Portable computers are lovely, but delicate. We see and service many machines with physical damage, and can often repair machines for literally $1000 less than Apple’s flat rate damage repairs; some of the most common damage we see is with pinched optical drive slots. This is caused when the user picks up his or her machine with one hand, gripping the computer tightly right where the drive slot is. This is probably the weakest area of the whole machine. The torque and force from lifting and holding the unit parallel to the floor is huge, and can result in a completely occluded slot.

This damage is not covered by AppleCare! For MacBooks, the entire bottom case must be replaced, as the bezel is not a separate part. This is quite labor intensive, as all the guts of the machine must be transplanted from one housing to another. It’s often most cost-effective to use a flathead screwdriver to pry the slot open just enough, taking care not to damage the actual drive mechanism.

The moral of the story is simply this: portables are delicate and should be handled with two hands at all times.



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