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Old 07-21-2004, 08:20   #1
Douglas in CT
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Simple CD-R vs. CD-RW question

Since I don't play enought with CDs, I still can't keep it straight in my head. :(

Coming from a floppy disk background.....

CD-R = WRITE (burn) ONCE and you are DONE.
- Is this true?
- What about left over space on the disk? Is that just lost when you do the burn?

CD-RW = Write Many times (until disk fails).
- Is this a limited equivalent of the old 3.5" floppy disk?
- What about left over space on the disk?
- Can you add to the disk after the first burn, or do you overwrite the previous information?

Thank you.
Douglas in CT
NRA Instructor (Rifle, Shotgun, Pistol, Muzzle Loading Rifle) & Glock Armorer

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Old 07-21-2004, 08:52   #2
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: California
Posts: 75
Here's a great site for all questions CD related:

From the FAQ:
"Subject: [1-1] What's CD-R? CD-RW?

CD-R is short for "CD-Recordable". Recordable CDs are WORM (Write Once, Read Multiple) media that work just like standard CDs. The advantage of CD-R over other types of optical media is that you can use the discs with a standard CD player. The disadvantage is that you can't reuse a disc.

A related technology called CD-Rewritable (CD-RW) allows you to erase discs and reuse them, but the CD-RW media doesn't work in all players. CD-Rewritable drives are able to write both CD-R and CD-RW discs.

All CD recorders can read CDs and CD-ROMs, just like a standard CD-ROM drive."

What the FAQ doesn't state in this particular section is that most burning software will allow multi-session disks. That is, you can write small bits of data until the disk is full (in the case of CD-Rs). You can have multi-session CD-RWs as well, but obviously, it doesn't *really* get full since you can overwrite data. A decent CD-RW will be fine up until about 1000 re-writes.
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