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Why is my Optical Drive rejecting discs?

I have been having this issue with my Macbook Pro for a while now. When I inherited it from my brother, I was told that if I could fix it, I could have it. I replaced the hard drive and went to install the OSX back onto it and the optical drive stopped working...for a while it would still work if I tipped it on a 45 degree angle and run it, however this soon quit working as well. Now I am stuck with a MacBook with no operating system and no optical drive. Help!

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If it was working a little bit after you installed the HD then you have a chance here in saving it.

Often the optical lens in the unit gets dirty so it can't see the disk and it then assumes the disk is bad which is why it ejects it. See if you can get a CD/DVD head cleaning disk which has a very small brush on its surface that can clean the lens. Also a small blast of can'ed air might also clean the rails if they are dirty. Just be careful not to spray the liquid out.

If that fails its time for a new optical drive. These aren't too expensive used, take a look on eBay, just make sure its for your model. Follow the IFIXIT guide on how to do it.

If you still want to get your OS installed without fixing the optical drive, I'm sure you have a friend with a Mac or can make your way to an Apple Store. Just make an appointment with the Genus Bar and have proof you have a copy of the OS (Apple logo'ed CD/DVD). In any case they can even get you up to Mavericks (the latest OS as its free).

If you use your friends Mac take your OS CD/DVD with you and a 16GB USB thumb drive. Prep the drive to be bootable using your friends system. Then copy over the installer files to the drive. You should then be able to boot up your MacBook Pro using the thumb drive and install the OS.

An alternative way is using a network cable or FireWire cable to interconnect the two Macs setting yours up in Target mode. It will then look like an external HD to your friends Mac and you can then install the OS that way.

Update

You could be having a few problems here:

As is the internal optical drive is still working you have a confused system as it's expecting the disk to be in that drive. The best thing here is to disconnect the internal drive so the system is not confused.

But you have another problem here as well!

The Mac OS-X you are trying to install is too old for your system. This version does not come with the needed drivers your system is expecting. You need to get Snow Leopard (10.6.3 or newer)

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I tried getting an external optical drive to see if that would work. I borrowed the install discs for Mac OS X 10.5 (2007) and once I reach the point where I can select the disc, my machine freezes and does nothing until I force shut down and try it again. I don't know what's going on, but at this point I am getting restless...I haven't had my MacBook in almost a month and I really need it for school. Any suggestions? I cleaned the disc, I have cleaned the drive...I am at a loss and I don't have the money for someone else to fix it for me.

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Do you have a FireWire cable and does your friend have a newer OS-X running on his system (10.6.3 or newer). If he does connect the two systems via the FireWire cable then follow this Apple TN Target Disk Mode disregard the OS-X version info in the TN its' the same with the older OS's as well once your system is in target mode you can launch the OS installer from your friends system and then install the OS onto your systems HD. In fact you can down load Mavericks for free! and your system is new enough to install it.

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