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CD/DVD drive unstuck tool
CD/DVD drives sometimes misbehave. If you are laughing, you know that it's true. They also produce one of the common error messages your computer can give you that just doesn't make sense to most of us. What in the world is "buffer overrun error" for example? Geeks will tell you that this means the data didn't quite make it onto the CD because such-and-such, or thus-and-so happened, all you know is that it didn't work, plain and simple.

Fine, so now your drive is stuck in its ticked-off position, and you can't get the blasted disc out of the drive? If you just tried restarting your computer, congratulations, that is the best thing to try if your drive is acting up. If that doesn't fix it, there is an easy fix. It is time to get a little invasive.





Tools:
1 small paper clip

Time:
30 seconds

Step 1: Unbend the small paper clip and straighten it. Doing so will create a homemade CD/DVD drive unstuck tool.

Step 2:
Insert the unstuck tool into the tiny hole located in the middle of your offending drive. It can be hard to find, especially on darker colored drives (which are common these days).

Step 3: Gently push the unstuck tool squarely into the hole and you should be able to feel some resistance when you do. Be careful not to monkey-wrench it and push too hard, you can damage the internal components and trash your drive if you do. Keep pushing a little further and the front edge of the drive should pop out slightly, even if your computer is on, or the CD is still spinning.

Step 4: Pull the drive tray outward with your fingers if you can get a grip on it, if not, then use the unstuck tool to gently pry open the tray a bit more. Be careful not to scratch the CD with the tool, if you scratch the metallic coating off the CD it will be ruined for good.

Step 5: Extend the drive out far enough to remove the CD or DVD and slowly push the tray back into it's place. You may receive a few more errors on your computer screen, as if you just removed a brain tumor from lucid patient with no anesthetic. Don't worry, this is normal and expected. Simply hit OK or Cancel depending on the prompt.

Step 6: Restart your computer, close your eyes and cross your fingers until it loads. Hopefully this is a one time occurrence. Sometimes the drives that we depend on day-by-day get stressed out and need a breather. The unstuck tool can be reused, so avoid tossing it (trying to help the planet here) and put it in the pen and pencil cup on your desk, yes the fuzzy pink fur one your four year old made, and you'll have it for next time.

If this continues to happen, try switching CD/DVD burning software or brand of blank discs, since many times the culprit is one of the two. Better yet, you can try one of these popular programs if yours isn't working as well: Roxio, Nero, DeepBurner (Windows) or Disco (Mac). Should a new program not work for you either, try taking your PC to a repair shop to see something can be done.

Using the unstuck tool works fairly well for both desktops and laptops (not sure about MacBooks), and should you be so lucky to never have your drive go all funky on you, consider yourself well, lucky. Many drives do have weird episodes. Isn't it nice to know how to deal with their antics for once?

cd drive unstuck tool(click thumbnails to view gallery)

Step 1Step 2Step 2 (continued)Step 3Step 4


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