Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Advice: DVD stuck in TS-T632A ATA drive

I know this little bit of advice is going to have a very small audience, but when I consider that just a couple of days ago I spent considerable time searching for the answer which this advice would have provided, I think it is worth my effort and your time.  It would have saved me considerable frustration.

CD/DVD slot
Let me begin with a little back story:  My computer has a built in CD/DVD drive like most computers.  However, mine is one of those slot drives which has no cover or eject button and only the slot is visible.  Now imagine my consternation when I put a brand new program DVD into this drive and my computer did not recognize either the drive or the disc.  As a result, I could not eject it and try another drive.

My device manager stated that the drive was not functioning properly, but that was the only part of my computer that admitted that I did have a CD/DVD drive.  I spent about one hour searching for an updated driver for the unit and confirming that no such update existed.  There were plenty of trails to lead me to believe there was a newer driver than the 2006 version I was currently using (or not using depending on how you view a situation when the computer does not know the drive exists in the first place), but it turned out not to be the case.

I spent another hour trying to find out if there was a manual eject.  I am very familiar with computer components as my father was a fiddler of electronic things (engineer) and I inherited this vice (but am not an engineer).  I expected there to be a manual means of removing this disc. But all my searching only provided me with three options.
  1. Use the software eject.  Open My Computer, right click on the drive, and click eject.  This was not a viable option.  Remember my computer is not recognizing the drive, so it was not showing up on My Computer.
  2. Use the built-in keyboard eject button.  Would you believe I never noticed this before?  It did not work, no matter how many times I pressed it.
  3. Take the back off the computer, remove the shroud underneath, remove the CD/DVD drive, remove its cover and then remove the DVD.  What?! You want me to open a CD/DVD drive, completely exposing its delicate innards?  YIKES!  I went looking for more options.
I know that most (all?) such drives have a tiny hole in which one can insert a wire (modified paper clip) and like magic (with a little pressure applied) activate the mechanism that will eject the CD. This drive did not appear to have one.  Some will hide it inside the slot up high or way low.  So I tried inserting the wire and working by feel to find this mechanism without result.  I spent the better part of an hour muttering about the engineer who designed this particular drive.  We were never going to be friends.

I gave up my fruitless search for answers on the Web and carried my computer to the kitchen table.  The back came off easily.  I complimented the engineer.  The shroud also came off with amazing ease.  I complimented this engineer also.  The drive slid out of its bay like it was greased.  I really liked this engineer.  My husband stood by encouraging my efforts.  (He will take apart anything from remote control boats to shotguns, but not a computer.)  I was explaining how any intelligent engineer will supply a manual means to remove a disc from a drive.  At this point I leaned over and looked at the drive's slot edge-on now that the shroud no longer hid everything but the slot.  A tiny hole about an inch and half from the top of the drive caught my eye.  I ran for my modified paper clip.  Feeling much like a safe cracker, I eased the wire in, applied gentle pressure and out popped my DVD.  I could have done it without removing the drive from its bay, but could not have done it with the shroud and cover in place.

Moral of this story:  I am going to assume every drive has that manual means of ejecting discs.  I am very glad I did not take the drive apart.  The computer was well-designed for easy access.  Accept for the manual release being hidden when the computer is all together, the engineer was not so bad after all.  So always check for the manual eject hole and keep a paper clip close by.  Chances are 100% likely (or nearly so) that the drive does somewhere have a manual means of ejection.

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