My second Apple Mac related entry in a week. No, I'm not getting kick-backs from Steve Jobs. Yet.
I recently encountered one of my worst nightmares come true. I had a CD (a fairly important CD) stuck in a slot-loading CD drive refusing to come out. After the initial freak-out phase, followed by trying random, ineffective solutions found on the web, I stumbled upon a solution that was surprisingly effective, that I thought I'd share.
The problem: After attempting to set up my MacBook Pro to triple-boot Mac OS 10.4, 10.5 and Windows XP (don’t do this, by the way. I had to do this for work, but any sane person has no reason to set up their Mac to triple-boot, and it's actually more of a pain to do than I expected), I got to a point where I was running Windows, and tried to insert the Mac OS 10.5 install CD (DVD, really) into the MacBook CD drive. The drive is a slot-loading drive, with a very thin opening, where you have to insert the CD pretty far in for the motorized "grabbing" mechanism to kick in. I pushed the disc in, and only after I had pushed it all the way in, did I realize that, for some reason, the motorized "grab" never triggered at all.
Neither the Mac, nor the CD are mine, so I was in something of a bind. I read several articles on the web for what to do if the CD was sucked in, but could not be ejected, however this was a different case, where the machine thought there was no CD in the drive, when, in fact, there was.
I tried using a tiny pair of tweezers and a flashlight. Don't do this. The slot is tiny, and covered with some sort of fabric to keep out dust. You won't be able to see a thing in there, and you’ll have no idea if the thing you just hit with the tweezers is the CD, or a fragile part of the CD drive.
My second idea was to take another CD, and try and tap the CD the rest of the way in. This didn't work either. However, in doing this, I said to myself, "Self, I wish this CD in my hand was sticky, so the other CD would stick to it."
There was my solution. I took a long piece of scotch tape and wrapped it around the CD, sticky-side out. I then slid the CD into the drive to a point where I guessed it was slightly past the stuck CD, and pressed up and down. I hit pay-dirt, and easily pulled the CD out. It was like fishing, if you used CDs instead of fishing rods and tape instead of hooks. It was nothing like fishing.
Here's a pointless diagram to illustrate this fairly mundane solution even further. No, I do not actually have a Britney Spears CD.
So there you have it. The MacBook Pro and the OS disc are both fine. My boss is none the wiser, unless he is reading my blog.