Its funny how I (and other techs like me) can take apparently simple technological devices for granted.
I had just sold a used PC to a lady that wanted it configured for her children.
I assume they were adult children, as she wanted the system installed and configured for them, before she “returned to England”.
Anyway, the system was a small Dell computer (ie smaller than a full tower).
Of course, with such a small system, you usually don’t get a full-size CD/DVD drive, but a laptop style drive. Ie you push the eject button, and the small tray only pops out half way. You then need to pull the tray out all the way, snap the disk onto the central spindle (so the CD stays where it should), and then you push the tray back into the drive.
I simply assumed that everyone has seen and/or used these type of drives before, but not this time.
I got a call from this lady, saying that the CD would not eject.
I’m thinking: I ejected it just an hour ago… It couldn’t have failed so soon!
After a few more questions, I figure out that she opened the CD tray (since the PC was vertical, so was the CD drive… not horizontal like most CD drives), put the Microsoft Office CD “into” the tray and then closed the tray. And now the CD is trapped inside the drive.
After even more questioning, she says that she just placed the disk lightly into the tray, the same way she would with her past PCs
Then I realise she didn’t “click” the CD fully onto the spindle, and the CD came loose once the drive tried to spin up the CD…
So now the CD is loose inside the drive, and its probably jamming the tray and/or the eject mechanism.
And the customer insists she did nothing wrong, and that I sold she a PC with a “very fragile” CD drive.
So I get her to lay the tower flat (so the CD drive/tray is horizontal), and to try ejecting it again… but that also doesn’t work.
As a last resort, I ask her to find a paper clip, straighten it out, and to carefully push it into the tiny “eject” hole near the eject button.
She say she will call back, once she finds a paper clip, and tries it out.
I also suggest that she gently shake main PC (while the power is off).
She doesn’t sound very happy when I give her the worst case scenario: replace the drive with a similar one, and dismantle the “broken” one, in order to get the CD out.
After about an hour, she calls back and says she managed to get it open.
I once again ask her to make sure the CD is clipped in firmly, before closing the tray.