Ejecting media in Mac OS X: Removing 'stuck' CDs/DVDs

From time-to-time, removable media (including CDs, DVDs and others) can refuse to eject via the normal Mac OS X methods -- pressing the keyboard eject key; using the Command-E keyboard combination; selecting the item in the Finder and clicking the Eject button next to its name; dragging the item to the trash; or pressing the F12 key.

A number of methods can be applied to help coax media out of an optical drive in such a situation. Before applying these methods, however, note that busy disks (either startup disks or disks with an open file) should not be ejected and will not using any of the aforementioned standard processes. As such, be patient with a disk that will not eject immediately. Sometimes a disk continues to be identified as busy for several seconds after any contained files are not in use, and waiting a few moments then re-attempting the ejection is successful.

Use Disk Utility to eject The first and simplest method, if you only want to unmount a single volume on the disk, is to use Disk Utility, located in Applications/Utilities. In Disk Utility, simply select the volume you want to unmount and click Eject.

Hold Down the mouse button at startup In some cases holding down a connected mouse button at startup will cause a misbehaving optical drive to eject its media.

Unfortunately, this method will not work if you are using a Bluetooth keyboard.

Also, for Xserve users, make sure that the machine is unlocked (using the included allen wrench) before holding down the mouse key during startup.

Boot into Open Firmware and eject If you have a Mac that will not startup properly and has a stuck disc, try booting into Open Firmware by holding down Command, Option, O key and F key during startup. After booting into Open Firmware, type the command eject-cd.

Using the Terminal There are two commands that can be used in the Terminal (located in Applications/Utilities) which can be used to force disk ejection:

The first command to try is drutil tray eject. Simply type in this command and press return.

The other method takes a little more work but can work in instances where the first method fails.

  1. Type the command drutil list into the Terminal and press return . This will provide a list of all currently connected removable devices. [ScreenShot 1-DiskEject] -- connect FireWire/USB drives for this
  2. Use the command drutil tray eject 1

In the above command, the number "1" should be replaced with whatever drive number you obtained in the first step.

Enabling an Eject menu As a side note, you can enable another means of ejecting disks by opening the folder System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras and double-clicking the file "Eject.menu". An eject icon will appear in the menubar that can be used to close and open selected optical drives.

If you no longer want the Eject menubar item, hold down the command key while clicking and dragging the icon out of the menubar space

This was copied from MacFixit Mini-Tutorial 04 Apr 2005

The care of Firewire drives

  • Firewire drives are very sensitive to damage if shut down while connected to an operating system
  • If the firwire drive is unmountable when you power up a system
  • Or does not show up once powered up to an active system if could will need repair
  • For MacOS X the best tool is to use the Disk Warrior Utility
  • This will rebuild the directory table and make the drive operational again
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Topic revision: r6 - 2013-02-12 - DevonMerner
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