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R vs RW, Packet-Writing (Drag2Disc)



R vs RW media


There are 3 kinds of discs, either CD or DVD:

  • Commercially pressed discs, which have the pits and lands physically pressed into them (pits and lands are the physical equivalent of magnetic 0's and 1's)
  • R discs, which have the pits and lands set by a laser "cooking" a dye - there are not quite as stable as commercially pressed discs, but close
  • RW discs, which have the pits and lands set by the laser melting and re-crystalizing an aluminum alloy - which promptly starts to de-crystalize, taking all the data with it. At some point in time, the alloy was changed to make the discs less costly, and less reliable. You can't say in advance how long a given disc will last - usually months but it can be days or weeks or years, it varies from disc to disc - but it won't give you an engraved notice two weeks before it goes, it just goes when it goes.

RW media is useful for testing, or for transferring things between computers when there are no other options, and the original files are safely on the originating computer. Then it can be erased and re-used. (If you "delete" a file on either R or RW media, you do NOT gt the space back - you merely delete it from the TOC [Table of Contents]. The difference is you can erase the ENTIRE RW disc and start over.


Packet-Writing (formatting the disc)


Packet-Writing (Nero's InCD, Sonic's DLA, Roxio's Drag2Disc and DirectCD, etc) was developed in the long ago when the alternative was a 1.44MB floppy. It can hold large files briefly, as, for example, while working on a webpage.


The people who really know what it is, use it for very temporary things like that. However, common misperception has latched onto it as a "great-big floppy-disc". At best it is very fussy (insisting on the same Operating System and and Program Version that created it), and it can fail for any reason or none at all.


What Packet-Writing is NOT, is a reliable long-term back-up. And if you are transferring files, the other computer has to have the appropriate reader - whch may vary from brand to brand and Version to Version.


My experience


I had thought that a formatted CD-RW as a "great-big floppy-disc". I lost the 80% of the data that wasn't also on the Hard Drive.


If your files are "missing"


If you have "missing files" when using DirectCD or a CD-RW, consider an ISO based program such as cdroller (www.cdroller.com) or ISOBuster (www.isobuster.com). Both have impressive testimonials on their websites and in the Roxio boards. Both now have "trial" versions, which let you see if anything can be recovered before you have to pay - your odds are better with CD-R than CD-RW. We have no other magic.


A couple references that may be useful:


Byers Guide (.pdf)




Edited by lynn98109
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