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SuperDrive errors under investigation, developer says

updated 03:15 pm EDT, Mon September 28, 2009

No solution over horizon

Apple is currently probing recent problems with Mac SuperDrives, according to a developer in contact with the company's support and developer staff. Several drive models have been experiencing trouble mounting discs, in some cases blocking people from upgrading to the newly-launched Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The word of Apple investigating drive failures comes by way of a representative in the company's Developer Relations team.

An Apple tech support worker is meanwhile said to caution that the company is treating drive malfunctions as isolated incidents. Apple is further claimed to lack a quick means of diagnosing errors in SuperDrive firmware and drivers, which could translate into an extended wait for a software solution, if one is possible. The last SuperDrive update was posted in late August, but did not target disc mounting concerns.

by MacNN Staff



  1. coitus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Superdrive Errors

    I have a mac pro tower (clovertown) and it consistently won't read certain DVDs. I had called Apple Support and they just blame the individual DVDs. However, further examination reveals that they appear too thick for either internal DVD drive. The drives themselves will come out scratches as if being forced down into the laser itself as it scrolls across to read the disc. I had just given up on this issue as one Apple had chosen to ignore.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sony NEC Optiarc sucks

    I think Apple should just stop using the Sony NEC Optiarc drives. They are really poorly made. When the OEM Superdrive in my Mac Pro died, I replaced it with the same model and it eventually died too! Now, I have a Pioneer and an LG.

  1. boardwalk2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Same problem on MBP

    Have run into similar DVD mount issues on a MacBook Pro with "MATSHITADVD-R UJ-857D" drive. Snow Leopard DVD will not mount. The disc ejects after a few attempts at spinning up to mount. All other DVDs mount and install fine (e.g., iLife '09, iWork '09). Have called Apple support. Went thru reboots, PRAM reset, etc. Waste of time. No help from Apple other than bring MBP to Apple store. Not enough time to deal with this as just an hour+ with phone support is all I can deal with. Snow Leopard DVD works fine on other iMac and MacBook Pro I have tried on (it was 5-user family license purchase!). Just this one laptop. Ended up installing Snow Leopard from an external LaCie firewire DVD drive fine. Convinced it is an issue with the internal drive and SL DVD.

  1. jreades

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bizarre solution seems to work

    I had this issue with my Matsh*ta UJ-57D as well.

    *An* apparent solution has been found if you know where to look:

    All I can say is that it's utterly bizarre but *definitely* worked for me (I posted under 'jonr') and after the upgrade to Snow Leopard (possible after all of the language rigamarole) I haven't had the problem recur (thank god).

    My best *guess* is that it's a region-related bug buried very deep in OS X.


  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Seriously, what is Apple's fascination with words like 'Super' and 'Extreme'? The Superdrive is not 'super'. It is a generic DVD R/W drive, just like you find on every other computer out there.

    If Apple ever supported blu ray, what would they call it? The SuperDuperDrive? SuperDrive Extreme?

  1. Rod Hagen

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tricky things, DVD drives , regardless of brand

    Yes there are a lot of complaints on the Apple boards about DVD drives, but a bit of a squiz around shows that every manufacturer suffers heavily in this area.

    A quick google of "Dell DVD drive not working" comes up with around 20 million responses! Doing the same with "Apple Superdrive not working" only produces a mere 2 million.

    In short DVD drives , regardless of brand, are fragile things. Open to the elements, mechanical, devices dependent on a laser beam not getting impeded by a bit of errant fluff! A bit of cat hair, too much cigarette smoke, or a humid or dusty environment, a careless disc user or a thousand other things and you have the recipe needed for a "drive failure". Doesn't matter whether it is in a MacBook, a Thinkpad or an Acer. Slot loading drives are harder to clean than tray loaders, and so we see increasing numbers of problems emerging with them all, now that such things are fashionable all around. Most of the major manufacturers use pretty much the same drives in reality. Not surprisingly, given the inherent problems with the medium, they all suffer lots of problems with them.

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