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CD Stuck in Player-Here's How to Free The Jammed Disc

We are constantly asked about getting stuck discs out of a drive. It´s actually somewhat amazing how often this still happens. Fifteen years ago when we were first working with the somewhat new CD ROM format, discs got jammed in the drive all the time. They might be formatted incorrectly, badly scratched, or just plain finicky. Whatever the reasons, I´ll bet we were "digging" discs out of drives every week. It was a pain, but we learned a couple things from the experience. Here are a couple ways to un-jam a compact disc.

Turn the player upside down, slam it into the table, and watch the disc fly across the table. Ok, now that I have your attention, don’t do that. It works sometimes, but normally your player will never work again. Here are some more conventional methods:

If the drive has a little hole in the front of the player, not the audio jack hole, you can stick a paper clip into the hold and pop out the CD. Really, this hole is designed as a manual eject so it’s ok. On my laptop the hole is just to the right of the eject button on my CD/DVD drive. If you can, turn the power off to the drive. Straighten a paper clip and gently push it into the hole. It only has to go a little ways to open the door. It should only have to go one quarter to half an inch.

You can also try to eject the disc by turning on and off the power while holding down the eject button. On a Macintosh you can drag the disc icon to the Trash can in the dock or to “Eject” in the file menu or you can restart you Mac while holding down the button on the mouse.

Try to avoid jammed discs before the problem ever happens. Don’t insert discs into your system that are formatted for a non-compatible drive. Make sure paper labels aren’t sticking up or are placed on a disc, especially a DVD, off center. Also, if a disc has a lot of scratches on the label side, it may be unreadable, cause the drive software to fail, and cause the disc to jam.

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