Forcibly eject CD on a PowerPC-based Mac

The Apple Mac has always been a piece of equipment heavily based around design. As a result, you end up with a beautiful piece of kit, but lacking in some simple functions; one of these being an eject button on the CD drive!

I have on numerous occasions found that I have inserted a bad CD, usually a bootable CD of some sort, and then found myself unable to eject the disc. The machine often enters an unresponsive state with some horrid noises coming from the CD drive.

In the event this happens, it is possible to eject the CD drive before we boot into Mac OS. If you have a PowerPC-based Mac, it will come loaded with a system called OpenFirmware. This is essentially the PowerPC Mac equivalent of a PC’s BIOS or EFI system.

To start with, shut the machine down, then turn it back on again. As you turn it on, immediately hold down ⌘ cmd + alt/option + O + F. Your fingers will probably look a little bit like this:

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Continue to hold these keys down until you get a screen that looks like below. The image below was taken on an Apple iBook G3. It may look slightly different between models, but should essentially end in a command prompt:

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At the command prompt, type eject cd, then hit return. An ok message should appear and the CD drive should forcibly eject itself.

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Once you have recovered your CD, enter mac-boot into the command line and hit return. This should then continue the normal boot process into Mac OS.

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