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I have a white MacBook, running Snow Leopard, 10.6.3 with the latest updates.

I popped in a DVD that the system failed to mount. I did not see any conspicuous errors. As a result of this failure, the DVD got stuck in the drive. Neither pressing the eject button on the keyboard nor running the diskutil eject command caused the DVD to come out. The commands drutil eject and drutil tray open could not get the DVD to budge at all. The 'mount' and 'eject' buttons on the window for Disk Utility are dimmed out, while it is written in the middle for the DVD drive that that particular disc drive is busy.

This is not the first time this has happened with me. I know that I will ultimately have to resort to rebooting the system and holding down the eject button to get the DVD to come out. But, is there any workaround that does not involve rebooting the system and prying the disc out? The drive on this MacBook does not have a needle-pin reset button -- at least, I couldn't find it anywhere.

Any help will be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I am going to thank Kio Dane again for taking the time out to post an answer to this question.

Not being able to find any means to eject the disc, I decided to reboot the system. As I was shutting down open applications, I noticed that as soon as I quit VMware Fusion, the disc automatically mounted. I could eject it subsequently, as well. Apparently, VMware Fusion had taken control of the drive and blocked the disc. This was why in Disk Utility the drive was found to be busy.

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You can find out what applications (if any) have open files on a disk by running the "lsof" command in Terminal. To make it easier to find what's only open on external disks, run the command "lsof | grep Volumes". But since you say the disk isn't mounting, I'm not sure what to say.

Can you mount or eject the disk via Disk Utility?


My next thought is to reinstall the Mac OS X. How long has it been since your last reinstall?

With Snow Leopard (10.6), just drop the installation DVD in and follow the instructions. User data is preserved by default.

With Leopard (10.5) and Tiger (10.4), there's an option in the disk-selection step that allows you to make the installation an "Archive and Install" with the added option to "retain Users and Network".


Yeah, the slot loading drives are funny like that. Fixing a stuck disk (when even the reboot trick you suggest doesn't work) is to open the machine, remove the DVD drive, and remove it's top cover. I'm glad that the slot loading drive has fewer parts that stick out like most PC DVD drives that I'm always afraid of putting too much pressure on, but the downside is no user fail-safe eject.

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Thanks, Kio, for taking out the time to reply. lsof does not yield anything relevant. And Disk Utility only reports the drive as being busy, not allowing any other actions to be performed on it. As for the suggestion to reinstall the OS, I don't think that that should really be necessary. –  ayaz May 18 '10 at 13:11

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