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Your DVD or CD won’t burn? How to Resolve Sense Key = MEDIUM ERROR on MacBook Pro

I was preparing to backup and archive some files from 2012 onto DVD and I kept getting the error “Sense Key = MEDIUM ERROR”. You know, the one where you get all ready to burn and everything spins and makes noises like it will work, then, BONK:

How to Resolve SenseKey = MEDIUM ERROR Sense Code = 0x73, 0x03


I should have kept it simple because this was one of those problems I WAAAAAY overthought when the simplest answer was right in front of me. It was an issue that also proved the point that sometimes searching the web for answers can make you insane. Anytime I searched for “Sense Key = MEDIUM ERROR” or “Sense Code = 0x73, 0x03” I came up with all kinds of false fixes and “the sky is falling” determinations from tech guys ranging from “the laser in the burner was weakening and the entire drive would have to be replaced for hundreds of dollars” to “you need to reinstall OS X” to “run disk utility” to “try to repair your permissions”. Either that, or trolls in forums telling people they are being idiots and using cheap discs and other troll-like behavior.



All I did was stick in a simple Memorex OptiDisc CD/DVD Laser Lens Cleaner from Amazon and BLAM, problem solved for under $10. The trickiest part of this solution is that the instructions say to put it in, push play, and follow the audio instructions, but that didn’t really happen on my MacBook Pro (no, what happened is iTunes took over and when I’d push play it would play Be Near Me by ABC because that’s the first song in my playlist (don’t judge) (holy cow, did he just pull the parentheses INSIDE his parentheses move? Yes, yes he did, twice) but I digress). I put the disc in and it spun up, made some noises, and then ejected itself. I did it 3 or 4 times (maybe once would have worked) and the next thing you know I’m burning discs like a madman.
How to Resolve SenseKey = MEDIUM ERROR Sense Code = 0x73, 0x03

FYI, I’m willing to bet any laser lens cleaner would have fixed my particular DVD burner error.

I hope this post helps because I was very close to either buying a new burner or being content in never burning another DVD again.

Like they say, sometimes the solution is right in front of you. I have no idea who “they” are, but they seem to say a lot of things that other people quote.

Oh, by the way, YOU’RE WELCOME. (ha, remember that Jimmy Fallon SNL skit where he was Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy? Funny.)



  • Frustrated

    For me it was the Memorex media, not my hardware. Switched to Sony and burning away with no problems at all!


  • Marcus

    I’ve had this issue in the past as well. I can’t tell if I need need drives or not. I have a 2007 Intel based Mac Pro. I’m a graphic designer and film maker so I have always done DVD runs on my drives. Pretty much any brand worked for years, but I always made sure to run a high quality disc (mostly Sony and HP). About a year or two ago I started having problems burning. All kinds of errors, sometimes working sometimes not, until it was flat out rejecting any blank DVD’s (all the while burning CD’s just fine). I searched for answers, like many have.

    I too decided to run the Memorex Cleaner Disc. BAM! I could burn discs like a mad man again. Cool…. BUT…

    I haven’t had the need to burn a DVD in about a year. Flash drives are nearly making them obsolete. However, as a film maker, I need to distribute projects from time to time.

    So I buy a new spindle of Memorex DVD-R’s… totally rejected.

    Use the cleaning disc on both drives… still won’t burn.

    Throw in some left over HP discs that I purchased 3 years ago… WORKED GREAT!

    Traded in the Memorex Spindle for a Sony spindle (as I can’t find HP DVD’s in stores any more)…. WON”T BURN. Same error. Sucks, because Sony’s used to burn just fine.

    So that’s 2 brands that definitely don’t work. It looks like Sony and HP are going to cease making DVD’s now too. I’m hoping that the HP discs I order online work, or else I’m screwed on this project. After this run, I may have to climb aboard the Digital Download Distribution Train. Which is great, but not everyone is tech savvy and up with the times. Plus, DVD’s are an impulse buy at the events I set up at.

    Oh well… maybe time for new DVD/CD Drives??


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