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cd-r problem

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#1 Peter1



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Posted 11 January 2008 - 03:21 PM

Hello I had four photos on a cd-r. Today I tried to burn another photo and it erased the previous photos so I have the new one and the others are written over -I guess. I think once you write to a cd-r you cannot write from scratch again -you have to keep burning in increments. When the disk is removed and reinserted it writes over the exisiting material?????? I have cd-rw's so I think I can do what I tried to with the cd-r and failed Could you please straighten out my ideas re cd-r's and cd-rw's? Thank you


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#2 Doug


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Posted 14 January 2008 - 09:40 AM

Hi Grampy Pete,

You are mostly correct in concept, and maybe confused in detail.
Unhappily this is an easy situation for a user to find themselves facing.

Burning softwares like Roxio and Nero guide the user to create a "project" which defines the parameters of what is saved to a specific CD/DVD. The project can be left "open" so that the user can later add additional items. Or the project can be "finalized", making it impossible to add new files.

At the finish of any burning sequence, the user is invited to "save" the project, which saves the parameters and listing of what has been burned to disk (project parameter files are saved to the computer's hard drive. Later, if the user wishes to add new files to the CD, it is possible to "open" a project for that specific disk, (if it hasn't been finalized) and use the same drag-and-drop procedures to add new files.

The "Problem".
These types of burning utilities save the project parameters in a file that may not "look" familiar to the user.
It's a good idea to add a word or some letters to the project name for better recognition. Something like "grandkids" for instance. It's also essential to "Label" the CD with a permanent marker to match it to the project information.
It is important to remember or write down where the project file is saved on the hard drive, for later retrieval and use.

If a user burns a small number of files (for example, 100mb of pictures) to a CD that has room to save about 750-800mb of files, the unused portion of the CD remains "unused".

If the user later inserts the CD into the CD Burner with the plan of adding new files, the user must "open" the CD's "project" from the command bar at the top of the burning utilities user-interface panel on the computer screen and then the "project will display what is already on the CD and allow for adding new files (to an un-finalized CD).

If the user doesn't remember or didn't save the "project", the burning software will identify that there is empty space available for burning (from the example above 750mb-100mb = 650mb available as empty space for burning). The burning software will treat the CD disk as if it were a fresh new disk with only 650mb available. Burning software will "warn" the user about the space that has already been used, and ask if the user wants to continue. *** it is all too easy to continue, believing that new files can be successfully saved in this manner.

What actually happens is that the burning software will begin a new project, treating the CD as if its size is 650mb.
New files can be burned to the presently empty 650mb space. <-- But this can be an annoying mistake!

So what happens?
The burning software will code the CD to be recognized as beginning at the start of the 650mb space.
When the user pops the CD into a CD-ROM tray to view the contents, it will be read "only" from the beginning of the second burned project.

So what happened to the original 100mb of files?

They are still there on the CD, but not accessible, because the CD is now coded to "begin reading" at the start of the 650mb space. The original 100mb volume of files is no longer accessible via ordinary means of browsing the CD. The information/media/data is "still there" and can in most cases be retrieved with specialized DATA Recovery software. But this can be a pain to perform and can be expensive.

Good Practice:
Once you burn a project to CD-R, finalize it, label it, and enjoy it.
Avoid the hassles of lost data, unless you are Very Disciplined in managing the Project's saved Parameter file for future use.

Since CD-R disks are so inexpensive these days (only a few cents US) it is possible to burn a new disk when you want to save or backup information/media.

CD-RW disks are more expensive (maybe about 85 cents US) so it is not as easy to throw one away and grab a cheap replacement. CD-RW does allow for repeat usage, but it is slower, less reliable, and requires the full paid version of the burning software utility. AND CD-RW disks require installation of specialized "reading" software on any different machine that the user may want to use to display the contents. (for Nero brand burning tools, the RW software is called - AHEAD)

I used CD-RW a few times, early in my experience of burning data, but quickly recognized that it was easier to dispose of old CD's and create a new one, rather than going through the process of using CD-RW.

There are probably many folks who would disagree with my practice of using CD-R as a disposable and re-creatable format for data/media storage. They might cite "waste management", pollution, and or a confusing array of multiple disks to sort through, many containing the same information with incrementally larger projects.

I can live with it. :)

With improved technology, it is possible to use easily re-writable media such as USB Thumb Drives for temporary storage of projects until they are ready to be "finalized" in storage to CD/DVD. USB Thumb Drives are hugely more expensive $19 US for a couple of gigabytes of storage, but they are versatile and easily re-usable without the annoying feature of "project parameters" that come with the use of burning CDs.

Be sure to label and date any burned CD/DVD media for easier reference.

Best Regards
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#3 Peter1



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Posted 15 January 2008 - 11:46 AM

You must be a proficient typer as I am a hunt and peck typer. Change in technology says it all. I do understand about the complexities re cd-r with additional info-better to close it and label it. Also I will not be using the old cd-rw's And finally I have been given some flash drives and can handle them pretty well I was told they are not dependable but with all the pros and cons I'll go with them- I keep important data on 2 drives.. Thank you very much for taking all the time and effort to explain this to me. This is a great forum and a patient one. Thank you

#4 Doug


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Posted 15 January 2008 - 08:17 PM

Glad you came up with a workable plan. :thumbup:
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