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Ask Max: G5 disc drive not ejecting

Asked on 04/17/2007:

I have a G5 that I cannot open the disk drive. On Apple's site I found an Open firmware command to try and open the drive, but no success. I tried restarting, and the FireWire direct command on start up... still the drive will not open up. Any ideas?


Sorry to hear that your G5 has problems.

There are many ways of opening a drive or ejecting a disc from the optical drive of a Mac, but all of them require the drive be mechanically sound. The easiest way to force the optical drive to eject or open is by holding down the mouse button on startup. You can also hold down the "Option" key on startup and at the boot loader you can press the "Eject" key on the keyboard and that sometimes will work. Open firmware ejecting is not easy for everyone but it is the most definitive way to eject a CD or DVD. When that fails, my assumption would be that the drive is not working. It could be that one of the cables has come loose on the drive or the logic board. I would check those cables and restart the computer. When you are booted up go to the System Profiler application: it's in your utilities folder. Click on "ATA" in the System Profiler and look for your optical drive. If you do not see anything listed, then your optical drive has failed.

It is not too hard to replace an optical drive in a G5 tower. Here is a link to the Apple PDF on how to replace it yourself. This could also be a good time for an upgrade. Depending on when your G5 was made, this drive from MCE could be a burning speed boost.

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