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What happens when your DVD gets stuck in the tray? Can you remove it easily, or is it trapped in the drive until you can take your computer to a technician?
Thankfully, the answer to that last question in most cases is no. Pretty much all that happens when your disc becomes stuck is that the tray will not open, likely due to a power or device driver issue. Several methods have been tried and tested to help you retrieve your stuck disc – so many, in fact, that they can be attempted in the order described below.
Remember, however, that if your disc has become stuck, there may have been a reason for this happening. As such, try to think back to how the device locked up, as this might indicate an underlying issue with your computer.
First, Try the Software Eject Method
Before you start panicking and getting desperate to retrieve the disc, begin sensibly by opening My Computer and right-clicking on the optical drive, selecting Eject. Wait a few moments to see if the drive comes to its senses; if not, restart your PC.
While the PC is rebooting, press the eject button on your drive. This should result in the disc ejecting – problem resolved!
If, however, this doesn’t work, it suggests a problem with the optical drive hardware. In order for you resolve this, you will need to first manually remove the disc and then confirm your disc is correctly connected to your computer.
Use a Paperclip to Remove the Disc
Using a bent paperclip is one of the most common methods of removing a stuck optical disc. This isn’t dangerous and won’t damage your device – in fact, if you look carefully, you will spot the small hole on the drive tray that is provided for this very task (note that the position of the hole will vary, depending on the type of drive and the manufacturer).
You’ll need about 1.5 inches of the paperclip to be straightened out; gently press this into the hole on your disc drive in order to push the manual eject switch. If successful, the tray should open slightly, enough for you to pull it open and remove the disc.
Now, if everything is working properly and all of this was just a glitch, you should find that the drive will begin flashing and whirring when you close the drawer. If this doesn’t happen, then you should prepare for a bit of hardware troubleshooting.
Check Optical Drive Cabling
If you’re using a desktop computer, you will need to confirm that your drive is correctly connected to the power supply.
To do this, shutdown the computer and remove the power cable. You will need to open the case and confirm that the optical drive is correctly connected to the power cable that runs from the PSU. If it is, there may be a problem with the PSU, so get this checked or replace it.
The procedure of opening your PC and checking the cabling will differ across various models and designs of PC and case, so check the documentation for your hardware to confirm the best and safest way of confirming this. Our guide to diagnosing hardware issues should help.
Slimline Laptop Drive? Try It in Another Device
Of course, it isn’t only desktop computers that suffer from problems ejecting discs from optical drives. If you’re using a laptop/notebook, the same paperclip trick above can be tried, and you can also use the software commands to eject your disc.
However, if the drive is repeatedly locking discs in, you might consider switching it into another computer of the same model, providing the optical drive is removable.
If no similar computer is available, you might try connecting the DVD drive to another computer via USB, using a low-cost DVD enclosure kit.
Stuck Discs in Domestic DVD Players
What about domestic DVD players? Getting a stuck disc out of one of these can be tricky as there is no unified approach to fixing such issues.
Although some devices enable you to use a paperclip, others require you to switch the device off and hold the eject button; others still necessitate a visit from (or to) a technician.
For the best results, run a Google search, listing your DVD player model and the phrase “disc stuck” – you should find the details you need to eject the disc.
Using a Mac?
There is every chance that you’ve come across this article looking for a way of ejecting a disc from your Apple computer. Most of what is described above applies to Windows computers, but if you are having problems removing a disc from your Mac’s trayless optical drive (assuming you haven’t swapped it for an SSD), one good way is to restart the computer holding the Option key, and using the Eject button on the keyboard when the startup disk selection screen appears.
There are many other methods for removing a disc stuck in your Mac’s optical drive, however.
Conclusion: Retrieve Your Disc, Then Rip It!
There is little chance of your stuck disc becoming damaged inside the computer, laptop or living room optical drive – but it’s arguably better to be safe than sorry in this situation. The potential for discs getting stuck and therefore slowing you down is a good reason to start to think about hard disk space and flash storage for your movies, audio and software rather than optical media. Ripping audio, DVD and Blu-ray is easy, and the data can be stored on your hard disk drive as a disc image, ready to be launched when needed (using software such as Handbrake, available for Windows and Mac). Of course, you might prefer to continue with the admittedly occasional stuck discs.
All of the fixes above are proven to work, but if you have any additional disc-ejecting tips, please let us know in the comments.
Image credit: Thomas Ormston,