ejecting media from iMac with no manual eject mechanism

It’s happened to us all: we get that new broken iMac and can’t wait to pop a system disc or new OS disc in and make ‘er all better.  Then, the unthinkable happens: nothing!  No new OS, no ability to boot from disc, and worst of all, the deeeesk — she no come out!

There is a relatively well-known, but somewhat obscure fix for this: simply power down the machine and power it back up again while holding down the mouse-button (that’s left button for 2 button meeces) until the disc ejects.  

On rare occasion, this will fail, sometimes due to firmware corruption, sometimes due to hardware failure.  If the drive is toast, then I’m afraid you will have to remove the drive and pop ‘er open to get that disc back!  However, if the drive worked on the way in (accepted the disc and spun it about a bit) chances are it will work on the way out.  A solution I arrived at yesterday was to power the affected machine up in Target mode.  If the machine is firmware protected, which prevents you from using key commands at boot, you will have to reset the firmware password.  See my earlier post about that.

  1. connect the affected machine to another mac with a firewire cable.
  2. start the machine in target mode by holding down ‘T’ until the screen goes blue with a yellow firewire symbol bouncing around. 
  3. the hard disk and your cd/dvd will appear as mounted drives on the desktop or volumes directory of the mac you connected it to.  simply select the disc, cd or dvd, and right click or control click it and select ‘eject.’ 

In my case, the disc popped right out, and I was able to bash the offending iMac to bits without destroying my precious Official Apple Leopard 10.5.6 disc.

If you have a different experience, or would like to contribute another possible fix, please leave a comment below and I can later edit it into this post.