Saving data to a CD-R/CD-RW or a DVD-R/DVD-RW

Saving (also known as "burning") data to CD-R/CD-RW or DVD-R/DVD-RW disks is another useful way to back up data.  The difference between the two are: The CD-R/DVD-R format only lets you "write" or save files once on the disk.  Once you write something to the disk it is used up and cannot be erased.  The CD-RW/DVD-RW is a "rewritable" format that allows you to write multiple times to the same disk as long as there is space available.  CD-RW/DVD-RW disks also allow you to erase the data on the disk so that you can write to them again.  CDs and DVDs are generally better than floppy disks at holding data, they have a long lifespan (a DVD could easily last 50 years or more!), more capacity, and are not vulnerable to magnets.  Drawbacks include not being able to edit files once they are written to the CD/DVD and mishandling of the disk that leads to scratching which can cause the disk to become unusable.


Writing files to a CD or DVD

Before you write a CD you must determine whether or not the computer you're using has a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive that supports CD-R/CD-RW or DVD-R/DVD-RW formats.  The face plate of the CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive will usually display a logo for all the formats the drive will recognize.

These are a few examples of the logos you will see:


Step 1) Place a blank disk into the CD/DVD drive. An options window should open similar to the one below. 


Step 2) Click the folder option labeled "Open writable CD folder using Windows Explorer".  With the folder open you can now drag and drop files that you want written to the disk into it.  Windows will make a temporary copy of these files and place them in a "staging area" until it is time to burn the disk.  At this point you can still change your mind about any of the files if you decide you don't want them burned onto the disk.


Step 3) When you are ready to burn the disk click File and choose "Write these files to CD".

Step 4)  The CD writing wizard should now open and prompt you to label the disk.  Click "Next" and the wizard displays a progress bar indicating the status.


Step 5) Click "Finish" if you only want one copy or check the box labeled "Yes, write these files to another CD" if you want to make another copy.  Your CD should now be ready.


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