CD-R
Overview
 
A CD-R is a variation of the Compact Disc
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 invented by Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

 and Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

. CD-R is a Write Once Read Many
Write Once Read Many
A Write Once Read Many or WORM drive is a data storage device where information, once written, cannot be modified. On ordinary data storage devices, the number of times data can be modified is not limited, except by the rated lifespan of the device, as modification involves physical changes that...

 (WORM) optical medium, though the whole disk does not have to be entirely written in the same session.

CD-R retains a high level of compatibility with standard CD readers, unlike CD-RW
CD-RW
A CD-RW is a rewritable optical disc. It was introduced in 1997, and was known as "CD-Writable" during development. It was preceded by the CD-MO, which was never commercially released....

 – which can be re-written, but is not capable of playing on many readers, and also uses more expensive media.
The CD-R, originally named CD Write-Once (WO), specification was first published in 1988 by Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

 and Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

 in the 'Orange Book'.
Encyclopedia
A CD-R is a variation of the Compact Disc
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 invented by Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

 and Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

. CD-R is a Write Once Read Many
Write Once Read Many
A Write Once Read Many or WORM drive is a data storage device where information, once written, cannot be modified. On ordinary data storage devices, the number of times data can be modified is not limited, except by the rated lifespan of the device, as modification involves physical changes that...

 (WORM) optical medium, though the whole disk does not have to be entirely written in the same session.

CD-R retains a high level of compatibility with standard CD readers, unlike CD-RW
CD-RW
A CD-RW is a rewritable optical disc. It was introduced in 1997, and was known as "CD-Writable" during development. It was preceded by the CD-MO, which was never commercially released....

 – which can be re-written, but is not capable of playing on many readers, and also uses more expensive media.

History

The CD-R, originally named CD Write-Once (WO), specification was first published in 1988 by Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

 and Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

 in the 'Orange Book'. The Orange Book consists of several parts, furnishing details of the CD-WO, CD-MO (Magneto-Optic), and CD-RW (ReWritable). The latest editions have abandoned the use of the term "CD-WO" in favor of "CD-R", while "CD-MO" were very little used. Written CD-Rs and CD-RWs are, from a technical standpoint, fully compatible with the Audio CD (Red Book
Red Book (audio CD standard)
Red Book is the standard for audio CDs . It is named after one of the Rainbow Books, a series of books that contain the technical specifications for all CD and CD-ROM formats.The first edition of the Red Book was released in 1980 by Philips and Sony; it was adopted by the Digital Audio Disc...

) and CD-ROM (Yellow Book) standards, although some hardware compatible with Red Book CDs may have difficulty reading CD-Rs and especially CD-RWs. They use Eight-to-Fourteen Modulation
Eight-to-Fourteen Modulation
Eight-to-fourteen modulation is a data encoding technique – formally, a channel code – used by compact discs and pre-Hi-MD MiniDiscs. EFMPlus is a related code, used in DVDs and SACDs. EFM and EFMPlus were both invented by Kees A...

, CIRC
Cross-Interleaved Reed-Solomon Coding
In the compact disc system, cross-interleaved Reed-Solomon code provides error detection and error correction. CIRC adds to every three data bytes one redundant parity byte.-Overview:...

 error correction plus the third error correction layer defined for CD-ROM
CD-ROM
A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data....

.

CD-R recording systems available in 1990 were similar to the washing machine-sized Meridian CD Publisher, based on the two-piece rack mount Yamaha
Yamaha
Yamaha may refer to:* Yamaha Corporation, a Japanese company with a wide range of products and services** Yamaha Motor Company, a Japanese motorized vehicle-producing company...

 PDS audio recorder costing $35,000, not including the required external ECC circuitry for data encoding, SCSI
SCSI
Small Computer System Interface is a set of standards for physically connecting and transferring data between computers and peripheral devices. The SCSI standards define commands, protocols, and electrical and optical interfaces. SCSI is most commonly used for hard disks and tape drives, but it...

 hard drive subsystem, and MS-DOS
MS-DOS
MS-DOS is an operating system for x86-based personal computers. It was the most commonly used member of the DOS family of operating systems, and was the main operating system for IBM PC compatible personal computers during the 1980s to the mid 1990s, until it was gradually superseded by operating...

 control computer. By 1992 the cost of typical recorders was down to $10–12,000, and in September 1995 Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard Company or HP is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA that provides products, technologies, softwares, solutions and services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, including...

 introduced its model 4020i manufactured by Philips, which at $995 was the first recorder to cost less than $1000.

The dye materials developed by Taiyo Yuden
Taiyo Yuden
is a Japanese materials and electronics company, situated in Ueno, Taito, Tokyo, that helped pioneer recordable CD technology along with Sony and Philips in 1988. Founded 60 years ago, Taiyo Yuden currently operates factories in Japan, Singapore, Korea, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia,...

 made it possible for CD-R discs to be compatible with Audio CD and CD-ROM discs.

Initially in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, there was a market separation between "music" CD-Rs and "data" CD-Rs, the former being several times more expensive than the latter due to industry copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 arrangements with the RIAA. Physically, there is no difference between the discs save for the Disc Application Flag that identifies their type: standalone audio recorders will only accept "music" CD-Rs to enforce the RIAA arrangement, while computer CD-R drives can use either type of media to burn either type of content.

Physical characteristics

A standard CD-R is a 1.2 mm (0.047 in) thick disc made of polycarbonate
Polycarbonate
PolycarbonatePhysical PropertiesDensity 1.20–1.22 g/cm3Abbe number 34.0Refractive index 1.584–1.586FlammabilityV0-V2Limiting oxygen index25–27%Water absorption – Equilibrium0.16–0.35%Water absorption – over 24 hours0.1%...

 with a 120 mm (4.7 in) or 80 mm (3.150 in) diameter. The 120 mm disc has a storage capacity of 74 minutes of audio or 650 MB
MB
- Computers :* Megabyte , a measure of amount of information used, for example, to quantify computer memory or storage capacity* Megabit , a measure of amount of information* MacBook* Motherboard* Message board- File format ".MB" :...

 of data. CD-R/RWs are available with capacities of 80 minutes of audio or 737,280,000 bytes (700 MB), which they achieve by molding the disc at the tightest allowable tolerances specified in the Orange Book CD-R/CD-RW standards. The engineering margin that was reserved for manufacturing tolerance has been used for data capacity instead, leaving no tolerance for manufacturing; for these discs to be truly compliant with the Orange Book standard, the manufacturing process must be perfect.

Despite the foregoing, most CD-Rs on the market have an 80 minute capacity. There are also 90 minute/790 MB and 99 minute/870 MB discs, although they are less common (and depart from the Orange Book standard outright). Also, due to the limitations of the data structures in the ATIP (see below), 90 and 99 minute blanks will identify as 80 minute ones. (As the ATIP is part of the Orange Book standard, it is natural that its design does not support some nonstandard disc configurations.) Therefore, in order to use the additional capacity, these discs have to be burned using "overburn" options in the CD recording software. (Overburning itself is so named because it is outside the written standards, but, due to market demand, it has nonetheless become a de facto standard function in most CD writing drives and software for them.)

Some drives use special techniques, such as Plextor's GigaRec or Sanyo's HD-BURN, to write more data onto a given disc; these techniques are inherently deviations from the Compact Disc (Red, Yellow, and/or Orange Book) standards, making the recorded discs proprietary-formatted and not fully compatible with standard CD players and drives. However, in certain applications where discs will not be distributed or exchanged outside a private group and will not be archived for a long time, a proprietary format may be an acceptable way to obtain greater capacity (up to 1.2 GB with GigaRec or 1.8 GB with HD-BURN on 99 minute media). The greatest risk in using such a proprietary data storage format, assuming that it works reliably as designed, is that it may be difficult or impossible to repair or replace the hardware used to read the media if it fails, is damaged, or is lost after its original vendor discontinues it.

(Note: Nothing in the Red, Yellow or Orange Book standards prohibits disc reading/writing devices from having the capacity to read or write discs beyond the Compact Disc standards. The standards do require discs to meet precise requirements in order to be called Compact Discs, but the other discs may be called by other names; if this were not true, no DVD drive could legally bear the Compact Disc logo. While disc players and drives may have capabilities beyond the standards, enabling them to read and write nonstandard discs, there is no assurance, in the absence of explicit additional manufacturer specifications beyond normal Compact Disc logo certification, that any particular player or drive will perform beyond the standards at all or consistently. Furthermore, if the same device with no explicit performance specs beyond the Compact Disc logo initially handles nonstandard discs reliably, there is no assurance that it will not later stop doing so, and in that case, there is no assurance that it can be made to do so again by service or adjustment. Therefore, discs with capacities larger than 650 MB, and especially those larger than 700 MB, are less interchangeable among players/drives than standard discs and are not very suitable for archival use, as their readability on future equipment, or even on the same equipment at a future time, is not assured, even under the assumption that the discs will not degrade at all.)

The polycarbonate disc contains a spiral groove, called the "pregroove" (because it is molded in before data are written to the disc), to guide the laser
Laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...

 beam upon writing and reading information. The pregroove is molded into the top side of the polycarbonate disc, where the pits and lands would be molded if it were a pressed (nonrecordable) Red Book CD; the bottom side, which faces the laser beam in the player or drive, is flat and smooth. The polycarbonate disc is coated on the pregroove side with a very thin layer of organic dye. Then, on top of the dye is coated a thin, reflecting layer of silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, a silver alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

, or gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

. Finally, a protective coating of a photo-polymerizable lacquer is applied on top of the metal reflector and cured with UV
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

-light.

A blank CD-R is not "empty"; the pregroove has a wobble (the ATIP
Absolute Time in Pregroove
Absolute Time in Pregroove is a method of storing information on an optical medium, used on CD-R and other writable discs. ATIP information is only readable on CD-R and CD-RW drives, as normal drives don't need the information stored on it.-Usage:...

), which helps the writing laser to stay on track and to write the data to the disc at a constant rate. Maintaining a constant rate is essential to ensure proper size and spacing of the pits and lands burned into the dye layer. As well as providing timing information, the ATIP (absolute time in pregroove) is also a data track containing information about the CD-R manufacturer, the dye used and media information (disc length and so on). The pregroove is not destroyed when the data are written to the CD-R, a point which some copy protection
Copy protection
Copy protection, also known as content protection, copy obstruction, copy prevention and copy restriction, refer to techniques used for preventing the reproduction of software, films, music, and other media, usually for copyright reasons.- Terminology :Media corporations have always used the term...

 schemes use to distinguish copies from an original CD.

There are three basic formulations of dye used in CD-Rs:
  1. Cyanine
    Cyanine
    Cyanine is a non-systematic name of a synthetic dye family belonging to polymethine group. Cyanines have many uses as fluorescent dyes, particularly in biomedical imaging...

     dye CD-Rs were the earliest ones developed, and their formulation is patent
    Patent
    A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

    ed by Taiyo Yuden
    Taiyo Yuden
    is a Japanese materials and electronics company, situated in Ueno, Taito, Tokyo, that helped pioneer recordable CD technology along with Sony and Philips in 1988. Founded 60 years ago, Taiyo Yuden currently operates factories in Japan, Singapore, Korea, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia,...

    . CD-Rs based on this dye are mostly green in color. The earlier models were very chemically unstable and this made cyanine based discs unsuitable for archival use; they could fade and become unreadable in a few years. Many manufacturers like Taiyo Yuden use proprietary chemical additives to make more stable cyanine discs ("metal stabilized Cyanine", "Super Cyanine"). Older cyanine dye based CD-Rs, as well as all the hybrid dyes based on cyanine, were very sensitive to UV-rays and could have become unreadable after only a few days if they were exposed to direct sunlight. Although the additives used have made cyanine more stable, it is still the most sensitive of the dyes in UV rays (showing signs of degradation within a week of direct sunlight exposure). A common mistake users make is to leave the CD-Rs with the "clear" (recording) surface upwards, in order to protect it from scratches, as this lets the sun hit the recording surface directly.
  2. Phthalocyanine
    Phthalocyanine
    Phthalocyanine is an intensely blue-green coloured macrocyclic compound that is widely used in dyeing. Phthalocyanines form coordination complexes with most elements of the periodic table...

     dye CD-Rs are usually silver, gold or light green. The patents on phthalocyanine CD-Rs are held by Mitsui
    Mitsui
    is one of the largest corporate conglomerates in Japan and one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.-History:Founded by Mitsui Takatoshi , who was the fourth son of a shopkeeper in Matsusaka, in what is now today's Mie prefecture...

     and Ciba Specialty Chemicals
    Ciba Specialty Chemicals
    Ciba was a chemical company based in and near Basel, Switzerland. "Ciba" stood for "Chemische Industrie Basel" . It was formed as the non-pharmaceuticals elements of Novartis were spun out in 1997, following the merger in the previous year of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz that created Novartis.In 2008,...

    . Phthalocyanine is a natively stable dye (has no need for stabilizers) and CD-Rs based on this are often given a rated lifetime of hundreds of years. Unlike cyanine
    Cyanine
    Cyanine is a non-systematic name of a synthetic dye family belonging to polymethine group. Cyanines have many uses as fluorescent dyes, particularly in biomedical imaging...

    , phthalocyanine is more resistant to UV rays and CD-Rs based on this dye show signs of degradation only after two weeks of direct sunlight exposure. However, phthalocyanine is more sensitive than cyanine to writing laser power calibration, meaning that the power level used by the writing laser has to be more accurately adjusted for the disc in order to get a good recording; this may erode the benefits of dye stability, as marginally written discs (with higher correctable error rates) will lose data (i.e. have uncorrectable errors) after less dye degradation than well written discs (with lower correctable error rates).
  3. Azo
    Azo compound
    Azo compounds are compounds bearing the functional group R-N=N-R', in which R and R' can be either aryl or alkyl. IUPAC defines azo compounds as: "Derivatives of diazene , HN=NH, wherein both hydrogens are substituted by hydrocarbyl groups, e.g. PhN=NPh azobenzene or diphenyldiazene." The more...

     dye CD-Rs are dark blue in color, and their formulation is patented by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
    Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
    , or MCC, was a Japanese corporation. It merged with Mitsubishi Pharma Corporation to create Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation.-External links:...

    . Azo dye is also chemically stable, and Azo CD-Rs are typically rated with a lifetime of decades. Azo is the most resistant dye against UV rays and begins to degrade only after the third or fourth week of direct sunlight exposure. More modern implementations of this kind of dye include Super Azo which is not as deep blue as the earlier Metal Azo. This change of composition was necessary in order to achieve faster writing speeds.


There are many hybrid variations of the dye formulations, such as Formazan
Formazan
Formazan dyes are artificial chromogenic products of the reduction of tetrazolium salts by dehydrogenases and reductases. They have a variety of colors from dark blue to deep red to orange, depending on the original tetrazolium salt used as the substrate for the reaction.Leading examples of...

 by Kodak (a hybrid of cyanine and phthalocyanine).

Unfortunately, many manufacturers have added additional coloring to disguise their unstable cyanine CD-Rs in the past, so the formulation of a disc cannot be determined based purely on its color. Similarly, a gold reflective layer does not guarantee use of phthalocyanine dye. The quality of the disc is also not only dependent on the dye used, it is also influenced by sealing, the top layer, the reflective layer, and the polycarbonate. Simply choosing a disc based on its dye type may be problematic. Furthermore, correct power calibration of the laser in the writer, as well as correct timing of the laser pulses, stable disc speed, and so on., is critical to not only the immediate readability but the longevity of the recorded disc, so for archiving it is important to have not only a high quality disc but a high quality writer. In fact, a high quality writer may produce adequate results with medium quality media, but high quality media cannot compensate for a mediocre writer, and discs written by such a writer cannot achieve their maximum potential archival lifetime.

Speed

Drive speed Data rate Write time for 80 minute/700 MiB CD-R
1x 150 KiB/s 80 minutes
4x 600 KiB/s 20 minutes
8x 1200 KiB/s 10 minutes
12x 1800 KiB/s 6.7 minutes
32x 4800 KiB/s 2.5 minutes (see below)
48x 7200 KiB/s 1.7 minutes (see below)
52x 7800 KiB/s 1.5 minutes (see below)


These times only include the actual optical writing pass over the disc. For most disc recording operations, additional time is used for overhead processes, such as organizing the files and tracks, which adds to the theoretical minimum total time required to produce a disc. (An exception might be making a disk from a prepared ISO image, for which the overhead would likely be trivial.) At the lowest write speeds, this overhead takes so much less time than the actual disc writing pass that it may be negligible, but at higher write speeds, the overhead time becomes a larger proportion of the overall time taken to produce a finished disc and may add significantly to it.

Also, above 20X speed, drives use a Zoned-CLV or CAV strategy, where the advertised maximum speed is only reached near the outer rim of the disc. This is not taken into account by the above table. (If this were not done, the faster rotation that would be required at the inner tracks could cause the disc to fracture and/or could cause excessive vibration which would make accurate and successful writing impossible.)

Writing methods

The blank disc has a pre-groove track onto which the data are written. The pre-groove track, which also contains timing information, ensures that the recorder follows the same spiral
path as a conventional CD. A CD recorder writes data to a CD-R disc by pulsing its laser to heat areas of the organic dye layer. The writing process does not produce indentations (pits); instead, the heat permanently changes the optical properties of the dye, changing the reflectivity of those areas. Using a low laser power, so as not to further alter the dye, the disc is read back in the same way as a CD-ROM. However, the reflected light is modulated not by pits, but by the alternating regions of heated and unaltered dye. The change of the intensity of the reflected laser radiation is transformed into an electrical signal, from which the digital information is recovered ("decoded"). Once a section of a CD-R is written, it cannot be erased or rewritten, unlike a CD-RW
CD-RW
A CD-RW is a rewritable optical disc. It was introduced in 1997, and was known as "CD-Writable" during development. It was preceded by the CD-MO, which was never commercially released....

. A CD-R can be recorded in multiple sessions.
A CD recorder can write to a CD-R using several methods including:
  1. Disc At Once – the whole CD-R is written in one session with no gaps and the disc is "closed" meaning no more data can be added and the CD-R effectively becomes a standard read-only CD. With no gaps between the tracks the Disc At Once format is useful for "live" audio recordings.
  2. Track At Once – data are written to the CD-R one track at a time but the CD is left "open" for further recording at a later stage. It also allows data and audio to reside on the same CD-R.
  3. Packet Writing
    Packet writing
    Packet writing or IPW , is an optical disc recording technology used to allow write-once and rewritable CD and DVD media to be used in a similar manner to a floppy disk from within the operating system, i.e., it allows users to create, modify, and delete files and directories on demand without the...

     – used to record data to a CD-R in "packets", allowing extra information to be appended to a disc at a later time, or for information on the disc to be made "invisible". In this way, CD-R can emulate CD-RW; however, each time information on the disc is altered, more data has to be written to the disc. There can be compatibility issues with this format and some CD drives.


With careful examination, the written and unwritten areas can be distinguished by the naked eye. CD-Rs are written from the center outwards, so the written area appears as an inner band with slightly different shading.

Expected lifespan

Real-life (not accelerated aging) tests have revealed that some CD-Rs degrade quickly even if stored normally. The quality of a CD-R disc has a large and direct influence on longevity—low quality discs should not be expected to last very long. According to research conducted by J. Perdereau, CD-Rs are expected to have an average life expectancy of 10 years. Branding isn't a reliable guide to quality, because many brands (major as well as no name) do not manufacture their own discs. Instead they are sourced from different manufacturers of varying quality. For best results, the actual manufacturer and material components of each batch of discs should be verified.

Burned CD-Rs suffer from material degradation, just like most writable media. CD-R media have an internal layer of dye used to store data. In a CD-RW
CD-RW
A CD-RW is a rewritable optical disc. It was introduced in 1997, and was known as "CD-Writable" during development. It was preceded by the CD-MO, which was never commercially released....

 disc, the recording layer is made of an alloy of silver and other metals—indium, antimony, and tellurium. In CD-R media, the dye itself can degrade, causing data to become unreadable.

As well as degradation of the dye
Dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

, failure of a CD-R can be due to the reflective surface. While silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 is less expensive and more widely used, it is more prone to oxidation resulting in a non-reflecting surface. Gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 on the other hand, although more expensive and no longer widely used, is an inactive material, so gold-based CD-Rs do not suffer from this problem.

Labeling

It is recommended if using adhesive-backed paper labels that the labels be specially made for CD-Rs. An unlabeled CD is well balanced, so that it vibrates only slightly when rotated at high speed. Bad or improperly made labels, or labels applied off-center, unbalance the CD and can cause it to vibrate seriously when it spins, which causes read errors and even risks damaging the drive.

A professional alternative to CD labels is pre-printed CDs using a 5-color silkscreen or offset press. Many large CD replicators now offer this type of service for .03 per impression.

Using a permanent marker pen is also a common practice. However, solvents from such pens can affect the dye layer.

Security risk

Since CD-Rs in general cannot be logically erased to any degree, the disposal of CD-Rs presents a possible security issue if they contain sensitive / private data. Destroying the data requires physically destroying the disc or data layer. Heating the disc in a microwave oven for 10–15 seconds effectively destroys the data layer by causing arcing in the metal reflective layer, but this same arcing may cause damage or excessive wear to the microwave oven. Many office paper shredders are also designed to shred CDs. CD-R discs can otherwise be made unreadable by making a visible scratch on the label, or "paint side" radially with a nail or other sharp object.

Some recent burners support erase operations on -R media (Plextor, LiteOn), by "overwriting" the stored data with strong laser power, although the erased area cannot be overwritten with new data.

Recycling

The polycarbonate material and possible gold or silver in the reflective layer would make CD-Rs highly recyclable. However, the polycarbonate is of very little value and the quantity of precious metals is so small that it is not profitable to recover them. Consequently, recyclers that accept CD-Rs typically do not offer compensation for donating or transporting the materials.

See also

  • CD-RW
    CD-RW
    A CD-RW is a rewritable optical disc. It was introduced in 1997, and was known as "CD-Writable" during development. It was preceded by the CD-MO, which was never commercially released....

    , DVD-RW
    DVD-RW
    A DVD-RW disc is a rewritable optical disc with equal storage capacity to a DVD-R, typically 4.7 GB. The format was developed by Pioneer in November 1999 and has been approved by the DVD Forum. The smaller Mini DVD-RW holds 1.46 GB, with a diameter of 8 cm.The primary advantage of DVD-RW over...

  • CD-ROM
    CD-ROM
    A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data....

    , GD-ROM
    GD-ROM
    GD-ROM is the proprietary optical disc format used by the Dreamcast games console, as well as its arcade counterparts and the Sega/Nintendo/Namco Triforce arcade system...

  • DVD
    DVD
    A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

    , DVD-R
    DVD-R
    DVD-R is a DVD recordable format. A DVD-R typically has a storage capacity of 4.71 GB. Pioneer has also developed an 8.5 GB dual layer version, DVD-R DL, which appeared on the market in 2005....

    , DVD+R
    DVD+R
    DVD+R is part of optical disc recording technologies. It is a format for optical disc data storage that utilizes digital recording. It is similar to, but incompatible with, the older DVD-R standard...

    , DVD+R DL
    DVD+R DL
    DVD+R DL also called DVD+R9, is a derivative of the DVD+R format created by the DVD+RW Alliance. Its use was first demonstrated in October 2003. DVD+R DL discs employ two recordable dye layers, each capable of storing nearly the 4.7 GB capacity of a single-layer disc, almost doubling the total...

  • Blu-ray Disc
    Blu-ray Disc
    Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc storage medium designed to supersede the DVD format. The plastic disc is 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick, the same size as DVDs and CDs. Blu-ray Discs contain 25 GB per layer, with dual layer discs being the norm for feature-length video discs...

  • HD DVD
    HD DVD
    HD DVD is a discontinued high-density optical disc format for storing data and high-definition video.Supported principally by Toshiba, HD DVD was envisioned to be the successor to the standard DVD format...

  • CD recorder
  • LightScribe
    LightScribe
    LightScribe is an optical disc recording technology that uses specially coated recordable CD and DVD media to produce laser-etched labels with text or graphics, as opposed to stick-on labels and printable discs....

  • Labelflash
    LabelFlash
    LabelFlash is a technology which allows users to burn custom designs or images onto DVD media, introduced by NEC in December 2005 . This is similar to the LightScribe technology invented by Hewlett-Packard earlier...

  • Rainbow Books
    Rainbow Books
    The Rainbow Books are a collection of standards defining the formats of Compact Discs.Red BookYellow BookThe Rainbow Books are a collection of standards defining the formats of Compact Discs.Red Book...

  • Absolute Time In Pregroove
    Absolute Time in Pregroove
    Absolute Time in Pregroove is a method of storing information on an optical medium, used on CD-R and other writable discs. ATIP information is only readable on CD-R and CD-RW drives, as normal drives don't need the information stored on it.-Usage:...

  • Optical disc authoring
    Optical disc authoring
    Optical disc authoring, including DVD and Blu-ray Disc authoring , is the process of assembling source material—video, audio or other data—into the proper logical volume format to then be recorded onto an optical disc .-Process:To burn an optical disc, one usually first creates an...

  • MultiLevel Recording
    MultiLevel Recording
    MultiLevel Recording was a technology originally developed by Optex Corporation and promoted by Calimetrics to increase the storage capacity of optical discs. It failed to establish itself on the market...

    , an obsolete technology (with non-binary modulation)
  • CD-R caddy

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