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Reformatting CD-RW's.

by stardreamer / May 21, 2004 8:42 AM PDT

Hi. How durable are CD-RW's? I want to empty and reformat a couple of them to add new data. How is this going to affect the disc? What's the average lifespan of cd-rw'? Would it be better to burn data to a cd-r?

Thanks.

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Re:Reformatting CD-RW's.
by ozos / May 21, 2004 9:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

Given the price of CD-R or RW media, why can't you just buy new disks instead of reburning.
I don't do too much CD writing but I would think you should be able to re-write a CD-ReWrite disk at least once.
.

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Re:Reformatting CD-RW's.
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 21, 2004 10:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

Barney,

I use formatted CD-RW's frequently to transfer files, updates and install programs between computers and transport data between remote sites. They can be reformatted and written to repeatedly for quite a while, BUT....don't depend on them for permanent storage. Sooner or later, (a general figure is they can be written to about 1000 times), they will fail. I find that they file quicker when you start filling them to near capacity or use large files. And some users don't "format" CD-RW's, they simply do a standard "burn" of the CD-RW, and when they're ready to put something else on the CD-RW, ERASE it, then burn something else.

Still, if you're going to save permanent data, use CD-R's. They're cheaper and much more permanent.

In my case, I make double copies of backups, just in case one goes bad.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Re:Re:Reformatting CD-RW's.
by g011um / May 28, 2004 5:41 AM PDT

> Still, if you're going to save permanent data,
> use CD-R's. They're cheaper and much more permanent.

This is incorrect. CD-R actually have a shorter storage lifespan than CD-RW. The surface of the CD-R is sensitive to light and heat in a way CD-RW are not. The laser in the burner actually "burns" the surface of the CD-R creating a darker spot (giving you the 1's and 0's that make up the data). Exposuse to light, as well as the normal passage of time, can cause these burnt areas to fade, making the disc unreadbale. CD-RW use a different substance on the recording surface, which isn't "burnt" in the same manner as CD-R -- the laser changes the alignment of the particles on the surface instead, or something like that. Light and heat do NOT affect the particles to the same degree.

There was a recent article on Slashdot (a few weeks ago) that linked to several studies on the lifespan of CD-R and CD-RW.

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g011um, I Believe I've Read That Article....
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 4, 2004 5:53 AM PDT

....and unfortunately, there still isn't really a definitive concensus by everyone involved. The discussion could be endless. CD disks haven't been around long enough to know for sure.

Here's a link to the "Slashdot" article.:

Slashdot's Website: The Myth Of The 100-Year CD-Rom
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/22/1658251&mode=thread&tid=137&tid=198

Here's a good study produced by NIST October 2003(The National Institute Of Standards and Technology). (It's a 1.3 MB pdf file)

Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs ?A Guide for Librarians and Archivists

There's a fairly decent section on longevity of CDs. Here's a quote from that study:

Among the manufacturers that have done testing, there is consensus that, under recommended storage conditions, CD-R,DVD-R, and DVD+R discs should have a life expectancy of 100 to 200 years or more; CD-RW, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM discs should have a life expectancy of 25 years or more.

RW and RAM discs are generally not considered for long-term or archival use, and life expectancy tests are seldom done for this medium. Rewritable discs use a phase-changing metal alloy film for recording data and aluminum for the reflective layer. The alloy film is not as stable as the dye used in R discs because the material normally degrades at a faster rate;....

____________

Obviously, a broad statement that one media type lasts longer than an another is probably incorrect. (Although clearly for archiving of long term data, in excess of 75-100 years, CD's of any type seem to be out-classed by other media types.) And certainly, brandname and construction quality of the CD media is extremely important. If using for long term archiving, buy the "good stuff". Some types of CD-R media are now coming with guarantees of 100 years. (Stretching it, I know, but "gold" is being used.) The main problem I see with CD-RW disks is their inability to be read by all CD Rom devices and I've experence a number of CD-RW disks, become unreadable/unusable in short periods of time, especially after being used with various packet writing programs.

But, to each his own.

Grif

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Get Beyond the Theoretical....
by prizmeye / November 13, 2005 5:23 AM PST

Take it from someone who's always favored RW media over write-once (i.e., CD-R, DVD-R, DVD+R): Foolish consumers chose to waste $$$ on write-once media, while abandoning the concept of the "giant floppy disk," which was one of the chief advantages of burning to begin with! As such, the MANY bugs associated w/ RW media remain largely un-fixed. I personally slog through it, because I download many files that change rapidly (freeware, patches, etc.). Corruption is common, despite different drives and media brands. Reformatting is needed frequently.

For PERMANENT, valuable backup, burn it to a permanent write-once i.e., CD-R, DVD-R, DVD+R)and store in a cool, dark, dry place.

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Re:Reformatting CD-RW's.
by bob b / May 21, 2004 11:05 PM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

Look here for some info on cd-r/cd-rw life span.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=cd-rw+life+span

I have been burning/reading/reburning the same set of cd-rw's for many months and so far have not seen an issue.

What would happen if I put them in storage for a few years and then tried to read them, I have no idea.

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Like Griff says. . .
by Coryphaeus / May 22, 2004 8:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

about a thousand.

But you only need to format the disk if you are going to use a "drag and drop" utility. I don't like the way it responds so I just erase and reburn.

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I have heard ( urban legend??)
by tcantrelln / May 22, 2004 10:20 PM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

That complete erasure involves a format and then leave data side up in the sunlight for an hour or so ( assuming a good sunny day (80 F +) I do know it worked for a disk which a wierd laptop burner had left un-enterable / un eraseable- so I left it for the sun and it completely blanked it- formatted fine(and quit using the burner in that laptop..)

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Reformatting CD-RW's. I don't!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 23, 2004 12:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

While I just use the erase and record method, long ago I found DirectCD, InCD, DLA, FileCD and all of those to be less than 100% reliable. On top of that, the format on my then 2X CDRW took about 45 minutes before I could use DirectCD.

After I lost 2 CDRW full of stuff I looked around Google and found others with the same issue. DirectCD was tossed out and I began to use just erase and record and so far in many years I've found ONE bad CDRW media. It went to the round file and that's been it.

Some get "stuck" on "it should work" rather than look for what works well and those may continue to lose data on such a system.

Let me repeat it in another way. DirectCD and such works some 99.99% of the time just super. But I don't want to encounter that 0.01% issue. Ever. (again.)

Bob

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Re:Reformatting CD-RW's. I don't!
by gdstroud / May 27, 2004 9:42 PM PDT

I use CDRW's to archive my land surveying drawings after I complete a project. Recently, I became dissatisfied with the speed of my Yamaha burner so I browsed CNET and decided to buy the Lite-on unit. I use Roxio software with DirectCD. I tried to access a CDRW to retrieve a project from the past and I received a prompt that files were missing and the data could not be shown. Long story short, even though I used the same software to format my CDRW's, the different burners caused an incompatibility issue and I had to send my CDRW's to Ontrack for data retrieval. I am going to find a different, more reliable way to archive, possibly an external USB hard drive.

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Re:Re:Reformatting CD-RW's. I don't!
by hawkeye15 / June 1, 2004 1:04 AM PDT

Your problem was the Lite-On burner. Lite-On was the burner sub-contractor to Dell a few years ago. I have a Dell Dimension 8200 that had Lite On originally installed and I had to get 2 (count 'em) 2 replacement burners due to different failures. The last one burned audio CDs that would not work on some professional players. I had decided to get a DVD burn capability, so I upgraded to the Dell offered Plextor burner, which seems to be working OK. The audio CDs I now burn work on the professional players. My best guess is that Lite-On was the low bidder to Dell.

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Re:Reformatting CD-RW's. I don't!
by peachhead / May 27, 2004 10:22 PM PDT

I have also had trouble with DirectCD over the years. I won't use it. Maybe new versions are better but CD-R's are SO CHEAP---why bother with RW's??? For back ups I burn 2 regular CDs of my new files so I have a copy.
Peachhead

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Re:Reformatting CD-RW's.
by The Telecottage / May 27, 2004 6:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

Used daily, good quality CDRW discs last around 2 years. Recommend reformatting (or erasing, depending on burner program used) CDRW at least monthly to check 100% Error free - if not, shred & use a new disc

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Re:Reformatting CD-RW's.
by Themisive / May 28, 2004 11:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

They're only good for about 1000 rewrites, but if you're constantly putting data on them - like schoolwork, the're a good idea. I use good ones, and use InCD to format them, that way I can use "drag and drop" on them. Usually, when they wear out, they give you a message, not allowing any more to be written to them, but the data can still be transferred to the hard drive, the put onto a new disk when it's formatted!

As for using CD-R's instead, again, it depends on the type of CD-R and the type of ReWriter you have, mine is actually a combo unit, so I can set up DVD's to Write and ReWrite as well. I use Nero 6 (with the upgrades to bring it up to date) and in 5 years I've only had 3 bad CDRW disks, and 2 bad CDR disks. to date [touch wood] I havn't had any bad DVD disks!

It seems that good disks; a decent ReWriter AND a good programme is the best combination.

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how do i reformat a cd-rw?
by preciousmb29 / October 20, 2008 11:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Reformatting CD-RW's.

i am trying to reformat a few of my cd-rw's and i'm having a few complications. can you help me?

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Re: reformat a cd-rw
by Kees Bakker / October 20, 2008 11:54 PM PDT

What burning software do you use?
What's your OS?
What are the "few complications"?

Kees

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reformatting cd-rw
by preciousmb29 / October 21, 2008 12:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: reformat a cd-rw

i'm sorry i don't exactly know what OS means. however ativa is the burning software that i use, and i don't know how to reformat a cd-rw. i'm not sure if i have to have a program or if it's already installed in my computer system.

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OS = Operating systems
by Kees Bakker / October 21, 2008 12:04 AM PDT
In reply to: reformatting cd-rw

That's Windows Vista or XP or 98, for example. Or Linux.

Ativa seems to be more hardware then software. If it's software, please provide a link to the manual. If it's hardware, then please tell exactly and detailed how you burn data to a cd-rw.

Kees

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OS
by preciousmb29 / October 21, 2008 12:12 AM PDT
In reply to: OS = Operating systems

windows vista.i'm not computer literate but i'm using windows media player to burn data; and actually it's music that i'm burning.

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Re: reformatting cd-rw
by Kees Bakker / October 21, 2008 12:18 AM PDT
In reply to: OS

Go to www.cdburnerxp.se, download and install the program, download and study the manual and after that you'll be able to reformat the cd-rw's.

Are you sure there's no "reformat" in the right click menu of the drive in My Computer or Windows Explorer (sorry, that are XP terms, not Vista terms)?
If there is, it might work (just try). If there isn't, you need a program like this one. I can't try it here, because I don't have Windows Vista here.

Kees

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reply
by preciousmb29 / October 21, 2008 12:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: reformatting cd-rw

oh my gosh you are the best! i found exactly what you were talking about! thanks a bunch!

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I think you are telling us the make of the media.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2008 12:05 AM PDT
In reply to: reformatting cd-rw
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AHA!!! WMP does not have an erase CDRW feature!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2008 12:15 AM PDT

You can erase them with the easy to use, easy to find software called CDBURNERXP. Do not get confused by the name. I works on Vista.
Bob

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