Computer Newbies forum

General discussion

Which type do I need to get?

by k8samms / June 3, 2009 8:59 AM PDT

I want to create back-up discs for my computer but I'm not sure which kind to get. I know I want the rewritable ones but what I'm not sure about is whether I should get the 1x-4x or the 1x-52x or any other one with different numbers. Thanks in advance for your help.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Which type do I need to get?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Which type do I need to get?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Depends On The Type Of Burner and the Type Of Backup
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 3, 2009 12:58 PM PDT

First, you'll need to tell us whether you want to use DVD discs or CD discs. Your burner will dictate which type you want.. If you only have a CD burner, you won't be able to use DVD discs.. On the other hand, if you have a DVD burner, then use DVD discs. They store a lot more data.. I tend to use DVD+R's that are 1 - 16X but when creating important backups, I'll slow things down so it burns the disc at 4X or 8X only.. Some folks will burn them at 1X in order to make a quality, long lasting burn.

By the way, good quality DVD discs will burn at a number of speeds and it's more important to find good quality discs than determine the disc based on burn speed. Still, finding a high speed, good quality disc isn't too difficult..

In my case, I actually make TWO sets up backups using the disc types below:

For permanent, long term backups, I'll recommend using DVD +/-R discs which are not rewritable.. Whether you choose DVD+R or DVD-R is somewhat dependent on the preference of your DVD burner but +R discs seem to be a little more universal currently. The DVD+/-R discs will store for long periods of time and should be kept in a safe dry place, probably in a location other than where the computer resides. (Think..What happens if the computer is destroyed in a fire.?.)

For backups where you want to create backups frequently, over and over again, I'll recommend DVD+RW discs which can be written to multiple times.. One note though.. Many folks try to use packet writing software such as Nero InCD or Roxio Drag-to-Disc which formats the RW disc and allow you to copy and paste data directly from the computer to the disc as if it were a hard drive. Although such packet writing software has its place, I would NOT recommend using such for backing up important files.. They have a canny ability to suddenly become unreadable which clearly is not the purpose for backups.. Instead, RW discs can be used as quality backup items if the backup is created using a standard burn where the disc is finalized. The backup is created, finalized and a week from now, if you want to create a new backup on the disc, simply erase the disc and burn it again.

Hope this helps.


Collapse -
Always use the "+" version if you use DVD
by pepoluan / June 5, 2009 3:09 PM PDT
Collapse -
Not Always...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 7, 2009 4:44 AM PDT

"More advanced" is only true if it works... Some of the original DVD burners, (I'll admit there aren't a lot of these older burners still functioning), did NOT recognize the DVD+R discs and certainly would not work with RW style discs.. A DVD-R disc was required..

And although I also recommend using DVD+ discs is most cases, I have a couple of customers that continue to use DVD- discs simply because their burners work better with them..

Generally, using the term "always" is stretching it.. Read some of the user comments in the CDFreaks link you provided above...

Hope this helps.


Collapse -
Comments? Dates are better
by pepoluan / June 10, 2009 1:36 PM PDT
In reply to: Not Always...

Yes, I've read the comments. But they're dated as old as 2005 (and even older!)

Lots of what they've written are no longer valid today, *provided* that one use a hybrid DVD

Collapse -
Discs are just not worth using now a days
by howlin51 / June 3, 2009 1:00 PM PDT

Discs are just a pain in the butt.I recommend u buy an external harddrive and backup your important stuff there. there is a free full featured backup software called GFI backup Home edition 2009 that u can find here: it is extremely simple to use, and u can choose exactly which folders and even specific files u want to backup. it also supports incremental backups (backs up files that have changed since last backup), diffeential backups (if u erase a file at the source (ur computer) it will automatically erase that file/s on the external harddrive the next time you run the backup.) this features can be turned off if you don't need them as well.

trust me u'll be happy using both an external HD and this software instead of discs and any other backup software.

Collapse -
If You Buy One Such External Drive For Backups..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 4, 2009 3:56 AM PDT

...Be sure to buy a second external drive to backup the backup..

Just a little information from experience.. Backups are exactly that.. Something to be used when a hard drive dies.. Unfortunately, we've seen way too many external drives fail at inopportune times.. So...If you store/backup all your personal songs and pictures to an external drive and it dies, what's left..

For most my clients where large amounts of storage are necessary, I recommend purchasing two such drives, making duplicate copies and storing one in a remote location from the computer. A recent story about a DJ friend who used a 1 TB external drive to store all his working songs and videos.. The drive died and panic ensued.. Luckily, most of the data was also on a work collegue's computer and he was able to restore his drives.. The lesson learned... He purchased TWO new 1 TB drives and created duplicate versions on each drive.

Hope this helps.


Collapse -
Be careful of a batch...
by pepoluan / June 5, 2009 3:11 PM PDT

If you buy 2 Hard Disks, if they're the same brands, make sure that they're from a different batch.

Drives from the same batch tends to fail at roughly the same time.

Collapse -
Not My Experience At All..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 7, 2009 4:33 AM PDT

I've purchased large groups of hard drives, with similar serial numbers, and they last "as long as they last", each one being a little different than the next. Frequently, there will be one or two drives which have immediate problems but generally, they will last years. And since the use of one computer compared to another computer will directly impact the lifespan of the drive, there's no way to know if the drives "tend to fail at roughly the same time".

Hope this helps.


Collapse -
Ah yes...
by pepoluan / June 10, 2009 1:39 PM PDT

Ah yes, I forgot...

The suggestion for having drives from different batches applies mostly for RAID situations, as all drives in a RAID array are expected to have the exact same load and usage.

If you're not planning to use them in a RAID array, i.e., you use them individually, then feel free to use drives from the same batches.

Collapse -
Backing-up computer
by k8samms / June 4, 2009 7:48 PM PDT

Looks like there's a lot more to backing-up than I realized. Thank you both for your help.

Collapse -
back it up
by RonS [WINDOWS-TEAM] / June 5, 2009 4:41 AM PDT
Collapse -
Is software needed to backup data files on ext hard drive?
by black069 / June 5, 2009 3:21 PM PDT
In reply to: back it up

I am running Windows XP Home SP3.

I noticed that one of the posts above suggested a program ( to use when backing up data files.

I have seen on other forums as well where folks suggest using some type of application to help store data files (onto whatever source).

I personally am going to store my data files on an external hard drive (plus an additional backup of some sort as you mentioned).

Do I need an application to do this....or can I simply drag and drop the files (or copy and paste, etc.) into the window that opens when I click on the external hard drive from "My Computer"?

Also, I have noticed that the data files on the external hard drive are stored in the FAT or FAT32 format (I can't recall which), but my system's hard drive is, of course, NTFS formatted. Is this other words, if my computer died, would I be able to restore these (FAT-formatted) data files back onto my (NTFS-formatted) system after reinstalling OS, etc.?

Thanks so much.


Collapse -
U don't necesarilly (wow I can't spell) need backup software
by howlin51 / June 7, 2009 3:06 AM PDT

U can also just drag/drop, copy/paste when using external drives (make sure the drive is properly formated before using though) the nice thing about backup software is that it does all of the work for you.(after is properly configured of course.) most backup software costs money, but GFI backup is totally free! thats why I like it and recommend it so much.


Collapse -
I use a USB flash drive
by bowacl / June 5, 2009 4:37 PM PDT

I have 2 a 4 gig one and an 8 gig one, the 4 more then holds all my stuff, they were both under $20. I work on computers so having these is handy for me to take my rescue software around on too. I have used SyncBack with out to much problems but there are many free back up programs available to keep the drive in sync with your data. I have had compatibility problems with disks so only use them for mainly backing up my photos ever 6 months, in between everything is on the flash drive and usually one other hard drive in my network.

Collapse -
...but it a software application required?
by black069 / June 6, 2009 4:38 PM PDT

Thanks for the message and suggestion on software.

I was more interested at the present moment (so that I can go ahead and back up my data files ASAP) if any sort of application, like the one you suggested or any other, is required to back up data files on an external hard drive.
....or if I can just drag and drop the selected data files from their current location on my system to the window corresponding to the external hard drive (accessed via "My Computer").

Thanks for your help.


Collapse -
If the only thing you want to do is copy certain files,...
by Paul C / June 7, 2009 9:26 AM PDT

...then dragging and dropping to another hard drive or USB key is certainly a viable option. I'd rather not try to drag and drop to a CD or DVD, as any packet writing software used in that manner is often unusable in other drives and on other machines unless you close the disk. That seems to me to be a waste of putting, say, 3GB data on a 4.7GB DVD.

I'm also not a fan of external hard drives for the reasons other posters to this thread have explained.

In the end, I say that the safest way to save your important files, assuming that you are NOT interested in making a 100% image of your C: partition, is to use a backup utility such as Sync Back or Comodo Backup to copy the files to a second INTERNAL hard drive, then burning that backup to CD/DVD and storing the CD/DVD at a location other than where the computer is (say, at work?). Better yet is to use a paid app like Macrium Reflect, available at, or Acronis True Image, available at These apps backup selected files or an entire C: drive; they also allow you to create a bootable rescue disk so that in case you find your PC unbootable, you have a chance of getting to your backups on the second hard drive and restoring/moving your data that way.

In all these cases, I advocate making a copy of these backups to CD/DVD (NOT RW media) and storing them offsite.

Hope this helps,


Collapse -
by Paul C / June 7, 2009 9:29 AM PDT

Comodo Backup, AFAIK, does not allow the user to verify the integrity of the backup; the other apps I mentioned do. That capability is highly desirable to me, as I want to know that any backup I make will work when I need it.

Collapse -
ANOTHER addendum:
by Paul C / June 7, 2009 9:39 AM PDT

I seem to be caught in moron mode tonight... Devil

Macrium Reflect IS available in a 100% free version at The free version ONLY supports disk imaging (backing up an entire partition).

Collapse -
Data files are saved in FAT-format. Is this OK?
by black069 / June 7, 2009 9:45 AM PDT
In reply to: ANOTHER addendum:

Wow. You're fast. Before I typed my post, you had responded and made 2 addenda.

One question from a post above that I still need help with, though, if you don't mind....

I have noticed that the data files I have saved on my external hard drive are stored in the FAT or FAT32 format (I can't recall which), even though the hard drive from which they came is NTFS-formatted. Is this other words, if my computer died, would I be able to restore these (FAT-formatted) data files back onto my (NTFS-formatted) system after reinstalling OS, etc.?

Collapse -
Yes, you may.
by Paul C / June 7, 2009 6:54 PM PDT

If you just move the files, there will be no problem. If you move an entire partition that is FAT32 formatted, however, the odds are that you'll not be able to modify them after the transfer - and you'll actually be creating a FAT32 partition on an NTFS volume - something I'd shy away from.

So, just move the files from the external hard drive and leave that drive's file structure and formatting on the external drive.


Collapse -
Please disregard prior post.
by black069 / June 7, 2009 9:35 AM PDT

Sorry. I didn't realize my ? (re: whether software necessary to save data files on ext hard drive) already had a response (from howlin51). Thanks for that info.

Collapse -
no backup software is required
by howlin51 / June 9, 2009 1:48 PM PDT

it helps but is not required...

ps: I love this cnet forums. ppl are so helpful! Happy


Collapse -
Which type do I need to get?
by mikepyne / June 9, 2009 7:34 PM PDT

It is recommendable to get your back up in CD's or DVD's because that will help you in the long run, it's would be little slower then taking back ups in pen drive but your data will be always safe never get corrupted or infected.

Rentfusion dot com

Collapse -
CD / DVD, yes, maybe...
by pepoluan / June 10, 2009 1:31 PM PDT

You can rely on CDs/DVDs for the long run *only* if you store the discs in a humidity-controlled environ *and* prevent them from scratches.

If you store them in an unregulated environ *and/or* let scratches happen, then all bets are off.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,912 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,498 discussions
Laptops 20,411 discussions
Security 30,882 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 21,253 discussions
Windows 10 1,672 discussions
Phones 16,494 discussions
Windows 7 7,855 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,504 discussions


Samsung Galaxy S8's major makeover

This year's flagship phone gets a sexy new design and Bixby, a house-made digital assistant.