A CD burner is an external writable CD-drive that can be attached to your computer. It lets you 'burn' data -- like files from your PC -- on to CDs, and is standard equipment in most new computers.
Traditionally, CDs (and CD-ROMs) were a 'read only' storage medium, which meant they could only be used to 'store' data. To overcome this drawback, CD burners copy digital patterns onto blank CDs, enabling data to be replicated and carried outside the computer.
For a run-through, webmonkey's 5-part tutorial is a good place to start. It says you can use the CD to hold important data you would like to backup, provided you make just one copy of data CDs for personal use.
There are two types of recordable CDs, the CD-R and CD-RW, and you can check out this article for more details on each. The main advantage of CD-Rs is that they work on almost all CD players and are quite affordable. They cannot be reused though, because patterns burned into them cannot be erased. CD-RWs, on the other hand, are re-writable discs with a built-in erase function that lets you record over old data.
If you have already hooked up your CD burner, the next step is loading the software you need (if it isn't already installed). Some of these programs can also be downloaded, like Easy CD Creator or other mastering packages.
Burners can create CDs at multiple speeds. At speed 1x, for example, the CD spins at the same rate as the player reading it, taking you 60 minutes to record 60 minutes of data. At 2x it will take you half an hour, and so on. How Stuff Works has an exhaustive section explaining the process. For reviews of recordable and rewritable drives, try this feature.
CD burners give users the flexibility of recording and storing a wide range of data that could include photographs, Web pages and other files. Bubbles, my parrot, loves the technology, but also found that the process wasn't a piece of cake. He recommends this FAQ and primer.
Recording Authority |
The Pitfalls of CD-R |
ABCs of a Clean Burn |
CD Recordable FAQ |
Burn CDs for Back-up |
CD Burning Software |
CD Maker Professional |
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