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. David says:

    This worked for me as well. I replaced the dead internal optical drive in my 27″ iMac with an SSHD drive and I was getting the same initialization error. Running 10.9.4. Thanks so much!

  2. Peter Lim says:

    I normally don’t comment on anything but this was by far the clearest and simplest set of instructions. After hours upon hours of failed efforts, within a matter of minutes my problem was solved and I’m now able to use my SuperDrive that I enclosed in a USB drive on my 2009 MBP. Best part was the step by step instructions for 0eED! Thanks!

  3. Suzy says:

    Hi, Can you please help me- I dont know how to find “System/Library/Frameworks/DVDPlayback.framework/Versions/A/DVDPlayback”. Where is this? I downloaded OxED, but dont know how to search for the system library thing.


    • B Carter says:

      You have to go to your hard drive and open the System folder, then the Library Folder, etc for each “/” until you get to the DVDPlayback file.

  4. B Carter says:

    Saved me! Everything worked after my SSD upgrade except the DVD Player App (could have watched them in VLC worst case). Thank you for helping to get my external Super Drive working again in 10.6.8 (old school). For those who are trying to do the same, you may also need to type the following into your terminal window:
    sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″

  5. P McKay says:

    Thank you posting this straightforward and easy to understand solution. It worked perfectly for me!

  6. I have a 2008 iMac and the internal drive died a long time ago. So I bought an external dvd/cd writer. I(t worked okay until a while back.

    Today I found and tried both suggestions listed here and I still cannot burn a cd!

    H E L P ! ! !

  7. Gunnar says:

    Thank’s to you and to Jens Work lika a charm 🙂

  8. Mike says:


    I replaced my internal DVD Superdrive with another SSD drive in my Macbook pro. I bought the external version of the superdrive from apple only to find out it wouldn’t work. So now (with your hack) I have a raid 0 1TB drive in my macbook and a working external DVD superdrive. Thanks

  9. Seabuoy says:

    Glad I came here for help with this. Step by step instructions were pretty much fail proof. I’ll be perusing the rest of the site and checking here first for any technical assistance. Thanks.

  10. Brendon says:

    Thanks, this worked so smoothly; thank you for such clear instructions! I replaced my SuperDrive with an SSD: 15″ mid 2010 MacBook Pro, OSX 10.10.1, and couldn’t get it to connect externally…but now, no problem!

  11. Mehmet says:

    This really worked for me too. Thank you very much for the simple and such clear instructions. I replaced my SuperDrive with an SSD: 13? mid 2010 MacBook Pro, OS X 10.10.1. I have no problem.

  12. Mika Salakka says:

    Can confirm that this works beautifully and flawlessly for Yosemite 10.10.1 on a Mackintosh machine.

    Thank you for this article, it has saved me a lot of time and headache.

  13. Jennifer says:

    The only thing I haven’t been able to figure out is how to open the dvdplayback file in 0xED. Is it done through that app or through finder? Sorry I’m brand new to Mac, kinda miss Windows, but this is a new adventure, love it!

  14. Rafe C says:

    Thanks a lot!! It worked perfectly on MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2011) running Yosemite 10.10.2

  15. Eric R says:

    Thank you! Well written/easy to follow instructions. Worked great on my MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2010) running Yosemite 10.10.1.

  16. David says:

    It hasn’t worked for my macbook pro 13″ early 2011. The thing is that 0xED isn’t saving the file modified as an executable but as a plain text document. Then I have to modify it to be an executable but I think the result is not the same. How do you save it as an executable with 0xED??

    Thanks in advanced!

    • ray says:

      Hi David
      I just fixed mine the trick is to change the original not the copy.
      oh and thanks for the hack.

      • Ed says:

        Just did this too on 2009 iMac/Yosemite 10.10.4 where I’d taken out the old superdrive and put in an SSD, with a USB Superdrive newly added too.

        I had tried to work on the copied version and thought I’d move it into place. Did that and got a different kind of notice, replaced the source and was back to the first error notice -70012, and restarted after each. Hated life until I read Ray’s comment here.

        No need to do fancy saves on a copy. Open the source version in the editor and save it plain and simple from there, and bingo! No restart.

    • Anne says:

      Dear David,
      the problem you are describing here is same as mine, have you received helpful answer yet? I would seriously appreciate a working external DVD player.
      I have replace the original internal DVD player with a SSD and hope to be able to use the original DVD as external. So far no luck…

      Looking forward to your reaction,

  17. Pooley says:

    Works well with most external DVD drives but not with an apple drive. Probably not enough power at the USB point.

  18. Bob says:

    I have used this for other versions in Macbook Pro. Upgraded to Yosemite but cannot find these files — went through all under frameworks. I run an external, having two SSDs. Any ideas?

  19. Robert says:

    Anyone able to get this to work in OS X 10.11 public beta? Public Beta 5 updated recovery utility to not have security configuration utility any longer and rootless is not able to be disabled, and whenever I try to drag the new file into place I get a gray symbol saying that it can not be moved there.

  20. Michael Murray says:

    worked for me with Mid 2011 iMac running OSX Yosemite 10.10.5 – TY!

  21. Olivier J Pimont says:

    In January I replaced the internal disk on my mid 2011 macbook pro with a SSD and decided to remove the DVD reader and place it in an external enclosure then use the slot for an additional disk. The Macbook pro ran Yosemite, naturally when I tried to launch the DVD player I got the ” A valid drive could not be found” error message… The problem was solved using the method described by Dr Macenstein… Sadly the problem resurfaced after i updated to El Capitan. The DVDPlayback file is no longer in the same place… What can we do?

    • Guillermo says:

      I confirm what Olivier said here : after updating to El Capitan, the DVDPlayback is no longer in the same place. Someone knows what to do in this case?

  22. TS2 says:

    Good article, still trying to figure out how to delete or move the old file so the I can replace it with the newly created one.

  23. A Dart says:

    I have 10.10.5 (Yosemite) and I confirmed this method works on a late 2011 Macbook pro 17″ w/external USB->ATA cable dvd superdrive.

  24. Johnnyrains says:

    Yeah, I am having the same issue. After a little digging around, it appears El Capitan has a new “rootless” file system, which means that there are some files that are completely out of reach – you can’t change permissions on any System files aka the one we are trying to change. I am trying to figure this one out, but if anyone has any ideas???

  25. Johnnyrains says:

    I’m no superuser, but this helped me disable the rootless thing, and now my external drive works like a champ.

  26. Tony says:

    I replaced my dvd drive with an SSD and this no longer works with El Capitan. Apple’s SIP will not allow you to replace the file with a modified version.
    Genius Bar tells me El Cap has updated my firmware — and there no going back, even if I go back to Yosemite or Maverick. I guess I could remove my HD and replace my dvd drive into the machine, which is what the Mac is looking for. Just seems like expense upon expense.

  27. Stacey says:

    Awesome work Dr. Macenstein! I was utterly incredulous upon realising that my MacBook would not support an external optical drive but thanks to you all is now well. However, I still cannot run a SuperDrive which I borrowed for the test. I also put the code into Terminal kindly posted by B Carter.

    Current setup:

    MacBook Pro 13″ mid 2012
    2.5 GHz Intel core i5

    Hard drive replaced with SSD and old HDD put in to optical bay with caddy purchased from eBay

    External optical drive – Samsung SE-208

    Thanks again


  28. Joanna says:

    In El Capitan overwriting the old dvdplayback file is not allowed. I can’t use my Samsung SE-218 on my Macbook pro. Any ideas?


  29. Lud says:


    It worked with my Macbook Pro 😀


    Marry me please

  30. MervynG says:

    Great solution. Worked for me. Of course I had to unearth that it was the installation of an SSD into the Superdrive slot, and thus making the device external, that was in fact the cause. That took half a day with false permissions and drive repairs attempts! BTW, I typed an upper case ‘I’ as you put in your text (as opposed to the lower case ‘i’ in the window screenshot).

  31. Alex says:

    I’m using a 2011 MBP on Sierra and even disabling Rootless, then switching in the modified file doesn’t help.

    I’m getting rather tired of Apple sitting down ahead of each software release and flipping coins to decide which hardware to needlessly kill off.

  32. LeslieL says:

    I did it, can’t believe I did it. I would not have attempted it without your clear and perfect instructions. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  33. Brian says:

    Just did an upgrade on my mid 2010 iMac27 adding another SSD for editing. Though I used the Super Drive rarely I still have stock music on disk so I tried the suggested mod. It did not work, on the original and on a duplicate. running Yosemite 10.10.5. Followed the instructions to the letter. FIrst attempt I noticed the saved file was not the same format as the original so I made another copy of the original (which I had re-named as suggested) on the desktop. I then modified it with Oxed and replaced the previous attempt. Still no go.Plug drive in and hear it cycle and nothing. What did I miss?

  34. Spencer says:

    I cannot open Oxed on my 2015 Macbook Air! It downloaded, but will not open.

  35. Spencer Iacono says:

    I’ve downloaded Oxed but it wont’t open.

  36. bill says:

    I got this to work today but it required more steps than listed, probably because Apple has tightened things up in Sierra. I’m using the latest (10.12.6).
    I was able to modify and save the file to the desktop as described but could not under any circumstance move the modified file from the desktop to /System/Library/Frameworks/DVDPlayback.framework/Versions/A .
    The way I got around this was to restart and boot to a different hard drive with an older version of mac OS. (this might have worked with a drive with same version of the OS, I think the trick is that your not changing files on the active drive.) I then opened the drive i’m trying to modify and was able to move the files as described.
    Rebooted back my original boot drive and it worked. I can now run dvd player using either of my 2 external bluray/dvd drives.

    • Peter says:

      Many, many thanks! This helped me also. Since High Sierra the modification of the file DVDplayback seems indeed impossible. Luckily i also had an OSX El Capitan installation lying around on a external disk, with which i could simulate your trick!

  37. Mark says:

    This didn’t work for me to use my superdrive either. Not sure why, but even with a powered USB hub it didn’t work.

  38. Santi says:

    Not working for me. I modified the file with OxEd with no problems, but I’m unable to substitute the old file. When looking at the File Info it says I only can read even though I’m using an Administrator account.
    I would appreciate any help.
    Thank you in advance.

  39. Peter Hitching says:

    Hi thanks for help, but it doesn’t work, I have High Siera 10.13.4 Did all the changing of internal to external fine. But save as just saves it as a text file not Unix Executable. Found how to change file format on net. Now after rebooting the dvd icon appears in dock but at same time dreaded no valid dvd notice appears. any ideas Please

  40. Peter Hitching says:

    Further:- Success!! many thanks, I realised that I was changing the system file on the non startup drive, changed the one on start up file and lo and behold it works!! still needed to change text file to unix executable file by using the command
    in terminal chmod +x (space between the d and + also space after x) DO NOT PRESS Enter – then drag text file onto teminal. THEN press enter

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