External burner for MacBook Pro
May 27, 2009 7:12 AM   Subscribe

My MacBook Pro no longer burns DVDs, and from what I can see it would cost more to fix it than to simply buy an external one. Anyone have any recommendations for a good burner?
posted by dearleader to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I imagine you already checked for this, but when the DVD burner in my two-year-old MacBook stopped working, I took it to the Apple Store and discovered that I somehow had Apple Care, even though I had never paid for it. It was fixed for free.
posted by ignignokt at 7:16 AM on May 27, 2009

Have you tried any sort of software fix? I had a disc-burning issue with my MBP a few months back. I reinstalled the OS and then it worked fine.
posted by kid_dynamite at 7:21 AM on May 27, 2009

thanks ignignokt... but yeah, it's out of warranty... i know this because apple recently fixed a hard-drive problem for me related to a coffee spill.. but i don't think they'll be so nice a second time!
posted by dearleader at 7:23 AM on May 27, 2009

My MacBook Pro stopped burning DVDs too (CDs were fine). I took it to the Apple Store... where they blew out the drive with compressed air and it magically worked again. I wish I were making that up.
posted by The Michael The at 7:24 AM on May 27, 2009

That is, try blowing it out with compressed air and see if it fixes the problem. Cheaper than a new drive.
posted by The Michael The at 7:25 AM on May 27, 2009

When you say "no longer burns dvds", what exactly happens? Are you getting a specific error message? Are you using DVD+R, -R, DL? Is your MBP 1stgen? My MBP stopped burning DVDs about a year ago. I did some searching and found a particularly odd software only fix (something completely unrelated). Again, much cheaper than a new drive :)

Re: The Michael The: that's always my first rule: when in doubt, blow it out!
posted by zerokey at 7:36 AM on May 27, 2009

If your not under warranty, you could replace it yourself, just download & follow the directions. I once extracted & threw out a broken MacBook Pro CD drive just to save weight.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:45 AM on May 27, 2009

I have replaced drives in MacBook Pros (once for myself, once for a friend, both times to upgraded a combo drive to a superdrive) and I'm no professional MacBook-opener. It's tricksy, with 10,000 tiny slightly-different screws, but as long as you go slowly and keep track of which goes where (I labeled them all) it's not very difficult. The online video and slideshow guides to disassembly are godsends.

If you Google "replacement superdrive" you will find some $70-150 options. It's possible to get a cheaper external one, probably, but that's not a very elegant (or portable) solution.
posted by rokusan at 8:07 AM on May 27, 2009

zerokey, not sure if you're still looking ... i'm using MacBookPro3,1, with Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.2 GHz... the drive plays movies, plays CDs, so it's not dead or anything, but it will not locate the DVD+r when i try to burn movies... or if anyone else knows any software fixes...thanks...
posted by dearleader at 8:11 AM on May 27, 2009

I own this one and have never had a problem with it. Plus the Lightscribe option is cool.

posted by geekchic at 8:20 AM on May 27, 2009

dearleader: I'm willing bet that you can burn dvd-Rs without issue. I'll track down the fix that I had used.
posted by zerokey at 8:29 AM on May 27, 2009

Is this an older model MBP? Older Macs can't burn DVD+Rs, only DVD-Rs. If you can still play DVDs, I'd imagine that it's not a hardware/software issue. Try different media.
posted by reductiondesign at 10:07 AM on May 27, 2009

Older MBPs are a nightmare to open so you're doing the right thing. Get an external. I bought a Pioneer since I recall somewhere that the Pioneer mechanism was compatible: it would burn CDs & DVDs. I don't know if it makes much difference anymore though. I suspect any USB DVD drive would be fine.
posted by chairface at 10:11 AM on May 27, 2009

I use an LG external burner with my mac.

The burner is very small and light, and fits nicely into my laptop bag. It's completely powered by USB, so you don't need to plug it into a power outlet. I've used it successfully with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It also burns Lightscribe labels (if you are so inclined).
posted by mattybonez at 12:42 PM on May 27, 2009

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