Laptop DVD Tray Won't Eject - How To Open A CD Or DVD Drive

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The Laptop Repair Workbook

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Copyright 2010 by Morris Rosenthal

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Copyright 2010 by Morris Rosenthal -All Rights Reserved contact info

The printable eBook version of The Laptop Repair Workbook is now available for download anywhere in the world.
There are quite a few reasons the DVD tray in your laptop might fail to open when you hit the eject button. About the worst thing it can be is if the motor or gear train failed, which would mean replacing the drive. If the disc in the drive plays OK, you know that the power and the connector are fine. If not, you should try reseating the drive in the bay. It's also possible for the drive to be locked in software by the operating system, or for a power management scheme to have cut power to the drive. Check these by right clicking the drive icon and checking properties, or looking at you power management settings. But, when all else fails and you can't get the disc out of the drive, there's always, THE MIGHTY PAPERCLIP. unbending a paper clip
inserting paperclip into DVD drive release CD and DVD drives for computers have been designed with an emergency release mechanism since time immemorial. Unlike your DVD player for your TV or your stereo CD player, the disc in your computer drive may be much more valuable than the drive itself. Yes, if you own the software legally, you should be able to get a replacement from the software company for a moderate charge, but maybe you need it now. In any case, the emergency release for the DVD tray doesn't require any special tools or skills, just a paperclip. Start by unbending a leg of the largest diameter paperclip that will fit in the hole on the faceplate of the drive. Next, insert it it straight into the hole, and if you're lucky, there will bee a little click before it goes in very far, and the tray will pop out a fraction of an inch.
In the picture to the right, I haven't used any force at all, beyond gently pushing in the paperclip, and the CD tray popped out that far by itself. From here, it's an easy task to pull it out all the way so the disc can be removed. Below, I'm opening the DVD drive out of a Sony Vaio, but the tray didn't spring out when the paperclip pushed in the release, which you can tell by feel. So I had to pull on it with my fingernail behind the plastic facade while depressing the release. It opened pretty stiffly for the first fraction of an inch, and then pulled right out the rest of the way. That pretty much covers what you'll encounter with manually opening an optical drive, either it will pop open as soon as the paperclip works the latch, or you'll have to help it along. opening stuck DVD tray
DVD recorder tray stuck But there are instances in which the emergency release won't get the tray to eject. The worst of these is if a disc shattered at high speed and jammed all the mechanics up with little shards of plastic. You'll know this is the case by the noise if you gently tilt the drive back and forth. Another possibility is that an adhesive label peeled off in the drive and has gummed up the works. In either case, the odds of the drive being salvageable aren't very good, but if it was a label failure, you should be able to rescue the disc by disassembling the drive around it until the tray ejects or the disc is accessible. And before you rush out and buy a supposed generic replacement for the drive, remember that while the connector may be standard, the drive shell is customized, and you may not be able to transfer all of the shell hardware from one drive to another for mounting.
Opening DVD recorder with emergency release
The printable eBook version of The Laptop Repair Workbook is now available for download anywhere in the world.