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Broken SuperDrive? Enable remote disc sharing on any Mac

Broken SuperDrive? Enable remote disc sharing on any Mac

If your Mac’s CD/DVD drive is dead, you might not have to get a replacement or external drive. All you need is another Mac or Windows PC on your local network so you can remotely access its drive from your Mac.

As one of the few components of a computer that still physically spins (along with the hard drive), optical drives are prone to breakdowns and occasionally stop working. A Mac’s SuperDrive is expensive to replace, though, and you may not use an external drive often enough to make it worth the money. This puts you in a tough spot when you need to access files or software on a disc.

When the MacBook Air was first introduced in 2008 without a CD/DVD drive, Apple included software that could remotely access another computer’s disc drive instead. As long as it is on the same local network (wired or wireless), any Windows PC or Mac could serve as a host device. Even though this remote disc sharing feature isn’t configured to work out of the box on other Macs, it is hidden and can be unlocked on any Mac running 10.5 and above with the following steps.

Preparing your drive-less Mac

First, your Mac with the dead SuperDrive needs to be configured for remote disc sharing. It’s a fairly simple process. Just open Terminal (Applications > Utilities) and run the following command on one line:

defaults write EnableODiskBrowsing -bool true

Press Enter and then do the same for this command:

defaults write ODSSupported -bool true

Now that both lines have been executed in Terminal, restart your Mac. We can now move on to the other computer on the network with a functioning disc drive.

Preparing the host device

If the computer you’re going to use as a disc drive host is a Mac, it couldn’t be easier to set up. Go into System Preferences, click the Sharing tab, and check the box next to “DVD or CD Sharing”. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to enable the “Ask me before allowing others to use my DVD drive” setting. Insert a CD or DVD to share.

Remote disc sharing on a Mac

If you’re sharing the optical drive of a Windows PC (XP SP2 or above), you must download and install a small file from Apple’s website. Once installed, this program adds a “DVD or CD Sharing Options” section to the Control Panel where remote disc sharing can be enabled. Insert a CD or DVD to share.

Remote disc sharing from Windows PC

Accessing the shared disc drive

Back to the Mac with the faulty SuperDrive, open Finder and notice how “Remote Disc” is now listed under Devices in the sidebar. Click here and your shared host device will appear. You will have to click the “Ask to use…” button in the upper-right corner of the window if that option was enabled during setup. Otherwise, the CD or DVD and its content should be mounted in Finder just like it was in your Mac’s own optical drive. You can’t watch movies this way, but you can install software, view and copy files, etc.

DVD or CD Sharing on a Mac

10 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

I am using my PC to use cd dvd sharing to my new macbook air, I installed everything but when my PC ask me if I want to give permission to use its dvd drive and i clicked accept it expolse the dvd from the pc.

i really appreciate your help

Worked like a charm until the last step, until I tried to access the disc from my driveless Mac. In the finder window, I get the “waiting for disc” message indefinitely…

If anyone can help me out i’d appreciate it much.

Thanks so much!

I just replaced my optical disk with a 2nd HDD, it’s a pre unibody macbook pro. [my main is now a 120g SSD, My original 120 in the optical bay] [warning if you do this, there are specific pre and unibody sleds, both are sata inside, but pre unibody has a pata connection on the outside. unibody is sata in and out.]

But back to the thanks! I got everything put back together and followed apples instructions for setting up DVD sharing, nowhere do they suggest that you would ever need to do anything other than have a min of osx 10.4xx, and click share on drive equipped unit. I did not see the remote disk option under devices. a quick google search found this! works perfectly now.

Apple help, Fail.

i was about to shed tears. worked like a charm :) thanx

So much thanks!

Worked great on 2.26 GHz core 2 duo unibody running 10.6.8. Thanks!!!

My superdrive only likes certain discs. This worked perfectly. Thanks much.

oh my god thanks so much man i almost got stuck at the waiting for dic spot but i clicked back on disc sharing in the sidebar and it was all good thanks a bunch

How do i disable it after i did what i needed to do?

Thank you so much! This really helped me.

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