Apple MacBook Air SuperDrive on any PC

Apple officially state that the MacBook Air SuperDrive will only work with a MacBook Air. Many people have tried to get the drive working on their PC. A little bus-powered DVD-RW drive is very attractive, especially for the netbook crowd. Apple do not support this however, and if you plug the SuperDrive into your PC it is not properly recognised. It turns out that you do not have to hack the hardware, you just need to install the drivers.

Well, it's an easy fix, and here is how to do it. You will need the following

  • MacBook Air SuperDrive
  • A copy of the OS X Leopard Installation DVD released after the Air came out - I believe you need 10.5.4, or Bootcamp Drivers version 2.1.
  • a free USB socket and existing optical drive (unless you have an ISO of the CD or something naughty like that)
  • Windows XP/Vista should work. 7/Server 2008 will probably work.

Here's what to do:

  1. Turn on your PC/Mac, boot up Windows
  2. Plug-in the SuperDrive. Some hardware is detected, and a CD-ROM drive appears. The drive does not have power. DO NOT put a disc into it yet (especially do not put the OS X one in...)
  3. Insert your OS X DVD. You may need to right-click to view files
  4. Navigate to D:\Boot Camp\Drivers\Apple (or D:\Boot Camp\Drivers\Apple\x64 if you are running 64-bit Windows), where D is the drive letter of your DVD-ROM drive. The location in the Boot Camp Drivers folder should be somewhere similar.
  5. Run AppleODDInstaller.exe to install the drivers. Accept the license agreement and press "Next >" when required, and let the drivers install.
  6. Your SuperDrive should be recognised at some point during this process (you'll see it pop-up in the corner). You do not need to restart the computer to complete the installation, although Windows may prompt you to do so.

That's all folks! I'll be looking at getting working on OS X Intel, and perhaps even Linux and OS X PPC if I get bored and want to write my own drivers.

UPDATE: Other stuff I have tried:

  • Use with a Dell Dimension 4700: works
  • Boot Windows on Dell Dimension 4700: does not work
  • Boot OS X/Windows on a MacBook Pro (ATi x1600 C2D): does not work
I'm wondering if the reason it isn't recognised by any PC is that it is set-up as some kind of EFI boot device? And I need an EFI driver to access the interface.