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DVDs not readable on iMac

Posted on 2011-03-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
DVDs are not being read by my iMac. I've tried lots of DVDs and the message I get is "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer". I've tried repairing permissions, nothing!
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Question by:kiloelectronvolt
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16 Comments
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:stowyo
ID: 35182980
What version is this iMac?
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Author Comment

by:kiloelectronvolt
ID: 35183010
Quite recent Intel Core Duo, all aluminium body on the back (not the one with the black back).
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:stowyo
ID: 35183164
can you burn a DVD?  Can you view a DVD from the store - like a movie?  May be a hardware issue.  The thing still under warranty?
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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 35183455
Try resetting the PRAM by cold booting while holding down the command-option-p-r key combination until you hear the boot chime a third time.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:gmbaxter
ID: 35184093
Look in system profiler under SATA or Dvd. If the drive isn't listed, then you have a hardware issue.
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Author Comment

by:kiloelectronvolt
ID: 35185396
Disk Utility lists the DVD drive as there does that count as it working?

I'll try to gain access to the iMac tomorrow to check system profiler too. Thanks.
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LVL 11

Accepted Solution

by:
mccrick earned 500 total points
ID: 35189903
At this point, 99% chance of hardware problem and a 98% chance that it is DVD drive itself. The remaining 1% possibility is a cable or logic board.

Best way to confirm would be to boot off of an external drive to eliminate possible software issue. You probably don't have a good external startup drive for that computer kicking around. If you could take it to an Apple Store, they could do a test in 5 minutes to confirm. Hopefully it is under warranty, as mentioned. If not, it may be cheaper to have a third part Mac repair shop do the repair. Get quotes. ifixit.com will show you the process for exchanging the drive. It is more difficult than most computers but you can check out the process and decide for yourself.

If your machine is slightly out of warranty, you may want to search the internet for a repair extension.

Keep in mind that the Optical drive in an iMac is vulnerable to physical damage: Peanut butter, pennies, and other things that don't belong in there. There are cleaning kits available. The cleaning kit may be something like a disk with a tiny brush on it that cleans the optics when inserted. This has small chance of solving the problem.
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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 35190142
Try resetting the PRAM before you do anything drastic.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:mccrick
ID: 35190313
that was mentioned.
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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 35190941
Yes. By me. But there was no reponse and I wanted to make sure it was not overlooked as corrupted PRAM is a common cause of this problem.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:mmoore82
ID: 35198259
PRAM reset, as strung mentioned, is worth trying since it only takes a few seconds.  Also, try from a different user account.

If after doing PRAM reset (pressing cmd+p+r at boot), and trying from a different user account you still have the issue, try different disc in the drive.  If the drive still has the issue with different media, next step would be to try an external optical drive if you have one available.  If the system can read those same disc with the external drive, you have either a bad cable or optical drive.

If you don't have an external optical to try, take the system to an Apple Authorized Service Provider for repair.  You could use one of the guides someone suggested.. but if you've never done the repair, you could cause a lot more damage to the system and end up paying a lot more to fix it in the end.

Best of luck, I hope this helps!
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:mmoore82
ID: 35198270
cmd+option+p+r  .. sorry for the typo..  previous poster already mentioned PRAM though. ;-)
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Author Comment

by:kiloelectronvolt
ID: 35339632
Took Mac to Apple Store and they booted it from another hard drive with OS X on it. Proved it was software issue so they backed it up and wiped the hard drive then installed Mac OS X.
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Author Comment

by:kiloelectronvolt
ID: 35339637
   eeeee
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:mccrick
ID: 35339660
Um, You did exactly what I said to do and it worked. Where's the love?
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