After writing articles about how to open the Safely Remove dialog as well as eject a specific USB drive, some readers contacted me asking me to write about how to eject a CD or DVD drive instead, so I’m covering that here.
There’s a number of ways to accomplish this, but the best way is to use the NirCmd utility from the excellent Nirsoft. It does a lot more than just eject the cd-rom drive, so be sure to read the information on their site about all the capabilities.
Create a Shortcut to Eject the CD/DVD Drive
Right-click on the desktop or elsewhere and choose New \ Shortcut.
In the location box, put the full path to the nircmd.exe file that you downloaded, and append the “cdrom open” command to the end of it, adjusting the drive letter to match your disc drive:
“C:\path\to\nircmd.exe” cdrom open D:
Note the location of the quotes.. if you are using a path with spaces in it, you need to make sure the quotes are only around the path to the executable, and the arguments should be placed after the quote.
Give the shortcut a meaningful name, like Eject CD or something like that, and you’ll have a new icon (read below on how to use the cd-rom icon as shown)
You can move the icon to anywhere you’d like… double-clicking on it will immediately eject the drive.
Create a Shortcut to Close the CD/DVD Drive
You can follow the same exact instructions as above, but instead of “cdrom open” just substitute “cdrom close”.
Assign a Hotkey to the Shortcut
Now that we have a shortcut, we can assign a hotkey to the shortcut by right-clicking on the icon and choosing Properties. On the Shortcut tab you’ll see a place to assign the Shortcut key:
Add in the shortcut key and close the dialog. As long as the shortcut is on your desktop you shouldn’t have to restart anything for the hotkey to work. You can also move the shortcut to another folder, for instance your quick launch bar.
Tip: If you add the shortcut to the Windows Vista quick launch bar, you can use the built-in hotkeys instead of bothering to assign one manually.
Assign an Icon to the Shortcut
If you click on the Change Icon button in the properties window, you can give the shortcut a more meaningful icon, perhaps the DVD one you see below.
You could choose any icon on the system that you’d like, of course.