Eject a Stuck Disk from your Mac DVD Super Drive

Aug 28, 2009 - 51 Comments

eject icon for a stuck disk A friend of mine that is new to Macs couldn’t figure out how to get a CD to eject, after some frustration he then complained that his MacBook doesn’t have the paperclip hole to forcibly eject a disc from the superdrive. After some discussion I realized he’s probably not alone in his confusion of how eject a stuck disk on a Mac, so here’s a few different ways to do it, ranging from easy to more advanced. If a disk is still stuck in the drive after these methods have been exhausted, you may have an actual hardware problem.

How to Eject a Stuck Disk from a Mac

The first thing to do is try the four easy Mac disk eject methods described in the next few steps, each of these is intended to trigger the ejection mechanism of a superdrive / DVD drive on the Mac computer. You may not need to complete all four methods, or you may need to jump ahead to the advanced section below if you’re continuing to have troubles.

1) Press and hold the Eject key on your keyboard for 5-10 seconds, it looks like the above icon in this post. This should trigger the manual eject mechanism.

2) Next, right-click (control-click) on the disks icon on the Desktop and select “Eject” from the contextual menu

3) Drag the disks icon to the Trash bin within the Dock will eject disks as well.

4) Selecting the disk icon upon the desktop, then hit “Command-E” on the keyboard

The disk should eject with one of those steps, but if it doesn’t you can also try the methods described below. These are a bit more advanced, involving applications or the command line to manually trigger the ejection routine of the hardware.

Advanced Mac Stuck Disk Ejection Methods

Force Ejecting a Disk with Disk Utility
• Launch Disk Utility and select the CD/DVD from the sidebar. Click the Eject icon at the top of the Disk Utility screen, it should pop right out.

Forcibly Ejecting a Disc with the Command Line
• The command line can trigger the disk eject mechanism on Macs that are equipped with SuperDrives and DVD drives. This often works to forcibly push out a stuck CD or DVD from the drive.

To do this, launch the Terminal and type following command:

drutil eject

If the drive is working, you will hear the eject mechanism. Sometimes the stuck disk only partially ejects using this trick, so you’ll want to be ready to pull it out either with fingers or whatever else you feel like safely using.

Force Eject a Disc on Boot
Another trick is the force-eject on boot: This is done by restarting your Mac and holding down the mouse button (or trackpad button if you have a laptop) as the system boots. Hold it down until the system boots, again the disk should come out.

In the rare event that I have a stuck disk in my Mac I opt for the Terminal command mentioned above, it hasn’t failed me yet, though the ‘on boot’ method is also usually a guarantee to work assuming the drive itself isn’t broken.

Let us know what works for you in the comments below!

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Posted by: William Pearson in How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

51 Comments

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  1. FroZnShiva says:

    If the disk isn’t willingly to eject you could also try to restart the finder or try [sudo umount -f /Volumes/DISKLABEL] and try ejecting it again, works sometimes too.

  2. pipp says:

    My CD popped out after rebooting and pressing the mousepadbutton as you described but while holding the mousepadbutton I lifted the MacBook in an 45° angle.

    • PKG says:

      DAS HALF SCHLUSSENDLICH!

    • Daniel Rozmiarek says:

      I had a DVD stuck in an iMac and I got it out by holding the mouse button on reboot. Worked great. How did I not know this already?

      • tim grivas says:

        if the disk is not being seen or the you are getting the beach ball and the disc is not being seen then pull the plug for power off
        turn on the power and hold the eject button down until the disc pops out. the imac never gets to mount it and ejects it right away. this works if the disc info is corrupted or making the operating system stall.

    • RJB says:

      Thanks!! This method worked for me after trying everything above!

  3. Aldo Johnson says:

    From Apple:

    UNEVEN EDGE OF THE CD OR DVD

    There are two levers on a slot-loading CD/DVD drive that help center a CD/DVD disc. Some CDs and DVDs have an uneven edge which can cause enough friction to prevent the disc from ejecting.

    If this happens follow these steps:

    1. Take a large paperclip and grasp it with one hand so that about three quarters of an inch, or 18 millimeters, extends beyond your fingers. Insert the paperclip into the CD/DVD slot about 1.5 inches, or 36 millimeters, from the left edge of the slot. See below.

    CD/DVD Slot

    2. With the other hand, drag the disc icon on the desktop to the Trash to force the computer to eject the disc. When you hear the disc attempt to eject, slide the paperclip to the left edge of the slot and then remove the paperclip. You should feel a little resistance from the spring loaded centering lever. See below.

    Paperclip Inserted into the Slot

    3. Once the disc has been successfully ejected, wipe the outside edge of the CD/DVD with your hands. Cleaning the edge of the disc in this way will reduce the likelihood of the disc becoming stuck again.

    • JWY in Leucadia says:

      Wow! This actually worked for me! Most all of the other suggestions were variations on pushing the eject key and I could hear that all of them attempted to eject the disk, which was obviously PHYSICALLY stuck in the drive. But this paperclip trick worked great!

  4. […] from Eject a Stuck Disk from your Mac SuperDrive […]

    • JU.C.Adendorff says:

      I Have tried everything thing possible and will have to replace the cd drive. Probably broken Please advise HOW?

  5. Dudley says:

    I have a DVD currently stuck in my Macbook! I have tried every currently published method to remove it. The disk will play and I have no trouble booting the machine. All of the published methods (pushing Eject/ Mouse button/ Cmd E etc) are just a means to accessing the software eject! even Drutil Eject in Terminal is the same thing! none of them get my disk out I need a physical way to do it without trashing my drive! please help!

    • Ed in Jakarta says:

      Dudley,

      This is a problem that I experienced last year when I was given a couple of sub standard DVD’s (probably pirate). I found by shutting down and leaving my MacPro to cool off for 15-20 minutes and restarting did the trick. The issue is with a sub standard disk it can be slightly thinner than the norm. This results in warping. Thus preventing ejection. Hope this helps.

  6. […] you need to, find out what to do if you have an exceptionally stubborn stuck disk in a Mac DVD drive. If it’s stuck in a portable Mac, learn how to eject a stuck DVD from a MacBook & […]

  7. Neil Murphy says:

    I had this problem and nothing worked. So I tried the reboot. System stopped me sayig windows was running in Parallels. I stopped windows and suddenly the disk became available and I ejected it. I had noticed windows media player launched while the disk was inserted and so guess that somehow windows hijacked it.

  8. greg says:

    I had a similar problem which none of the above fixes worked on. I had a bent drive frame. The front of frame was bent down just enough to prevent the disc from coming out. This required the removal of the drive, bent it back, reinstalled and its worked great ever since.

  9. redactor says:

    2-week-old Mac Pro, 10.6.6 None of the above fixes works in my case, as the computer will not boot with this disk (a Leopard install disk I was using to create a bootable zip drive) in the drive. Without the OS loaded, keyboard commands and so on are not accessible.

    There is nothing bent or damaged; it’s just that the drive spins constantly and without stopping the spin it cannot eject. I’m trying the standby stop-the-DVD-with-a-bit-of-cardboard trick, but it appears that the new Pros have slightly less clearance above the disk surface then my 1st-generation Pro, and I can’t get the angle I need. For this I paid four thousand dollars? Sheesh.

  10. bamnsdfu says:

    thanks Tim Grivas…your suggestion was the only one that worked for me.

    • Tjerk says:

      None of the above tricks worked on mu iMac with OS Lion. Finally a power off / on brought back the disk icon on the desktop so that I could reject normally the disk.
      Apparently a power off/on is different than a reboot in Mac OS Lion.

  11. ruben says:

    hi
    i can not eject of the cd macbook air 13″
    and i have not a key

    • Math says:

      Lucky for you, the MacBook Air 13″ doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive, so you don’t need to eject anything! But the key is F12

  12. windows says:

    This did the trick to me:

    1bis) close all finder windows.

  13. Sara says:

    THANKS!!! the terminal “drutil eject” worked when all else failed on a scratched DVD from the library!

  14. carey g says:

    Option number 3 just worked for me, thanks!

  15. Brian says:

    Had a DVD stuck in my MacBook drive and tried everything. Nothing worked. Was on the point of giving up and going to the Apple store when I decided to try once more and reboot but this time I had the brainwave of holding the thing UPSIDE down. Bingo! Having wasted about an hour trying everything else I was relieved to eventually succeed. Hope this helps where everything else may fail.

  16. Beth says:

    Sweet!! “drutil eject” totally worked!!! *thanks*!!! :D

  17. zipkin162 says:

    If nothing works try this:
    Take two credit cards. First put one of the into the slut while tilting outer end upward. This helps you tilt the inner edge downward. Then slide in maybe quarter or half of it. Take second card and do above actions inverse. The idea is to get the stuck disc by means of two cards used as if a tweezers. Last but not the least while pressing the credit cards pull out the DVD. It would come out very easily. I have tried everything above the took out two Dvds out of my superdrive. The second one forced into while the first one still in there most probably by my lovely daughter

    • jrodes says:

      Thank you sooooooo much for posting. It’s the only method that worked after my wonderful daughter put TWO DVDs in the drive.

      • CCaballero says:

        Many thanks! The credit card method plus a carefully timed >drutil eject
        command did the trick. Two CDs were stuck in there.

  18. Chris says:

    I have an IMAC. I tried restarting and it tried to access the disc (looking to boot from drive I think) in any event, the computer would not reboot so did not have a chance to use some of the methods described in this thread. I stuck a paperclip in the slot kept the disc from spinning when I rebooted. The disc was ejected!

  19. Evan Bench says:

    I had this problem and none of the steps shown fixed it until I realized that the iMac super drive was also mounted inside a virtual machine running on parallels desktop. This caused the DVD to not show up on Finder and would not eject with any ‘normal method’. After unmounting the drive in the virtual host, the drive became visible (and ejectable) in finder!

    • Manas says:

      My situation is similar to yours – the VCD does not show up in Finder and none of the ‘normal methods’ work. How do I find if my iMac superdrive is also mounted inside a virtual machine? I have a partition using Bootcamp for Windows XP, if that has any bearing. How do I unmount the drive from the virtual host?

      Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  20. Ganesh says:

    Great guidance. The disk utility (superdrive EJECT) trick worked beautifully. My CD has been in for over a week, thanks so much :)

  21. Alan Inglis says:

    Disk Utility worked a treat. Many thanks. AI

  22. Amar says:

    My iMac keeps hanging on to the “Apple” Logo and shutting down. I inserted Hardware Check DVD and it got stuck after 2min. So I reboot. Now I cant seem to eject the dvd.

    Help!

  23. Donald says:

    Thanks!
    The terminal command worked for me.

  24. Vince says:

    The terminal option is a good one, but it might be worth knowing that if you have external optical drives connected, the command “drutil eject” might actually eject one of these instead of your internal optical drive. This has happened to me just today. However, if you are not sure which number is assigned to your internal optical drive (in my case “0”) (Zero), you can find this if you have Disk Utility open, and then go to terminal app again and type in “drutil eject 0″ (or what ever your DVD drive number is), then press enter, and it will eject the disc in the internal CD/DVD.

  25. Dave says:

    I have a 2008 Intel Imac with Lion OS and latest Safari and other software. The Terminal option worked great the first time. Thank you!

  26. Mory says:

    Thanks for your help

  27. Deanna says:

    To force eject a disc on an iMac, turn off computer and as computer is restarting hold down left mouse button. Do not go to re start in menu. Use button on iMac and hold it down for 10 seconds. Better still turn it off at the wall. If you just restart you may experience problems like losing your date and time and wireless info.
    Hope this helps someone.

  28. Michiel Drommel says:

    thanks for the help.
    tried everything to eject a stuck DVD
    at the end the command at Terminal: drutil eject
    did the trick. So relieved.

  29. Ron Bierma says:

    2011 iMac – disc loads and plays – won’t eject. Tried EVERYTHING. Eject button, Command E, R mouse click on re-start, paperclip, Terminal key entry, Nothing works. Disc reloads and plays. HELP!! On my older iMac, I could take off the back, and gently nudge the disc out, but this model seems to be seamless.

  30. Tfer says:

    Late-2009 MacBook Pro. Had tried several options (except for Disc Utility, which was the next.) But “Drutil eject” command on Terminal ejected the CD right away. Also, I have an external drive AND a pen drive connected, and neither was affected. THANKS!

    PS Ron Bierma, I sure hope you can find a solution too!

  31. Bill Freese says:

    The CD kept ejecting, but only a tiny bit, then sucking back in again. None of these suggestions worked. The disk did not come far enough out of the slot to grab with tweezers. We finally found two utility knife blades thin enough and long enough to get in to the slot, trap the disk and yank it out during one of the eject cycles.

    This is a popular topic on the web, which suggests Apple might want to consider fixing this obvious design flaw.

  32. vai says:

    drutil eject

  33. Joy Walden says:

    drutil eject worked wonderfully thank you so much

  34. Reisverket says:

    Tried everything, but nothing did the trick until I read about the paperclip. It worked perfect! Thanks!

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