Q&A: mini-CDs in slot-loading optical drives

Q I am after some Parish Registers that are only available on mini-CD format. Can I put these into the slot-loading optical drive in my iMac?

A You are recommended not to use mini-CD disks in any slot-loading optical drive. Sometimes you can be really lucky and get them to work, but when they get stuck in the drive you will have to take your iMac to an Apple engineer to have the disk removed, which is costly. If you are really unlucky, the disk can damage the drive, landing you with the even greater cost of having the drive replaced too.

Tray-loading optical drives normally cope well with small and non-standard optical media, and many have special inner insets in the tray to load mini-CDs. However even they may get into trouble with non-circular or warped disks; those were a brief vogue before they ate many good optical drives.

You might also point out to whoever provided these mini-CDs that they have always had problems, save little or no cost, and are a pain in the bum. If you are really stuck, you should consider a cheap tray-loading external optical drive. At least if that becomes damaged you will not lose your Mac.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 25 issue 19, 2008.