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PC Hardware in a Nutshell, Second Edition by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Chapter 11. CD-R and CD-RW Drives

CD Recordable (CD-R) and CD Rewritable (CD-RW) drives—collectively called CD writers or CD burners—are CD-ROM drives with a difference: they have a more powerful laser that, in addition to reading discs, can record (also called write or burn) data to special CD media. CD writers can be used for many purposes, including duplicating commercial data and music CDs, transferring large amounts of data to anyone who has a CD-ROM drive, and archiving or backing up data. The flexibility and low cost of CD writers, along with the low cost, reliability, and universal readability of the discs they produce, has made them one of the most popular PC peripherals. Any computer except perhaps an entry-level system should have a CD writer.

CD Writers and Media

CD writers can use one or both of these media types:

CD-R discs

CD-R discs record data permanently. Data written to a CD-R disc cannot subsequently be deleted, which may be an advantage or a drawback, depending on how you use the drive. If you partially fill a CD-R disc, you can add more data to it during a later session, but once that disc is full, no more data can be written to it. CD-R discs are cheap—half a dollar each in bulk—and are a cost-effective means to archive data or to transfer large amounts of data to someone else. CD-R discs can be read in all but the oldest CD-ROM drives, and in most consumer CD players made in the last two or three years. CD-R discs may be written to in audio or various ...

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