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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Problem ejecting a cd from iMac

Problem ejecting a cd from iMac
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Jul 27, 2011, 08:47 PM
I have been struggling for the last couple of days to eject a cd from my iMac. I have gone through the restart process holding down the mouse on reboot more than a dozen times on 4 occasions over the last two days. Exactly the same thing happens each time.

About 10 groan groans then a sheathing sound which is usually the sound I hear when a cd is about to emerge from the slot, but then it sounds like it gets sent, instead back to the cd play/record head seating.

For the most part of these processes, the cd has only recently shown up as an icon on my desktop. Perhaps interestingly this only happened after waking the machine from sleep mode when the "Open Finder" dialog appeared for the first time and gave me the opportunity to click "ok"!

It thus shows in the Finder as a recordable cd ready to burn, but there is nothing in it to burn.
Back at the point I was at when the issue first emerged was when I had attempted to burn a list of 650mg mp3 music tracks as I had just done with the previous cd.

Presently I run the latest iteration of Snow Leopard (10.6.8) and had only recently updated iTunes to 10.4, and had just successfully burnt 4 c.d.'s. However it was he fifth cd, which was identical in size to the previous cd. All of the cd's were were from a fresh pack of cd's purchased the day before from Office Works.

My machine is three and half years old and am thus 6 months beyond warranty.

I searched for mac 'os x dvd won't eject' with this result.

The terminal command prompt offered "drutil eject" - came to nil !!

After I wake the computer from sleep mode it goes through the Restart run - a series of about 10 clicks then a sheathing sound followed by the sound it makes when the cd makes as it loads into position !!

It's just that every now and again without prompting the computer re runs that Restart routine
its rather annoying -

So unless anyone has any further suggestions, I guess it looks like an expensive trip to the repair shop ?
Clinically Insane
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Jul 27, 2011, 09:12 PM
Sounds like either the metal bezel or crossbar around the drive is bent enough that it's too tight for the DVD to eject, or, the eject motor is failing.

Either way, it needs to be fixed. How do you feel about doing it yourself? I've fixed iMacs and MacBook DVD drives before just by following these repair manuals. Often it's easier than you think, just keep track of the screws. I use little dixie cups and number them. If it's just a bent cross bar, you just have to bend it the other direction and it'll work fine.

Mac Repair - iFixit

The other thing is it could just be stuck. Once you remove the outer cover of the iMac, you can manually press the eject mechanism on the drive to get the disc out.
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porrid  (op)
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Jul 27, 2011, 10:38 PM
Thank you but due to physical disabilities, I'm not going to do that myself.

Right now I'm moreso thinking of getting a repair person to disable the drive and buy an external DVD drive - but I think I read something somewhere recently that that won't work for iMacs ?

The reason I'm thinking this way is sharing with you the history of the dysfunctions of my machine -

During the 3 year warranty period I had the misfortune of having to have the DVD drive replaced by a home visiting Apple service repairman, no less than 16 times. The technician confirmed with me on his 10th visit that the machine itself must be faulty. Through his suggestion I contacted the Apple Customer Service Manager of Australia to see if it were possible to order a replacement machine. On each of the few occasions I did this the ACSM asserted that no the DVD will be successfully replaced. Which it was but then each replaced DVD continued to fail, until the very last time around 12 months ago, I was at last surprised by a successful drive. On the very last replacement the technician replaced a few wires and switches, and went to extraordinary number of tests after installation.

So, even if I go to the trouble of repairing it now - how long do you think I've got before I have to go through this again ?

Coincidentally I and a friend bought our machines the same time from a now closed local Apple hardware shop, just now called, reporting her DVD drive is making big scratches on burnt disks upon leaving the transport making the resulting burnt disks are unplayable.

Thank you for for reading and suggesting.
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Jul 28, 2011, 12:22 AM
Depending on model, try a paper clip in the side / small hole adjacent to the CD drive.


which I believe you've already tried.

"There used to be a tiny hole next to the CD slot, in which you could insert this.
Ever since the "original 2nd gen iMac" (1st gen slot loading), where this hole was no longer present, but a paper clip still works in the very outer corner of the slot.

Credit card or other cd manipulation in the slot ?

Apple store may be able to help, physically.
( Last edited by MacNNUK; Jul 28, 2011 at 12:29 AM. )

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porrid  (op)
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Jul 28, 2011, 02:56 AM
No such hole exists in the machine I own, the slot itself is like a pair of closed lips.

During some of the visits the Apple technician made he used a thin bladed knife to try on one or two occasions successfully slide a disc out. But warned me not try this myself, which I dare not, for fear of damaging something else.

Thanks for trying to think of something.
Clinically Insane
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Jul 28, 2011, 03:41 AM
It's really dumb to have a physical optical drive that lacks a pin hole eject. I guess Apple will fix that soon enough by getting rid of them.

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Jul 28, 2011, 04:13 AM
How far out of warranty are you?

16 on site repairs is usually way more than enough for Apple to just replace the whole machine. I'd give Applecare a ring if I were you, lay it on thick and see what you can get out of them.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
porrid  (op)
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Jul 28, 2011, 07:44 AM
Almost 6 months, ok, thanks I will, but I suppose I'll have to think stronger than the loaded pessimism that exists about the ozzie arm of applecare. In the mean time though I wish could stop the disconcerting faulty drives occasional groans, grunts and clicks!!!!
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Jul 28, 2011, 08:33 AM
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
It's really dumb to have a physical optical drive that lacks a pin hole eject. I guess Apple will fix that soon enough by getting rid of them.
Agreed. This has always been one of my biggest annoyances with Apple computers. I have three friends with discs stuck in a slot drive. Even when they *had* the pin eject buttons, they were always hidden inside the slot drives and one had to know the secret to pop them out.
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Jul 28, 2011, 12:02 PM
When you eventually get the optical disk out, you may want to get an external optical drive.

You have 2 choices: buy an already assembled optical drive or put one together.

You could probably get a friend to assemble the kit for you, it's dead simple (an external 5.25" firewire/usb enclosure plus a Pioneer optical drive, both from newegg.com)
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