Shattering the odds....
According to most authorities, the odds of it happening are about 10,000 to 1. Guess what? I shattered those odds...literally.
Several days ago, I inserted a relatively old (but not so old) game CD in my three year-old Asus CRW-5224A CD writer. It was only starting to spin up as I walked away to tend to something else. Suddenly there was a loud bang.
The drive's access light started flickering and the CD tray extended by itself about a quarter of the way, then stopped. I peeked in the drive, expecting the worst, and it was what I had expected. The disc I just inserted seemingly disappeared from inside the drive. Actually it had just shattered into a gazillion pieces, rendering the drive tray mechanism stuck, and my drive trashed.
I've read about this happening before, and even watched an episode of Mythbusters exploring this phenomenon. I was always under the impression that its a rather infrequent occurrence. I guess if you use optical drives long enough, you're bound to experience it eventually. I've been using optical drives for about as long as they started becoming standard devices on PCs, which is more than ten years ago. Since then, I must have gone though thousands of CDs. I guess the odds finally caught up with me.
I powered down the PC, opened up the case, unplugged and unscrewed the drive, and pulled it out. Pieces of the CD were still rattling inside the drive. I dismantled it, and here's what the aftermath looked like:
In all likelihood, the drive could probably still be salvaged if all the pieces of the shattered CD are removed. I didn't have the time or inclination to do it though, so I just gave the drive to my sister. She has more patience when it comes to things like these.
Its a bit of a shame really. Asus optical drives are pretty rock-solid devices. If it weren't for this little incident, I'd probably be still using the drive for a few more years at the very least.
For a brief instant, I considered the prospect of purchasing a new CD writer. Then again, I realized that I already have a perfectly good CD writer built in my primary optical drive, a Toshiba SD-R5372 DVD writer. I guess I've just gotten used to the convenience of having two optical drives. Truth be told, given the massive storage space that most computers nowadays have, dual optical drives aren't really that much of a necessity anymore, unlike the old days when you had to free up space in a low capacity hard drive in order to hold even a single disc image. If you frequently burn or copy several CDs at at time, dual optical drives can be quite convenient. If you don't, you can easily get by with one. And you save some electrical power by running only a single drive in your PC.
So I just scrounged up a spare front bezel to cover up the hole in the front of my computer where the CD writer used to be (always keep the unused bezels from any PCs you build, you may need them later), and thats about it. Cheapest repair job. Ever. And looks neater too.
After the incident, I now subconsciously visually inspect every CD or DVD for cracks, scratches or gouges before inserting it into any optical drive. Maybe you oughta do the same too. If you're into computers as much as I am, it may just be a matter of time before the same thing happens to you. The odds may be against it, but it certainly doesn't hurt to play it safe.
Now if I could only shatter the odds once more and win the lotto. :-)