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Question: Why doesn't my iMac superdrive work?

I have a 2009 model iMac (3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) that is currently running 10.6.8. Unable to upgrade at this time due to risk of losing access to other software programs that are not compatible with later OS versions.


Have been having issues with internal superdrive for a while now when it comes to reading CD's/DVDs. Typically the CD/DVD will spin for a 10 seconds or so and then pop back out. There are no grinding/vibrating sounds, so I'm not 100% convinced that it has failed. I have also noticed that the symptoms are sporadic and sometimes it will end up reading a disc.


Due to this problem, I tried every troubleshooting technique that I could find on the web.

1. Clean Disk; try other discs

2. Clean inside of drive with compressed air & lens cleaner cloth

3. Reset the System Management Controller and the NVRAM/PRAM

4. Ran Disk Utility repair feature

5. Changed CD/DVD preferences under system preferences

6. Changed language in system preferences from English to an another language and back to English again.

7. Double checked that all firmware was up to date


I also purchased an external superdrive that came in the mail today - when I plugged it in, the drive read the first two discs perfectly and then it stopped reading discs all together - even the same discs that I just installed.


I tried troubleshooting again to no avail. Shutting down; restarting; using another usb port; Reseting SMC and PRAM


I'm beginning to think that this issue is more of a software/coding issue than a hardware issue. Seems like there are a lot of people out there that are having or who have had this issue. Kind of surprised there hasn't been a real solution to date. Thinking it may also be tied to iTunes somehow, but don't know the behind the scenes enough to make the connection.


If anyone has any other ideas, other than replacing the internal superdrive, I'm all ears.

OBS,iMac (27-inch Late 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8)

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Apr 21, 2018 8:18 PM in response to Heath Eisele In response to Heath Eisele

First, the built in Superdrives were prone to malfunction - easy to do with a super slim vertically installed drive where media can shift 1/100th of an inch. And, I am surprised it lasted that long - two of mine malfunctioned within 3 years.



As for your new external burner, is it an Apple model? I am asking because there is one which will not function if there is an internal Superdrive (working or not). If it is a third party drive, I'm afraid I have no answers. And, your Mac is an outdated 2009 with Snow Leopard - does the new external specifically say that it is compatible with such an old OS?

Apr 21, 2018 8:18 PM

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Apr 21, 2018 9:04 PM in response to Heath Eisele In response to Heath Eisele

"If anyone has any other ideas, other than replacing the internal superdrive, I'm all ears"


Return that one for a full refund and get yourself a decent third party disc drive.


The OWC Mercury Pro is also highly recommended by a vast number of seasoned ASC user's.

see > 'SuperDrive' Blu-ray, DVD/CD Optical Drives w/ FireWire, USB


Personally I have an old LG Desktop and a new LG Portable, that both work fine with any of my Mac's.


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Apr 21, 2018 9:04 PM

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Question: Why doesn't my iMac superdrive work?