only way to offload the data on to a dasd for smooth playback.

this penalty is clearly unacceptable.

apple should be ashamed at shipping a platform with first-order gremlins throughout the system: driver disasters (the dvd lock-up; wobbly usb bluetooth; etc etc); network nightmares (the cascade of death); and filesystem fandango's (the famous err-36) .... not to mention a Finder that is STILL _broken_ after 10 years!!

in addition to the appalling lack of basic engineering practice at apple - WTF happened to UML?! - there is an equally shoddy approach to QA at apple (no surprised that SDL isnt not SOP!).

my guess is that this dvd jamming situation is NOT the (singular) result of not using a drive which isnt ASAS (apple shipped & supported) - the 'lost' internal drive is a good clue about the disappearance being endemic!

my guess is that apple just doesnt give a damn ...

want more proof of apple's systemic indifference to device management? .... just look at how pathetic the telemetry is for disk utility when trying to unmount a recalcitrant drive: you will receive a vague & useless message 'device cant be unmounted because it is in use by another app' .... the culprit is process NEVER named (so that it can be wrestled with); nor is the _mistakenly_ unclosed file identified (again, just a hint would be sufficient to help manual intervention); nor is there an over-ride command to force a dismount (perhaps with an authentication required to give the less sophisticated user a chance to rethink the consequences).

Telemetry and os/x are an oxymoron .... and the exception proves the rule! - it is unfathomable, though most welcome, that XRAY is in leopard's tool-chain (alas, while DTrace did make it over from solaris, the other gem from SUN -ZFS - kinda sorta got left behind, perhaps part of the overall schedule slip of leopard).

leopard should have been the occasion to fix all this shabbiness: osx needs a central device manager thatis as coherent as the Launchd approach is to process management (i should be able coerce any device to be unloaded - thinking along the same lines as what the dismount kext command _hints_ at being able to do ... again, sadly, linux actually has a full implemtation but osx does not).

but that aint gonna happen ... cuz ... apple just doesnt give a damn.

mailto:osxinfo _at_

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: boltar on Aug 08, '07 06:06:52AM
My Intel Mac Mini lost the DVD drive a few months ago. It took multiple restarts for the machine to find the drive again --- more like spinning a roulette wheel than a reliable solution.

I tried rebooting into Windows (via BootCamp) to solve the problem, but Windows couldn't see the drive either. I suspect this is a hardware problem, or that the Boot Camp driver has the same bug that the OS X driver does.

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: tom larkin on Aug 08, '07 07:03:45PM

I find actually just hitting the manual eject button even easier, and it works every time.

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: melodrama on Aug 09, '07 04:26:48AM

Looks like zahadum might need to go back on the medication.
I used to have this problem (insert disk -> not mounted on desktop, drive not listed in system profiler, eject button not working, open firmware not ejecting) intermittently on a PowerBook G4 with combo drive. Shutting down, gentle shake, firm words and a bit of aromatherapy would usually fix it. I always assumed a loose connection in the hardware somewhere. Then just as mysteriously, the problem vanished. Hasn't occurred for over a year now. I thought that maybe a system update somewhere along the line had fixed the problem.

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive | where r my meds?
Authored by: zahadum on Aug 16, '07 04:00:15PM


yes, u r correct.

i should accept that technology is just really good magic: so my problem isnt that apple is trying to trick me but rather that i am foolish enough to want to know how the trick works!

so i followed your advise: i broke out some candles, started chanting, and surrendered to the reality distortion field.

of course this didnt actually solve the real problem, but it made me feel much better about being the abject, helpless peon of our beloved overlord, his Steveness.

so maybe this is better than meds?

mailto:osxinfo _at_

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: peterholdn on Oct 21, '07 08:15:14PM

Has anyone found a fix for this. It just started happening to me -- immediately on the installation of the new firmware update on my Intel mac pro. Actually, it was even worse - neither drive would play a DVD without stuttering, but it seems that deleting every preference I could find that even remotely had anything to do with DVDs seemed to help the playback problem - when the computer can see it at all.

Failing a solution, does anyone know a reference to a complete list of DVD and/or drive preferences that I could try deleting/ fixing?

Relax, it's only ones and zeroes.

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: talus on Dec 15, '07 01:39:23PM

I haven't got a real solution but I have the same problem on my Intel Mini. I have noticed that switching to another user account tends to make the offending disk visible.

I would love a real solution to this issue if anyone has anything to offer?

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Sometimes a Mechanical Fix is the Only Way
Authored by: Mike Perry on Dec 29, '07 05:19:12PM

My PPC Mac mini refused to respond to any of the software tricks I could find online for getting it to eject a DVD. It wasn't seeing my optical drive, so it saw no need to eject anything from it. Grrrrrrr.....

Finally, despairing of any other answer, I took off the Mac mini case, removed five tiny screws holding on the metal plate at the top of the CD/DVD drive, and simply lifted the troublesome DVD out. It proved far easier than I'd thought.

Yes, it seems a bit drastic, but since I'd already spent several hours trying various software fixes that didn't work, this 15-minute, guaranteed-to-work procedure was marvelous.

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: skypilota72 on Jan 14, '09 09:20:49AM

Perhaps a completely different issue, but the story continues....

My MacPro had both of its Optiarc SuperDrives (AD7170A) fail to burn but would read. Via Apples DIY program, they sent me replacements which was another Optiarc and a Pioneer DVR-112D.

The replaced Optiarc failed to read or burn, but the Pioneer worked flawlessly in everything on all media. I have spoken to Apple and they are again replacing the failed part, but they cannot guarantee the replacement won't be another Optiarc which they KNOW to have problems.

As a Video Editor, my selection of hardware is based on quality and up-time stability. This was why I shelled out 15,000 on a MacPro with all the bells and whistles. Seems running Adobe was no different on my Windows machine versus my new experience with the Mac.

If I get an Optiarc drive again, I will just go out and buy another Pioneer and be done with Steve's smoke and mirror show....

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Force the system to find a 'lost' optical drive
Authored by: beeyoot on Mar 03, '10 06:04:25PM

I know its late to the game - but this happens often... What's always worked for me is to launch Toast, set it to do a Disc Copy - it will recognize the disc in the drive either as a good or bad disc, but in either case it will allow you to click 'eject' in Toast - and the held disc ejects...

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