Macbook won't read data CDs via Superdrive

Cory Cooper

May 19, 2004
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I understand people's frustration, but at some point things in the computer world are put out to pasture. Because of the ever-evolving speed at which things change, as well as updates/new technology for security purposes, a 5+ year run is really good. HFS is ancient in comparison.

HFS was introduced in 1985, and replaced by HFS+ in 1998. HFS actually lasted until support for formatting/writing it was dropped in 2011 with Snow Leopard. That's a 26 year run, which is pretty much unheard of these days.

I have a lot of old HFS/HFS+ discs myself, which I have been converting over to disk images and/or copying the data to one of my storage RAIDs, due to the CDs actually starting to deteriorate and not be readable. Some of those CD-Rs have the data layer actually flaking off and the disc is dead in the water.

Be well,

Aug 28, 2020
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Bad news all around, from my experience thus far.

I've narrowed it down to any data CD that is formatted HFS Standard (HFS+ data CDs seem to mount fine). I also have used Disk Utility to "see" the disk, but as soon as I try to mount it, I get the error 49153.

Not only on my Catalina (10.15.3) system, but also two or three customers on Catalina that have reported the issue with our CDs (thank goodness we can send them a download version as a workaround!)

I've heard that, so far, Apple Support isn't giving any indication of a forthcoming fix from Apple. Just silly workarounds.

Sorry that this is no help. I'd love to hear of a workaround that is actually useful!

Hi. Newbie here... just signed up to add my disgust at Apple and to ask a question. After technical help direct from Apple I too finally found out to my dismay that a multi-session disk backup of my font library could not be accessed as it was burned in HFS Standard format. Yes, I'm running Catalina and although Disk Utility sees both partitions on the disk it will not mount either - trying to mount brings up the disenter error 49153. Apple offered that possibly a firmware update to my Pioneer disk burner may solve the problem. But surely the problem is rooted in Catalina and not in the disk burner unless of course it is possible that some disc burners can translate formats on the fly? Obviously I don't want to purchase another burner to be stuck in the same position. Unless I can find another Mac running an older OS is it a lost cause?
Feb 28, 2020
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I’ve moved on from this problem but the Mac Geek Gab podcast just covered what looks like some potential solutions. I’ll post the show notes below. MGG, episode 830, 00:48:26 Paul-Reading HFS Media on Catalina, FuseHFS for OSXFUSE, CakeBrew.
good luck

MGG 830: Where's The Internet?
By Dave Hamilton & John F. Braun on Aug 24, 2020 04:26 pm
Sometimes you think you’re connected to the internet … but you’re not. It happens to John and Dave, too, and they talk through exactly what they’ve found to help solve it… and why! That’s not all, of course… your questions answered, your quick tips, and more. Press play and enjoy learning five new things!
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Note: Shownotes are in progress...Chapters/Timestamps/Stuff mentioned:
May 3, 2020
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Now you know what people are talking about when they say Apple builds in obsolescence. Apple is just plain lazy. They drop support for hardware and software as soon as they can. I can still run 30-year old apps on my Windows machine; I can't even go a few years back on my latest Apple Mac OS.

OK, I'm done ranting. Now, here is my solution.

If you don't already have it, buy Parallels. It allows running virtual machines on your Mac. You can run Windows, Linux and even old versions of Mac OS X. Now, you need an old version of Mac OS X. I went with Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server. This is the last version of Mac OS X that had Rosetta -- the built-in software that allows you to run PPC apps. So, on my 2019 Mac Pro, I can still actually run old Mac PPC apps from years ago. And I can read those HFS standard discs that Apple dropped support for.

I bought Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server while Apple was still selling it. Like everything else at Apple, they dropped it. However, you can still find copies on ebay.
Feb 28, 2022
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Thank you so much for the information on this thread!! I was able to finally get the content off of a 2003 Macromedia CD with both hfs and cd9660 fs options on there as you mentioned on page 1 of this thread. In macOS Catalina:

me# sudo su -
root# mkdir /Volumes/exportstuff/
root# diskutil list

/dev/disk2 (internal, physical):
0: CD_partition_scheme *286.7 MB disk2
1: Apple_partition_scheme 249.7 MB disk2s1
2: Apple_partition_map 1.0 KB disk2s1s1
3: Apple_HFS Content 235.1 MB disk2s1s2

(looking for content on "disk2s1s2", but mapped successfully to the partion map "disk2s1" in the below command)

root# mount -r -t cd9660 /dev/disk2s1 /Volumes/exportstuff/

root# ls /Volumes/exportstuff

...lists all my content. Able to copy it off :)

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