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Ask Max: Superdrive not recognizing blank CDs

Asked on 04/11/2007:

I bought a refurbished G4 from PowerMax last fall, and it works fine except that the Superdrive doesn't recognize blank CDs. If I insert a blank CD, it doesn't spin up, and the drive ejects it. I already set system preferences to ask me what to do when it detects a blank CD. It reads data CDs and DVDs fine. I'm running OS X 10.4. The CDs I've tried are Memorex 24x 700MB CD-RW.

Thanks for your help.


When an optical drive does not recognize blank media it can be one of two issues. The most likely issue is that the CD burning portion of the drive is mis-configured, broken, or dirty. The other possibility is that the media is incompatible. Not all blank media works in every drive and it is also possible for the CD portion of an optical drive to fail without affecting the DVD functions. Neither issue has been eliminated as a possibility, so you have some troubleshooting to do. First thing to do is try different blank CD-R discs. Get some blanks from a friend or just buy a small stack of alternative media, not from the same manufacturer as the ones you are using. After that, if you are then certain that the CD-Rs are not to blame, clean off the optics in the drive. Eject the CD/DVD tray and use some compressed air to blow out any dust. Try the CD-Rs again. If you are still having troubles, check to see that your OS is up-to-date and see if any iLife applications can burn to a disc directly. If all else fails then it is time to seek out Apple Authorized service or just replace the drive.

In the off chance you are using CD-RWs, it may be a problem with not reformatting those before their use. Re-writable disks are less popular these days but make sure you are using CD-R discs.

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