How to make an 80mm CD disappear

Recently I was informed that the DVD drive in our geography teacher’s computer had stopped working. Specifically, it had stopped reading DVDs and started making horrible clunking noises whenever a disc was inserted.

Our geography teacher is quite technology friendly, a trait I’ve noticed in a disproportionate number of geography teachers, so I had no reason to doubt him; even less so once I’d heard the noise for myself.

Assuming mechanical failure, I dutifully swapped the drive with that from the identical computer in the next room, confirming that the problem followed the drive in order to expedite the replacement process with Dell. It still made the horrible noise, but when opened the tray to confirm it still wouldn’t read a disc, this is what I saw:

Yes, this DVD drive had an acute case of “That Shouldn’t Be There”.

Upon extraction, it became obvious that the Thing That Shouldn’t Be There was an 80mm CD, and I then discovered that our geography teacher had invented an ingenious method of making any 80mm CD disappear without a trace:

  1. Insert 80mm CD into drive.
  2. Forget that you’ve put an 80mm CD in the drive.
  3. A couple of weeks later, rearrange your desk, and in doing so, turn your PC from its normal, flat desktop orientation to an upright, tower orientation.
  4. Press the eject button on the DVD drive.

Presto! With no hooks on the inner 80mm tray recess, the CD will fall out of the now vertical tray and become lodged in the drive, leaving you with an empty tray for you to load any new DVD onto, and your Network manager with a look of patronising amusement on his face when he discovers your masterpiece 2 months later.


About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

7 responses to “How to make an 80mm CD disappear”

  1. ScottishTech says :

    It makes a change from what I used to find in the DVD drives on the pupil PCs.

    The most impressive case of “That shouldn’t be there” is still a 30cm ruler lovingly folded and crammed into the poor unsuspecting drive. Curiously enough, the drive didn’t function even after extraction of the aforementioned foreign item.

    The drives have long since had the power yanked out of ’em with nary a support call logged, giving me a very good idea of how much they’re actually used (other than impromptu storage for stationery).

  2. Dangerous Dave says :

    This reminds me of an incident in one of our schools. A teacher rang in to complain that a Toshiba laptop had “eaten her CD-ROM”. I was dutifully sent out,and on opening the drive, found nothing.
    I looked with a small torch but couldn’t find any trace or shards of the Disc and, seeing as laptop CD drives are sealed units with no space behind, concluded that it couldnt have slipped out of the back of the unit when a second disc is inserted (I’ve had that before in a desktop PC).
    I thought another teacher had removed the CD while the first was elsewhere. I told the Headteacher so – she wasn’t happy, but accepted it and sent an email to all staff asking for the CD back.
    Now, a week later a colleague of mine visited the school and was also asked to look at the laptop. He very intelligently removed the CD drive – only to find the missing CD wedged on the top of the unit under the base of the keyboard. Basically the teacher had completely missed the drive tray!
    I’ll not forget that in a hurry

  3. ScottishTech says :

    Admit it – the laptop was being used at the Staff party, and someone drunkenly wedged their “Greatest Hits of Black Lace” (hence the smaller CD size) under the keyboard.

  4. Rich says :

    Heh, this is almost better than when I found a 3 1/2 floppy in there. Oh, those zany 3rd graders…

  5. techrage says :

    As a tech for our local school system, I must say this doesn’t shock me at all. Ever had a teacher place a work order reporting that their computer won’t turn on, and end up having to plug it in for them? This has happened to me on SEVERAL occasions. I swear they think to themselves, “Why should I even attempt to troubleshoot this myself, when I can just call up the tech who already has 10,000 things to do for the day to come plug my computer in for me!”

  6. Steve says :

    I did once open up one of our computer room machines and find about 5 CDs lying on the bottom of the case, along with a student ID card. The computer didn’t even have a CD drive but clearly the gap between 5.25″ blanking panels looked like a slot loader. No idea about the ID card though, and not a single person had ever asked to get them back.

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