How To: Get your external Super Drive working in Lion : Macenstein

How To: Get your external Super Drive working in Lion

Every once in awhile I like to post a tip that will likely help only one other person on the planet. Today is such a time.

As some of you may know, I recently replaced my MacBook Pro’s internal SuperDrive with an SSD drive. I chose the MCE Optibay kit for both its ease of installation, and also because it included an external enclosure for my SuperDrive (basically turning my internal drive into an external USB-powered one), so on those rare occasions where I actually needed to burn or read a DVD, I could.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the day after upgrading to Lion I needed to rip something in Handbrake. This worked fine in Snow Leopard, so imagine my surprise (really, TRY to imagine it) when I popped in a DVD and got THIS message from the DVD Player App:

External Superdrive in Lion

What the?!? this worked fine in Snow Leopard!

“There was an initialization error. A valid DVD drive could not be found. [-70012]”
This error sucked for a couple reasons. First, this drive worked just fine in Snow Leopard – I didn’t have to do anything other than plug it in to get it to play a DVD. Second, it’s one of those error messages that really doesn’t give you any info or course of action other than to say “Crap. It looks like a hardware error, and what the hell am I supposed to do with that?” And Third, I knew it WASN’T a hardware error since the DVD Showed up on the desktop and in Finder – it was just that the DVD Player App couldn’t see it.

Well, luckily for me, I have many smart faithful readers, and luckily for YOU, I am going to tell you what I learned. Faithful Macenstein reader Jens pointed me to an article over at hardwrk that fixed my problem, and at the risk of plagiarism (and because their screenshots are in German and I want to get this info out there) here’s a quick run through of the steps to get Lion to recognize your now EXTERNAL, formerly internal, SuperDrive.

Step 1: You’re going to need to slightly modify the DVDPlayback framework on your Mac, and to do that, you need a Hex editor. Download 0xed. You’re basically going to do a “Find and Replace” on that file, changing all instances of the word “Internal” to “External”. But a regular text editor can’t do that.

Step 2: Back up the file /System/Library/Frameworks/DVDPlayback.framework/Versions/A/DVDPlayback by Option + dragging a copy to your desktop, or somewhere else on your computer. I then renamed the file by adding the word “ORIG” to the end. You should too. This is just so if you screw things up you can always put the original file back, but you’re not going to screw anything up.

Step 3: Open the file in 0xed. It should look like this:

External Superdrive in Lion - 0xed

Step 4: Hit Command + F (Find) or go to EDIT> FIND> FIND, and then type in “Internal” in the top FIND box, and type “External” in the bottom REPLACE box. I left “Ignore case” checked, and then hit REPLACE ALL.

External Superdrive in Lion - Oxed

Step 5: You probably won’t be able to save the file over itself, so you’ll need to do a SAVE AS. Save the file to your desktop (good thing you renamed your old version ORIG, right?). Now just drag that file back into the /System/Library/Frameworks/DVDPlayback.framework/Versions/A/ folder, overwriting the old file. (You may have to give your admin password to modify the file).

Step 6: That should be it. Try plugging in your external drive and verify that it works. If it still doesn’t, then, sorry. I got no other ideas. But it should.

External Super Drive in Lion

HOORAY! DVD Player now launches!

216 Responses to “How To: Get your external Super Drive working in Lion”
  1. gabbi carter says:

    Hi there, looks like this has worked for lots of people. I have a 10.6 and have snow leopard, and I can’t even seem to find the DVDplayback file that I need to copy, so I have already fallen at the first hurdle. If anyone has any advice about where I need to go to try and find the file which I need to open in 0xed I would really appreciate it. I have been told by Mac that I simply have to get over not being able to access CDs or DVDs on my computer any longer but it sounds like lots of other people have had similar problems and my DVD player is coming up with exactly the same message so I at least want to give it a bash.

    Any help much appreciated as I am a bit clueless when it comes to computers!!!



  2. Ralph says:

    Gabbi, Click on the Finder Icon at the bottom left of your screen. Look at the menu at the top of the screen and select “Go”. Then select “computer” and then “System”. Then follow the path explained and you will find the file.

  3. hp says:

    Thanks! I’ve used VLC to play DVDs and .dvdmedia files on my hard drive but it’s simpler to be able using DVD Player again. Cheers!

  4. Jens says:

    Don’t forget to run “Repair Disk Permissions” from Disk Utility when you’re done.

    Other than that, it worked great for me. Thanks!

  5. SuperSerialNick says:

    Thank you Dr. Macenstein and danka to the Germans.

    I have MBP with Mountain Lion and I had the same error after adding a second hard drive. 0xed worked great, and the fix took 1 min.

  6. Ralph says:

    I did not run “Repair Disk Permissions” and all was well. After reading your comment (Jens) I ran it. It rewrote the file back to the original and I had to make the Oxed change all over again.

  7. Maxim Behar says:

    Excellent. Easy to manage and it works! Thanks a lot.

  8. Andres says:

    As another user wrote, big THANK YOU you Dr. Macenstein and danka to the Germans!

    I wasn’t able to get 0xed to work for me, but Hex Fiend (available here worked great — thanks HexFiend!

    Much appreciated!!

  9. Ron says:

    Worked like a charm.

  10. Cristiano says:

    It works!!! I’m on a MacBook Pro Early 2011 with Mac OS X 10.8.3.

    Thanks too much, great work and thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  11. Malia says:

    I just couldn’t figure out why no external dvd drive would work with my older MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard. My internal drive is broken. Thanks so much for posting this! It worked perfectly!

  12. Thank you! This I was looking for about four hours …

    I upgraded my 17 inch MacBP (and we 17 inchers have to wait years again, or for ever, because Apple decided to build only toys) with fusion drive, and to Mountain Lion (clean install). Obviously my DVD Player was not working anymore, because the internal drive is replace with the FusionDrive. And I was looking really in every DVD-Player-Flie and looked after some keywords. Macenstein saved me the day 🙂

    Only annoying thing is, that I have had to decide for a region (2 – Europe)
    I have many US DVDs and Russian DVDs in my collection (1300 originals!). Now I will look further on, to get the Samsung Portable BD Writer SE-506 region free.

    Thank you again for this page …


  13. HakimCZE says:

    you are awsome! ‘ve been suffering with this after bying new macbook 13″ and replacing internal dvd with extra HDD. finaly i could watch my dvds without the need of buying player 🙂

  14. noella says:

    nope, it is not work. The external drive is still not recognized in finder and disk utility; dvd drive cant be found (still have error -70012), repair the permission and restart the MAC a few times, still not work. So irritated.

  15. Oliver says:

    Dude, you are awesome. Almost bought a Windows laptop since I primarily use the external as a conduit to rip CDs and DVDs onto an external HDD. I had been cleaning my DVDs thinking it was the scratches until I found your post. Much appreciated

  16. Mr. Ugly says:

    YOU ARE THE MAN!!!!!! WHAT A LIFE SAVER!!!!!!!! I was racking my brain for a week with this issue!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  17. Jeff Divine says:

    Worked for me on 10.8.4.

  18. Marbar says:

    Brilliant! Quick and easy solution to the problem. Thanks very much.

  19. ap says:

    Worked! Thank you! Extremely cool of you to post this.

  20. Tom says:

    Dude – this rocks. Totally fixed the problem with my MacBook 13 in Late 2008 not seeing the superdrive outside the machine. Appreciate you sharing. Now I’m going to go upload some photos from this CD I could see moments ago.

  21. Eddie says:

    You sir are a GOD! Thanks man you rock. Fixed my issues with a 15 inch late 2011 macbook pro!!! Cheers and many happy returns!

  22. Paulo says:

    You saved my day…THANKS!!!!!

  23. Stephanie L. says:

    Thank you, Thank you!! I’m so happy this worked. I’m so computer illiterate, my stomach was in knots the whole time I was doing it, for fear I would break the computer, but it working awesome!! Thanks again.

  24. Oldog says:

    I used this method on Mountain Lion and it has worked, Thanks for the problem solving.

  25. natasha ratna says:

    Thank you so much!! I’m so happy it works. I don’t really want to get a new mac just because the dvd player stops working. I can watch DVDs again now. Thank you for sharing.

    Btw, as the internal drive stops working, I can’t view picture/software/audio cds either, using the external drive. Would you by any chance know if some other framework needs changing as well?

    Many thanks!

  26. Hailu says:

    Thanks My Friend work like a champ.

    Just one more thing I have to do after replacement and save.

    File should be a Unix Executable File, that for some reason save is done as a Plain Text file.

    Open Terminal.

    chmod +x
    …with a space at the end (and do NOT press enter yet).

    Then, drag the file you want to change from the Finder and drop it on top of the Terminal window. The file path and filename should automatically fill in (and you should ensure that there’s a space between “+x” and the file path).

    Press enter.

  27. Jools says:


    Having a few problems. My CD drive is not being recognised. It’s no where to be found on my mac. The eject button doesn’t work and it’s a no show in disc utility. I thought this might of been the key to fix it but unfortunately it was not. Anyone got any ideas as to why my mac isn’t playing ball.

    Many thanks.

  28. Kelly says:

    Worked PERFECTLY with a MacBook Pro 9,1 and Mac OS X 10.8.5. Thanks!

  29. Brigit Otero says:

    Thanks for that! Worked like a charm.

  30. John says:

    Superdrive in my Macbook pro 2007 (10.7.5) broke so got SSD, moved HD to superdrive and thought I was going to have to live without a DVD drive, but this worked perfectly on an (old) LG GE20LU10 DVD rewriter. Thanks – the Mac now performs like it did 5 years ago – only issue being can’t upgrade to Mavericks:(

  31. macman says:

    Does not work with 10.9 cannot find internal or 96E7465726E616C doh.

  32. Mac Hack says:

    I can confirm this works on Mavericks 10.9 and Apple USB SuperDrive.
    17″ MacbookPro 5,2 (2009)
    2 x SSD (Replaced optical drive).

    Only difference is I used the Finder/Go/Go to Folder
    and entered “/System/Library/Frameworks/DVDPlayback.framework/Versions/A/DVDPlayback”
    to get to DVDPlayback file to be edited.

    This also helped:
    How to make the USB SuperDrive work with any Mac.

  33. Ben says:

    Thanks so much! This worked like a charm. I never post comments, but that’s how perfect your solution is. Thanks again!

  34. Mike says:

    Lifesaver! Thanks for this post, you saved my ass here!

  35. Romeo Buzancic says:

    Thank you…Thank you…Thank you. Very simple, fast, and effective fix. I spent hours and hours trying to find the fix before I found yours. Gratefully yours…Romeo B.

  36. Steve Jordan says:

    Thanks Sir! You are a life saver! I am on Mavericks 10.9.1 and couldn’t get my external USB superdrive working after I did the SSD swapout with the superdrive. This technique fixed me right up and relatively easy to do.

    Thanks again,


  37. Eric Reyes says:

    Freakin amazing! I installed and a 1TB Samsung SSD in my main hard drive slot and moved my old hard drive into my DVD slot and moved my DVD to an external DVD case and it would never work with movies, only software disks. I tried this trick but at first, this did not work because OxED was saving the file as a text file and not a unix file. I was perplexed until I read the comments and found the tip to use Terminal to change the saved file to a Unix file. I have never used Terminal before and I had no clue what I was doing, but I just followed the steps to a T and it worked. It took two tries with Terminal. The comment mentioned “Code:” so I typed that along with the rest and it didn’t work. I tried it again and this time just typed
    chmod +x (with a space after the x) then dragged and dropped the saved dvd file from my Desktop into Terminal and hit enter. Worked great. Thank you. I have my DVD player back. I also had to play around with some permissions and I had to remove the original file completely from the “A” folder, before I dropped the new file back in. Took a little work, but I am back up and running. Thanks to all who contributed to this and yet OWC definitely needs to have all this in their manual or even provide a disk or software download that does this automatically.

    Open Terminal.


    chmod +x
    …with a space at the end (and do NOT press enter yet).

    Then, drag the file you want to change from the Finder and drop it on top of the Terminal window. The file path and filename should automatically fill in (and you should ensure that there’s a space between “+x” and the file path).

    Press enter.

  38. chad says:

    I have a hackintosh build (sorry can’t justify spending $3000 on an official pro, mainly cause i’m poor haha) and my internal asus drive worked with all apps except for the DVD Player app.
    followed the directions exactly and now the dvd player app works.


  39. M.Cox says:

    Wow. Just tried this on my MacBook Pro 17 (early 2011) running Mavericks with an external Samsung Blu-ray RW drive. Worked like a champ!

  40. Andrew says:

    Huge thanks, this worked for me and very easy to follow your steps. I am using 10.9.1

  41. Phil says:

    Beautifully explained. Dr. Macenstein is a master of brevity. Thanks.

  42. dlaebe says:

    thank you so much. between you dr macenstein, ralph and jens, i now have a DVD player that works again. running ‘repair disk permissions” didn’t overwrite the DVD framework fix. it’s all working perfectly. thanks again

  43. Bob Pelt says:

    Your step by step guide on how to fix a broken DVD player on a MacPro that is using external drives was perfect, and should be considered the “Gold Standard” on how to explain how to fix a problem. No unnecessary information, great visuals and a touch of encouragement. Apple should hire you to do their support, they didn’t have the answer, not even a hint of how to fix this problem. Everyone that is using external drives and upgrading the OS X (I had just upgraded to Maverick) is going to run into this.

    Thanks again.

    Bob Pelt

  44. Ed Huffman says:

    Just did the trick on a Mavericks OSX 10.9.2 fresh upgrade. I also did File / Get Info on the “DVDPlayback Orig” file and compared the Info on the new changed file and adjusted the security to match the “DVDPlayback Orig” as close as possible. Works great.

    Thanks Much

    • roger says:

      How did you find the file in Mavericks? I’m not seeing a folder named Frameworks.

      • Ed Huffman says:

        Start looking at the Boot Drive level not at the User account level. Start looking here (in my case) “Macintosh HD/System/Library/Frameworks/DVDPlayback.framework/Versions/A/DVDPlayback”

  45. Jon says:

    Thank u!! it’s perfectly working.!

  46. shark says:

    Worked great, thanks!

  47. Jen says:

    I also do not have a DVDplayback.framework in Library/Frameworks/. Any suggestions?

  48. Robert says:

    Great! This works a treat. I have a mid-2011 27″ iMac. To install an SSD, I had to remove the original SuperDrive. After placing the drive in an external enclosure, I got that “invalid DVD drive” error message. I tried several other solutions to no avail. This solution was easy and very quick.


  49. David says:

    Worked like a charm. You put Samsung to shame. Thanks ever so much.

  50. Pete says:

    Question – how do I make the USB superdrive the default CD burner for I-Tunes? Thanks! -Pete

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