Recording Data CDs - The Background

1.    Background considerations

Successfully making recordable CDs involves carefully executing the step listed below.   Transferring data to CDs can be a problematic process and cutting corners on any of these steps may result in lost data.

2.    Choosing Blank Recordable CDs

The brand and quality of blank recordable CDs is critical to successful recording.   I have been success at 2X recording speeds with Ricoh, Verbatim, Memorex and unsuccessful with BTC.  With CD-RW disks Verbatim has been unreliable.

3.    Gathering data onto the computer that will perform the recording

Recording a CD is like recording a vinyl record; a continuous stream of data is cut into the disk.  If the data stops a blank segment is recorded.  However a blank segment makes an entire region of the CD unreadable.  Since network transfers are prone to occasional long delays, data must be transferred and stored on the computer with the CD writer to ensure an uninterrupted stream of data during the writing process.  Data should be transferred over the network to a temporary storage area on a local hard disk drive.  The CD can then be recorded using the data from the local disk drive.

4.    Choosing CD Writing Software and Method

CDs can be created using one of two basic schemes: 1. Mastering & 2. Packet writing.  Mastering is the most reliable and fastest method.  I mock CD directory layout is designed using files available to the computer.  In this process directories may be created and file names dragged into the directories.  The actual CD recording process uses this mock directory layout as a plan to create the CD.  CD created this way are readable by most operating systems with a suitable CD-ROM (reader) drive.  Packet writing is more convenient but slower and readable in a limited range of operating systems (e.g. Windows 95, WindowsNT with service pack 3 or later, Windows98 2nd release).  CDs must be specially formatted for packet writing.  Once written to CDs can not be written to using the other system.

5.    Doing the recording (burning)

Choose which recording method to use: 1. Layout using Easy CD creator  2. To a drive letter using DirectCD

6.    Checking the created CD

This is the most important step.  Confirm that your newly burnt CD is readable in a reader drive (not the recorder).  

    Windiff.exe - compare directors of containing original files with those on the CD.  Work for images and any type of file.   -or-

    Thumbsplus - scan directories.  In forming the thumbnail image format is checked.  Also look for problems in thumbnail images. -or- 

    Randomly open image file and confirm that image is OK.  Also check the last file in the last directory.  Not very thorough or reliable.

Checking that your computer can read recordable CDs.

Mac system 8??, Win95b, Win98, WinNT sp3 for packet writes. 

14X or better cd-reader.

Mutli read drive and UDF drivers from Adaptec for CD-RW

Technical Links - For those who just have to know!

Last updated 2006-10-24

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