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Info/Feedback on Superdrive Firmware Update 2.1 for MacBook/Pros
Posted: 6/27/2007
Reports last Updated: 7/27/2007 (more on drive problems afterwards)

This page is a catch-all for info and user feedback on the SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1 for MacBook/MacBook Pros:

" About SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1
The SuperDrive Update improves readability of certain CD media. The updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Please follow the instructions in the updater application to complete the update process.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later
  • MacBook Pro Core Duo (15 -inch 1.83GHz, 2.0GHz, or 2.16GHz)
  • MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo (15 -inch 2.16GHz or 2.33GHz)
  • MacBook Core Duo (13 -inch 1.83GHz or 2.0GHz)
  • MacBook Core 2 Duo (13 -inch 1.83GHz or 2.0GHz) "
  • Apple had no details on specific drive model(s) affected and I didn't dig into the pkg for it, but a reader did:

    " Looking inside the updater, looks like the updates are:

    AE38 -> AE39

    BE38 -> BE39

    HAC1 -> HAE4

    HBE4 -> HBEA

    KBV9 -> KBVB

    KCV9 -> KCVB

    regards, Andrew "

    According to some later feedback, there's also a HAE4 > HAEA Matshita UJ-857 update.

    MacBook/MacBook Pro owner Feedback on this update: (latest reports first)
    If your drive is updated, let me know the details (brand/model) and if you'd seen any problems previously and/or any improvements after the update.
    (NOTE: If you've not updated already, see reports below on some (not all) having unusable drives afterwards. And remember the old tips on OS X updates - quit running apps and do not use the Mac during the update process.
    Also after the update, check your login's Startup items (under System Prefs/User Accts) to see if the installer cleanup didn't finish and there's still an Updater item there. If so Delete it and reboot. Apple has now posted a doc on this titled SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1: "No Updatable Devices Found" alert)

    (added 7/27/2007)
    "I made the mistake of running the update, a whole few weeks after it was downloaded (it had downloaded and was just waiting for me to deal with it). Having never had a problem with Software Updates before I obliged and went through the steps without any issue.

    Since the update my Superdrive (MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-857) has been updated to firmware HBEA and refuses to deal with any blank media. CD- Rs will be recognized, however errors about unfocused lasers or other burning errors occur immediately once I begin. DVD-R's aren't even read. Prior to this update I could burn both kinds of media, with occasional glitches.

    The drive is also infinitely more picky about reading DVDs/CDs; it appears to only read commercially burnt/mastered media, and simply spins up and down and then ejects anything which as been burned by friends etc. Even among retail media it isn't consistent, and at times has trouble with even the Apple OSX install disc! Which is quite concerning, as I live in China currently and any major fixes will have to either go through a significant language barrier or involved some major shipping. This is my first Mac in a decade and Apple's online response (a drunken blackout) to the problem that clearly many are frustrated over has left me feeling like a switch BACK maybe be the only solution whenever its time for a new machine. Isn't this the sort of crap their clever ad campaign attacks Windows for?
    -Brian "

    I wish Apple had a flasher to force a flash back to a previous firmware version (or a force-flasher for those that had corrupted/interrupted flashes). For those that had problems (and still under warranty) - what does Apple support say/suggest when you call them about update problems?

    (added 7/10/2007 - Updated 7/12/2007 w/more info)
    "I have a MacBook Pro 15" 1.83Hz Intel Core Duo. I ran the 2.1 Superdrive firmware update and my CD/DVD drive is no longer operable at all. When I insert any disc, the drive will not load the disc. It simply springs back out immediately as if the computer were turned off.
    Other people have this same problem. The "solution" seems to be to replace the superdrive. See this apple forum thread (titled "Superdrive 2.1 Update Killed Drive")
    (I've heard of others that had this problem as well (was the update applied alone, left to complete undisturbed?) Tried clearing/resetting the pram/nvram? That won't help if the drive firmware is corrupted - but if so normally Apple System profiler would show incorrect info/garbage on some of the drive details

    Model: MATSHITADVD-R UJ-857
    Revision: 0009 (Corrupted? Doesn't match listing above)
    Serial Number:
    Detachable Drive: No
    Protocol: ATAPI
    Unit Number: 0
    Socket Type: Internal
    Low Power Polling: No

    (Do you have another hard drive to boot from (as a test under another OS X install, but from his info above, the drive firmware version isn't valid.))
    I purchased an external CD/DVD drive yesterday :-)

    (I asked again if he had applied the update alone, not disturbed, etc. (Trying to figure out why some had drive problems and others not - even with the same exact drive model - there's been warnings here in the past on OS X updates to not disturb the mac when applying an update.)
    when you downloaded/applied the update - was it the only update you were applying at the time?
    Several software updates were installed at the same time.

    (was the mac left undisturbed (not used for anything else) while the update was applying?)
    I was using the Mac for email/web during the update installations.

    (any 3rd party addons installed/active? (software or hardware attached))
    No 3rd Party software. I'm a fairly pure Apple-only software person - a few exceptions like Skype and Photoshop.
    Various hardware attached - camera, iPod, voice recorder, monitor, 2 printers, external keyboard & mouse & monitor.
    -Jeff A. "

    It's too late now but especially with firmware updates, I'd have done -one- at a time and quit all running apps, disconnected external devices, etc. before applying it. Unfortunately as mentioned before with OS X updates (and in an unsanity article), the update process is more fragile than you'd think and best to play it safe...
    I wish apple would either include a suggestion/note on update pages about this or better yet, do as they did with some pre-OS X updates (and when trying to repair a disk in OS 9 using DFA) - force a quit of all running apps first. Better safe than sorry.

    (added 7/10/2007)
    "I have an 15" MBP Intel Core Duo 2.16GHz
    I updated Matshita DVD-R UJ-857 to HAEA.
    Now it spits out any blank media I put in there. Imports just fine, but no longer burns. Needless to say, I'm disappointed. I used to take Apple updates as gospel. Now I doubt my faith. I'm a relative noob. Can I roll back to my old firmware using my install discs? I haven't really found a definitive answer to any issues related to this.
    (I asked if he had checked his login/startup items to see if the updater wasn't removed at cleanup/reboot. See apple doc SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1: "No Updatable Devices Found" alert)
    i did. no dice. thanks for the tip, and the lightning-fast response.
    i've tried iTunes, Burn Folder and Disco, none of which accept blank media, by the way.
    thanks again,
    -Charlie "

    If anyone knows a way to recover from this, let me know. (On PCs that had flash update failures there were some utils to force a reflash, but none that I know of for mac OS X...)

    "I get the same bug, as another reviewer. A dialogue pops up EVERY time I Reboot, that that my drive was not updateable after the reboot. Can't get rid of the dialogue. Prior to the update, about 3-4 out of a hundred discs wouldn't rip. After update, I ripped a cd which the drive couldn't read before. It read/ripped perfectly.
    (Sounds like the updater is still in the login/startup items. I asked he check that and delete it, then reboot.-Mike)
    Mike, Thanks so much for your help. The firmware program was sitting in the Login file, just as you suspected. Deleting it solved the problem.
    Thanks again,

    " I've got a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro (15.4").
    Before the upgrade to 2.1, I never had any issues with burning DVDs. After the upgrade, I cannot burn *anything* anymore. System Profiler says I'm now at revision HAEA (MATSHITADVD-R UJ-857). Disco just says "Coaster Created, throw away this disc" and OS X itself says: "The disc could not be used because the disc drive is not supported. (Error code 0x80020025)". Brilliant work from Apple on this.

    Please warn your readers to be careful, especially if they didn't have problems before!
    (I assume the updater finished normally (no errors/faults, premature restarts, not interrupted))
    Yes, I only rebooted after it prompted me to.

    (Did the installer cleanup finish? (check your startup/Login items in OS X - anything still there from the Updater?))
    There's no such startup item here (or I cannot find it). I'm not being prompted when starting up the machine, so I guess it's gone.

    (Also what OS X burning app gave you that error?)
    The built-in one, integrated into the Finder. Files to DVD; I think it was a DVD+R, or rather half a dozen, always with the same errors. Don't know the type of DVDs exactly, because I'm on the road this week. Disco didn't work either.
    Thanks again for the reply. I'll try again at the weekend, maybe I really picked up a bunch of defective discs when I first tried. But when I saw the discussion at xlr8yourmac, I was at least able to let off some steam. ;-)
    Regards, Stefan"

    Some others also reported an unusable drive after this 'update'. (With firmware updates, sometimes the old 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' rule applies... And with any OS X update there's always some that go awry...)

    "Here is my report on this update:
    Model: MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-857D, Revision: KCVB
    Never had any problems with my superdrive inside a 2.16GHz CoreDuo MBP.
    So I don't really know why I installed it at all...
    Everything seemed to work fine.
    Now I can not send the MBP to sleep anymore - it will instantly reboot and continue to do so.
    Of course this means that I have to shut it down before closing the lid which of course is not acceptable.
    Since there were also tseveral other updates I am not sure if the firmware update is the true cause for this behaviour.
    (he later wrote)
    I just tried deleting the following prefs:
    and afterwards resetting the PMU. Did not solve the problem...
    (and finally wrote)
    everything about the update went fine. No leftovers.
    A PRAM reset releaved me from my pains...
    Greets, Mark "

    " I've applied the firmware update on my 15" MacBook Pro Core Duo 2.0GHz with Matshita UJ-857 drive last night. The firmware revision is now displayed as HAEA (from the original HAE4).

    I've been having DVD-R burning problems for the last few month, and unfortunately applying this update did not help. Any DVD-Rs gets ejected as the drive tries to mount from it. CDs and CD-Rs works just fine. This is probably time for a new optical drive.
    Best, Pithawat "

    " I was having problems burning disks Monday with my Nov 2006 black Macbook's superdrive, a Matshita UJ-857D. Specifically music disks from iTunes playlists. I tried from the Finder (iTunes itself) and using Toast 8 and got media failures with 2 different brands - Sony & Verbatim. The music was distorted after the 10th track, and several cd players didn't like the disks. Then I burned the same files (after copying them) using a G4 iBook. Perfect disks!

    Ran the firmware update Wed night then tried again. Didn't get the old firmware version but the new one is KBVB. (Per above listing, previous firmware must have been KBV9.-Mike)
    This time no media failure alert, but still the same problems of distortion and not playing on my home cd players. So I tried burning the same playlist using an external firewire drive (Pioneer DVR-110D) and again a perfect disk. Guess I have another bad superdrive. (Maybe try a different brand of media (although I've never had a drive that didn't work well with Verbatim discs) and sometimes reducing burn speed may help. I had a batch of TDK DVDs that were 8x rated but had verification problems at speeds over 4x on one of my Pioneer desktop drives.-Mike)

    I've also had verification problems burning dual-layer dvd movies but i thought it was perhaps the media. Now I wonder if the blackbooks are having superdrive problems because this is the second time I have had drive problems. The last one ate a dvd and didn't want to give it back so the Apple store in Albany NY started to replace the drive, then decided there were other problems internally and gave me a new machine! (Very nice people there). This is actually my third blackbook, the first fried its motherboard & video within 60 days so it was replaced at another Apple store in NH. (Also very good service). So this is my third one in less than a year. I'm beginning to worry about reliability issues. I like the machine but if i can't trust it to burn media for backup then there is a problem. I am running OS X 10.4.10.
    -Barry H. "

    " I have a 15" Macbook Pro Core Duo 2.16 GHz with the Matshita DVD-R UJ-857 drive. I also have a "special" stack of several pristine (no smudges, scratches, or other blemishes) audio CDs that would not mount prior to the superdrive firmware update. Wonder of wonders, they all mount and play fine now.

    I did get a curious message from the firmware updater that my drive was not updateable after the reboot.
    (Checked your login/startup items, I bet the updater wasn't removed at cleanup/reboot - see apple doc SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1: "No Updatable Devices Found" alert-Mike)
    Did not check my firmware revision prior to the update but it is HAEA now. The MSHWFimware log is not particularly informative in this regard.
    -Chris "

    " I'm using a Macbook Core Duo 2GHz and haven't seen any problems with the optical drive before the update, but I'm sending you the system profiler info on the drive before and after the firmware update
    Matshita UJ-857
    Firmware version HBE4 before update, HBEA after update.
    hope this helps, Jose "

    " I updated my MacBook Pro 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo with the "superdrive firmware update 2.1". It updated my Matshita DVD-R UJ-857D from firmware KCV9 to KCVB.
    The upgrade updated the DVD support from the original "DVD -R, -RW, +RW, +R DL" to "DVD -R, -RW, +R, +RW, +R DL".
    Before I had some problems with some DVD+R disks, such as BENQ 4X DVD+R (the problem was mainly reading them). Now, it reads them fine but I am still having problems with windows burned DVD+R disks. Burning speed of a 4X DVD+R media was 2X before the update. Now it is still the same.
    Other than that it doesn't seem to have any problems yet.
    cheers, Alejandro "

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