Fixing DVD/CD Drives That Wont Open

Fixing DVD/CD Drives That Wont Open


Having a DVD or CD drive that won’t open can be very frustrating. It prevents you from using the drive and accessing the media inside. However, in many cases, you can fix the issue yourself without too much trouble. Here are the common causes of a drive not opening and how to diagnose and resolve them.

Troubleshooting Steps

Check for Obvious Obstructions

The first thing to check is whether anything is physically blocking the tray from sliding out.

  • Carefully look inside the drive bay while trying to eject. See if any cables, pieces of paper or other debris have fallen in. Gently remove any obstructions.

  • If there is a disc already loaded, it may not eject properly if slightly warped or damaged. Try removing the disc manually by inserting a paperclip into the manual eject hole (usually a small hole on the front of the drive). This will release the disc tray.

Test With Different Discs

Try inserting and ejecting a few different discs if possible.

  • If certain discs get stuck or fail to eject, the problem may be with just those damaged or incompatible discs rather than the drive itself.

  • If all discs have issues opening, then the drive itself likely needs attention.

Reseat Data and Power Cables

Loose connections Could prevent the eject mechanism from working properly:

  • Shut down the computer, disconnect the power cable, and then firmly reseat both the data cable and power cable going to the DVD/CD drive.

  • This ensures no corrosion or accidental loosening is causing an issue.

Restart the Computer

After reconnecting the cables, restart the computer and try the eject again.

  • The restart will reset the drive controller and may resolve a software/electrical issue preventing the eject.

  • Also try pressing the eject button a few times in quick succession after rebooting.

Use Manual Eject

Most DVD/CD drives have a small pinhole or button that allows you to manually open the disc tray if the normal eject button fails.

  • Locate the manual eject on your drive (check the documentation if unsure). It is usually near the regular eject button.

  • Insert a straightened paperclip into the hole and push firmly. You should feel the latch release.

  • If you hear the drive motor or gears running but the tray doesn’t slide out, a gear may be stripped. Applying some outward pressure on the tray may help overcome a stripped gear.

Enable the Drive in Device Manager

In rare cases, the drive may not be enabled properly in Windows Device Manager after a reboot, preventing eject.

  • Open Device Manager, expand the DVD/CD drives section and check for any drives with yellow exclamation icons.

  • Right click the drive and select Enable if available. This should reactivate it.

Update or Reinstall Drivers

Outdated, corrupt or missing drivers can sometimes cause DVD/CD trays to get stuck. Updating may help:

  • Open Device Manager, find your DVD drive, right click it and select Update driver.

  • If that doesn’t find a newer version, download the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website.

  • As a last resort, uninstall the driver entirely and scan for hardware changes to completely reinstall the driver.

Firmware Issues

For older optical drives, a glitchy firmware version could also prevent the motorized eject from working properly.

  • Checking the manufacturer’s website for a firmware update specifically addressing eject issues is worth trying. Follow their instructions to update the firmware.

  • Flashing the firmware is risky however, so only attempt this if the drive is fairly worthless to you and you cannot resolve the problem otherwise.

Dismantling and Manually Fixing

If all else fails, you may need to open up the drive and troubleshoot further:

  • Unplug the power and data cables and remove the drive from the computer case.

  • Use a Phillips screwdriver to open the case, taking care not to touch any circuit boards inside.

  • Examine the internal components for any broken gears, belts orparts preventing the eject mechanism from sliding properly.

  • Carefully remove any debris inside the case with compressed air. Lubricate gears lightly with silicone spray if they appear dry.

  • With power disconnected, try manually triggering the eject with your finger to see if the tray moves more smoothly now.

  • Reassemble the drive, reconnect it and test for successful eject.

While taking apart optical drives is tricky, it may allow you to repair the eject function or recover valuable discs trapped inside. Handle components gently.

When to Replace the Drive

If you are unable to get the tray unstuck after trying all applicable troubleshooting steps above, the DVD/CD drive is likely irreparable and needs replacement. Optical drives are inexpensive and easy to swap into most computers these days. Just be sure to properly transfer your old data and install any software drivers for the new drive.


Stuck DVD or CD trays can generally be repaired with some simple tools and mechanical finesse. Check for obstructions, reconnect cables, update drivers and reset the eject mechanism. If needed, take apart the drive casing and lubricate gears to regain proper movement. Replacing the optical drive is an affordable last resort if all else fails. Back up your discs regularly so one jammed drive won’t mean losing data.



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