How To Backup Your Data To CDRW Drives

The launch of CD-ROM drives for home computers saw the beginning of a revolution in computer history - multimedia. You were no longer confined to looking at blocky graphics and computer generated sounds. Digital audio and video content became part of your computer experience.

The introduction of CD-ROMS paved the way for the next most advanced form of data storage - the CD Writer/Rewriter or in computer jargon a CD Burner. The CD Burner uses a laser to store data on the blank CDs. Don't expect the disc to come out of the drive with scorch marks on it - the laser doesn't really burn the disc.

Suddenly a computer user could now store up to 700MB on one single disc. This was groundbreaking and any backup device offering less storage became obsolete almost overnight. The added bonus was that both CDR and CDRW disks were quite cheap when bought in bulk.

You'll see CDR and CDRW drives advertised as 24x, 32x, 48x etc. The only thing you need to understand from these numbers is that it indicates the speed that the drive can spin the disc at. The faster a CDR/RW drive can spin a disc the faster it can store larger chunk of data.

What's the difference between CRD and CDRW disks?

CDR - this drive can only burn CD-R discs. These discs can only be used to store data once i.e. you cannot erase data from a disk once it's been "burned" onto it with a CDR drive. A standard CDR disc can store from 640MB - 700MB of data.

CDRW - this drive can burn both CDR and CDRW discs. The beauty of a CDRW disc is that it can be used more than once with most of these discs allowing you write data on them 5,000 times before they start to wear out. The one issue with CDRW discs is that they only store 540MB of data. This slightly restricts the amount of data you can store.

If you do decide to purchase a CDR/RW drive then try to stick to a brand name you recognize like Sony, Toshiba, Pioneer, Teac, LG etc. Experience has shown that most non-brand name drives tend to have much shorter lifespans that brand name drives. Using a quality drive and quality CDRW disks will reduce the number of CDRW errors you might experience.

These drives are normally provided with special CDRW tools such as Easy CD Creator or Nero Burning ROM. You won't be able to burn CDRW disks without using appropriate CD writing (sometimes called packet writing) software.