external cd drive not recognized

mjbjohn

Registered
I just acquired a macbook that is running 10.4.11 and which has a optical
drive that no longer reads cds/dvds. I bought an external cd drive in order to
load snow leopard but the cd drive does not show up on the desktop.
The cd drive is a panasonic which is supposed to be compatible with mac os x.
The drive came with 2 usb cables one for data and one for power, both are plugged in. I don't know what the problem is or where to proceed from here.
This was supposed to be simple.
Thanks
 

DeltaMac

Tech
The drive doesn't do much of anything unless you have a disk in the drive.
When your external drive plugged in to your MacBook, click on the Apple menu, and choose About this Mac, and then click on the More Info button.
That should launch the System Profiler.
Click on USB from the list on the left. You should see your external CD drive listed as a USB device.
If you have a disk in the drive, click on the CD drive listing, and you should see information about the disk, too. And, you should see that disk appear on the desktop.
That's assuming that the finder settings are set to show a CD. That might even be turned off in the Finder Preferences.
 

mjbjohn

Registered
I opened system profiler and looked under usb but the device is not shown.
I have put in a cd but it doesn't show up on the desktop. Finder preferences are set to indicate that cds are to show up on the screen when loaded. What am I missing?
Thanks
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Try your external drive in a different computer. It doesn't have to be a Mac, and you need to find out if it does work on another computer.

It's also possible that the drive just doesn't get enough power from the USB ports. You would usually get a message that there's not enough power (or the device requires more power - or something similar to that).
 

mjbjohn

Registered
i tried it on my neighbors pc; both usb cables plugged into the powered usb hub and the computer immediately recognized the device. I tried plugging the usb data cable from the device into my laptop and the usb power cable into my powered usb hub and I get nothing. I am stumped.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Did you try other combinations of the two USB cables?
Power direct from the laptop, and data in the hub.
Both cables direct into the laptop.
Also (I have seen this work, though it makes little sense) plug both cables into the hub, with the hub power disconnected, and only the usb data from the hub to your laptop.

Does the drive seem to have power?
 

mjbjohn

Registered
Tried all that. Thought it might be the hub so bought a new one; no change.
Tried it again on my neighbors pc and it works fine. The box says pc/mac compatible; perhaps it isn't. Still stumped.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Keep in mind that the drive doesn't do much unless you have a CD/DVD of some kind, allowing the Mac to try to mount a disk.
That will be different from using the drive in a PC, where you can see the drive, likely even without a disk in the drive.

You didn't answer - Does there appear to be power on the drive when you plug the drive into your Mac? (Does the tray open and close, or if a slot-loading drive, can you insert and eject a disk? If there is a drive activity light, does that do anything when you insert a disk?)
 

mjbjohn

Registered
I have tried with a disk in the drive and the result is the same. The drive does show that it is powered but the drive does not show up in disk utility.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
I am most impressed by the fact that you say that the external drive does not show in your System Profiler, under the USB tab. If the drive has power, and is connected to a working USB port on your MacBook, then it should appear in your System Profiler (even if it doesn't appear as a valid device in your Disk Utility.)
Here's one way that I would verify this:
Leave the drive disconnected, and open the System Profiler/USB tab.
Plug in the drive to your MacBook (check that the drive actually has power), then press Command-R, which will refresh the device list. Watch for any changes in the USB listing, even if it doesn't appear to be a CD or DVD device.
Does the USB listing change in any way?
 

mjbjohn

Registered
it says USB to IDE. I tried it by connecting to the laptop directly and via the new hub and same change; the external drive is not listed and it still does not show up in disk utility
 

DeltaMac

Tech
I think what is happening is - your system is seeing the device, but there's no OS X support for that particular device interface - you can "view it, but not use it!", and without driver support, the interface does not pass through the actual drive information that you need.
You have an old version of OS X - 10.4 was replaced by 10.5 in the fall of 2007.
Could be that your external drive hardware may be compatible with OS X, but 10.5 or higher only.
 

mjbjohn

Registered
I ended up having to take it into an Apple Store where they loaded snow leopard on.
Now the external drive shows up and works fine.
Thanks for your help
 

peterr77

Registered
Try your external drive in a different computer. It doesn't have to be a Mac, and you need to find out if it does work on another computer
 
Last edited:

Ankita Arya

Registered
The drive doesn't do much of anything unless you have a disk in the drive.
When your external drive plugged in to your MacBook, click on the Apple menu, and choose About this Mac, and then click on the More Info button.
That should launch the System Profiler.
Click on USB from the list on the left. You should see your external CD drive listed as a USB device.
If you have a disk in the drive, click on the CD drive listing, and you should see information about the disk, too. And, you should see that disk appear on the desktop.
That's assuming that the finder settings are set to show a CD. That might even be turned off in the Finder Preferences.

I do see the drive's name and information under the USB tab of System Information, but how do i get to the CD itself?
 

Cheryl

Rosie Moderator
Staff member
Mod
I do see the drive's name and information under the USB tab of System Information, but how do i get to the CD itself?
Do you see the CD on your desktop? If not, Do you see the CD listed in the side bar in a finder window? Click on the CD name listed in the side bar. You should see the contents on it.
 
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