How to Open a Stuck CD or DVD Drive Tray

Optical media, like CDs and DVDs drove floppy disks obsolete and brought in a new era of digital media where large files and data could be easily stored and distributed with relative stability and low risk of data loss. Just like floppy disks, CDs and DVDs stored the data and needed a drive in order for the data to be read by a computer. Given the convenience and functionality they offer, optical drives are very common today and are part of every modern computer. Even though they are produced by various manufacturers, nearly all of them suffer from one problem in particular – the trays start jamming up after a few months of use. If you are facing the same problem, worry not, the following steps are going to get your drive tray open and working again in no time.

Things required:

Common pin or paper clip


  • 1

    First you need to try and press the eject button on the front panel of your optical drive, I am assuming you have tried it several times, but just press it firmly to make sure it doesn’t work. Now open up My Computer and right click on the optical drive before clicking on eject.

  • 2

    If the methods above don’t work but you hear a click sound every time you press the eject button, it means the tray release is working but is jammed by something else. In this case you can try pressing the eject button and tapping on the side of the drive with your hand. If the drive is still stuck, you will need to get the manual release to work, for which you will need a common pin or a paper clip.

  • 3

    Switch off the computer now and unplug it to prevent electric shock. Now if you have a paper clip, unwind one end to make it straight and if you have a common pin, you are good to go.

  • 4

    Locate a small hole on the front of the drive panel. Usually the hole is next to the eject button, but if your drive has an LED indicator, there might be two holes. If you have trouble finding out which one is the LED, try pressing the pin’s tip into the hole and if it goes in, you have the right one.

  • 5

    Keep pressing the pin until you meet resistance. Now press the pin in firmly until the latch gives and the tray will be manually released. If done right, the tray will eject just a little bit and you will have to pull the rest out yourself.

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