Is there a way to make a external optical drive appear to applications as though it were an internal SuperDrive? I am using the optical drive bay in my MacBook Pro for a secondary hard drive, and I would like to regain as much SuperDrive functionality as possible with the optical mounted via an external USB enclosure.

I'm familiar with the hack to allow DVD Player to play via an external drive, but other apps won't recognize the drive in exactly the same way as when it's mounted internally (VMWare Fusion and Handbrake immediately come to mind).

What's required with making a drive show up as a SuperDrive?

  • Have you checked that the interface board for whatever external drive you have is sending the correct information to the OS? So many external drives work just fine, it could be something specific to your external setup. System Profiler / System Information should show details on your hardware under Disc Burning as well as whatever interface you have it connected (USB/FireWire/other)
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 18:14
  • Have you checked if something like this might work for you - apple.stackexchange.com/questions/2830/…
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 18:28
  • @bojolais have you had this question answered? I am very interested in this as well. Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 4:48
  • No, I'm still stuck. Biggest inconvenience is not being able to BootCamp Windows via the external optical drive (a little different than the scenario I describe above, but a big pain for my MBP17).
    – bojolais
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


you can get this working by editing a plist file:

  1. open a new Terminal window

  2. edit: /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist

  3. Insert mbasd=1 in the <string></string> value below the <key>Kernel Flags</key>. If the string is not empty to begin with (it normally is) or doesn't exist (sometimes happens), then use a space to separate the mbasd=1 from what’s already there or create the entry.

The original solution was from Lukas Zeller's blog here

A Gist is available on GitHub for this change also.

  • For information, under ML my Mac Mini with a superdrive connected does not have this and I can see it absolutely fine.
    – Stu Wilson
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 7:05

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