"You have inserted a Blank DVD" – Opening discs from Windows on a Mac

A few times in my life, I've received DVD-Rs or CD-Rs that a Windows user burned and gave to me, and popped them in my Mac, only to receive a message, "You inserted a blank DVD [or CD]. Choose an action from the pop-up menu or click Ignore."

The problem is, there's no way to read the data from the disc on the Mac; you can try burning stuff onto it or simply ignoring it, but you can't read the pictures off the disk. I checked the data side of the disc, and, sure enough, there's a different color band where data was written. But it's a no-go on the Mac.

The problem here is that Microsoft/Windows decided to implement it's 'Drag to Disc' file copying feature in a somewhat annoying way; people with Windows computers can copy individual files to a burnable disc, eject the disc, and put it back in and copy more files to it. But they can't delete files from the disc, and this kinda breaks the way write-once media is supposed to work. (To Windows users: Make sure that you finalize/burn the disc completely before you hand it off to someone. Otherwise only Windows users can read the files).

Removing a Stuck Disc (CD/DVD) from a Mac - EVERY Way Possible

CDMost of the time, I'm extremely happy with Apple's decision to make all their physical media (CD/DVD) drives slot-loading, as it means there's one less part to accidentally break off my Mac, and it just looks so darn pretty! But every now and then, I have a hellish experience with the drive. This usually happens when:

  • A CD/DVD disc is warped or really thick (like most discs with homemade labels)
  • I'm given a mini CD (business card size) or DVD (this rarely happens anymore)
  • A CD/DVD is way out of balance... usually it's just slightly warped

That's the hardware side. Sometimes, I just want to get a dratted disc out of the computer, but dragging it to the trash, or pressing the 'Eject' key won't work. Often a dialog pops up and says "the disc is in use" (but it doesn't specify what application is using it!), or worse, there is no error—the disc just won't come out.

Here are the steps I usually take in trying to eject a CD or DVD—in order from least likely to damage the disc and/or my Mac, to most likely... always try the steps in order!

Ripping Movies from Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and DVD, Getting them onto Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, etc.

DVD to iPhone Apple TV and iPad - Ripping

Note: The guide below still applies, but you can now rip and convert Blu-Ray movies directly in Handbrake if you download MakeMKV (don't even need to run it) then run the following commands in Terminal.app:

<br />
cd ~<br />
mkdir -p ~/lib<br />
ln -s /Applications/MakeMKV.app/Contents/lib/libmmbd.dylib ~/lib/libaacs.dylib<br />
ln -s /Applications/MakeMKV.app/Contents/lib/libmmbd.dylib ~/lib/libbdplus.dylib<br />

Also note that iDentify is no longer maintained; I usually use the free MetaZ application to edit metadata before importing into iTunes nowadays.

For many years, I've been in search of the 'digital nirvana,' where all my videos, songs, and photos were accessible on any device, anywhere, at any time, without having to do a complicated digital dance with wires and different sychronization tools.

I am getting ever closer to the realization of that dream... today I will introduce you to a few tools I use to help me get all my videos (be they plain old DVDs or newer high definition Blu-Ray discs [edit: I found I can even rip HD-DVDs on my Mac too!]) converted and stored on my computer so I can play them on my computer, my iPhone, my iPad, my Apple TV, my Xbox 360, a Playstation 3, and do so from anywhere in the world.

There are a few key applications you need before you can do this on your own - I'll describe the programs you need for each step of the process, and how to do everything you need to do to get your videos digitized and readily accessible.