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PC Hardware Annoyances by Stephen J. Bigelow

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REWRITING ANNOYANCES

INTERCHANGING “+” AND “-” MEDIA

The Annoyance:

Why can’t I use a DVD-R/RW disc in a DVD+R/RW drive?

The Fix:

It’s really all about the compatibility. DVD+ and DVD- are two similar (but different) DVD standards. Both -R/RW and +R/RW technologies are generally based on CD rewritable (CD-RW) hardware. Pioneer actually developed -R/RW, which adheres very closely to established CD-RW drive hardware and media. The -R/RW standard is so popular that it is supported by the DVD Forum industry group (http://www.dvdforum.com). By comparison, +R/RW technology resulted from the combined effort of industry leaders such as Sony, Philips, HP, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha, and others, and has recently been endorsed by Microsoft. Although +R/RW is not supported by the DVD Forum, both standards exist in the marketplace today.

So, what the hell does all of this mean for you? Many contemporary DVD drives now support both -R/RW and +R/RW. For example, the Plextor PX-712A drive supports both formats, and can write +R DVDs at 8X speeds (-R discs at 4X speeds). However, the support is not universal. The trick is to check your media against the drive’s particular specification.

DISC LIFESPAN

The Annoyance:

I’ve been using some CD-RW discs to backup my daily work, but I’ve been getting some flaky behavior from a couple of the discs lately. Are the discs failing?

The Fix:

In an ideal world, rewritable discs should last up to 1,000 rewrites. In the real world, however, things don’t always work so well. Rewritable ...

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