Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Stick a paper clip where?

Did you ever get a CD stuck in your CD-ROM drive? Nothing seems to work-you've pressed the button a million times, tried to open by right-clicking the drive and choosing "eject", maybe even contemplated using a screw driver to pry the thing open.

Before you take out the drive and try to surgically remove the disk, or worse, buy a new drive, try this simple little trick to manually open your disk drive tray.

  1. Unwind a paperclip.
  2. Stick it in the little hole on the drive tray, usually near the eject button.

You heard me right. There's a little hole you probably never even noticed. It's the manual release for the drive tray.

If you don't see the hole, it could be because the front panel of your computer is covering it. These panels are often removable, allowing you access to the hole. It is very small, and you may be feeling over it, and can't tell it's there. If necessary, get some sighted assistance. Hey, it's better than losing your drive.

My Zip Disk is Jammed

If you use zip disks, you may need the following tip to remove one that doesn't want to come out of the drive.

Before you do anything, you need to shut down your computer the proper way. Don't restart it, but actually power it down by selecting Shut Down (or Turn Off) from the Start menu. This will cut off all the power to the zip drive so it can reset itself. Let your computer sit for awhile and then turn it back on. Usually, the zip drive will eject the disk when the computer is started from a complete power down.

If that doesn't work, you guessed it, straighten out a paperclip and insert it in the little hole in front of the zip drive. Do this until you feel a spring-like resistance. Then push a little harder with the paperclip and with any luck, you will force the drive to eject the disk. The first method works the best, so make sure you try that first, because it will work about 99 percent of the time.

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