ZIP vs. CDRW drives

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
with CDRWs? This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.

How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
reliable than CDRWs?

Thanks.
13 answers Last reply
More about cdrw drives
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    oppie1965 wrote:

    > I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
    > made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
    > week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
    > friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
    > with CDRWs? This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    > a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
    > Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.

    Don't. Regardless of any properties of the disk, schemes that treat a CD or
    DVD as a directly accessible write device are not reliable. Further, the
    reading of the disk depends on that software being present. If you're
    going to write to a CD or DVD then use Easy-CD Creator or Nero or something
    else that can write an ISO disk and you'll find the result much more
    satisfactory.

    If you _must_ use the disk as a direct-write device then you should be using
    DVD-RAM, which was designed for this purpose and uses different formatting
    from standard CDs and DVDs.

    > How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
    > it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
    > reliable than CDRWs?

    I haven't found there to be any problem with the Zip media but I don't use
    it very often. To tell the truth, if you're going for that kind of device
    and if you can still find one I much prefer the LS-250, which can also read
    and write standard diskettes and can with special software get over 30 meg
    on a _standard_ diskette, readable only in an LS-250 drive with that
    software installed.

    My big problem with it is the cost of the media--the best price I can find
    is 4 bucks for a six-pack of 100s, which still has less storage than a
    single CD that costs less than half as much for medical-grade or 15 cents
    for off-brand bulk pack. The 250s are 5 bucks a shot and up, the 750s 7+.
    That's getting into the same territory as 20 gig DDS4 tapes.

    > Thanks.

    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    >If you're going to write to a CD or DVD then use
    >Easy-CD Creator or Nero or something else that
    >can write an ISO disk and you'll find the result
    >much more satisfactory.

    In Easy CD Creator, if I use DataCD, would I have to make a new CD when
    I wanted to add to the archive?

    It doesn't sound like a ZIP drive is the way to go. What is DLT? How
    much does it cost? I'm on a very limited budget, but need a reliable
    way to back up my files.

    I've never had a reliable backup system, but I'm tired of going
    without.

    Thanks,

    Ralph
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    "oppie1965" <oppie1965@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1119045760.979734.155220@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
    > made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
    > week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
    > friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
    > with CDRWs? This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    > a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
    > Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.
    >
    > How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
    > it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
    > reliable than CDRWs?
    >
    > Thanks.
    >

    The 2 primary reasons for read failures of cdrw media is user mishandling,
    and reflectivity properties of the media. The first can be addressed by
    handling with clean hands, and keeping the media in a case designed for it.
    The latter is a touch and go thing. Can be simply a bad batch made by the
    originator of the CDrw media, or, may be common by the maker of the CDrw
    media, bad reputation. Or, the color reflectivity you see on the burn side
    is not compatible with your cdrw, but may work in another cdrw quite well
    common among cdr media. The write laser may be having problems inside of
    your CDrw as well.

    Zip drive media isn't as susceptible to user mishandling, and the media
    usually itself is hardly ever the problem. Do a google search on "click of
    death". Not sure about any improvements to the zip drive over the past
    couple of years, if there were any for that matter.

    When comparing cdrw and zip drives, most people prefer cdrw simply because
    of its increased capacity. Generally, the public is moving to DVDrw for
    that very reason.
  4. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    oppie1965 <oppie1965@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1119045760.979734.155220@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

    > I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few
    > months ago, I made a backup of important files on a CDRW
    > disc, went to update it last week, and everything is gone! I
    > thought it may be my computer, so my friend tried it on his
    > CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common with CDRWs?

    Nope.

    > This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    > a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting.
    > I use the Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.

    How did you write to the CDRWs with Roxio ?

    > How reliable are ZIP drives and discs?

    Rather poor.

    > I had one a long time ago, and it died after
    > a few years. Are they more reliable now?

    Nope.

    > Are they more reliable than CDRWs?

    Nope.

    Its certainly possible to do CDs reliably. I've never lost a single one.
  5. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Previously oppie1965 <oppie1965@hotmail.com> wrote:
    > I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
    > made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
    > week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
    > friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
    > with CDRWs?

    Unfortunately, yes. CD-<someting is cheap, unreliable mass-market media
    that are only standardised to some degree and were every manufacuter
    uses his own mnanufacturing paramaters. Don't depend on these things!

    > This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    > a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
    > Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.

    > How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
    > it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
    > reliable than CDRWs?

    They are relatively unreliable and have basically been phased out.
    Thhe media are more reliable than CD-RW, especially because of the
    cartridge, but the drives are not too reliable.

    If you want a reliable storage medium, have a look at 3.5" MOD.
    They cost not more than ZIP, if you include the cost of the
    cartridges and they are extremely reliable and long-lived,
    media as well as drives. Media zisez rango from 640MB to 2.3GB,
    same for the drives that can all read/write the smaller formats
    back to the historic 128MB cqartridges. Media lifetime is
    in the decades.

    Arno
  6. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Arno Wagner wrote:

    > Previously oppie1965 <oppie1965@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >> I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
    >> made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
    >> week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
    >> friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
    >> with CDRWs?
    >
    > Unfortunately, yes. CD-<someting is cheap, unreliable mass-market media
    > that are only standardised to some degree and were every manufacuter
    > uses his own mnanufacturing paramaters. Don't depend on these things!

    Arno, the OP brought up something that I've never asked you. What software
    were you using to write the CDs on which you've experienced failures?

    >> This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    >> a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
    >> Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.
    >
    >> How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
    >> it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
    >> reliable than CDRWs?
    >
    > They are relatively unreliable and have basically been phased out.
    > Thhe media are more reliable than CD-RW, especially because of the
    > cartridge, but the drives are not too reliable.
    >
    > If you want a reliable storage medium, have a look at 3.5" MOD.
    > They cost not more than ZIP, if you include the cost of the
    > cartridges and they are extremely reliable and long-lived,
    > media as well as drives. Media zisez rango from 640MB to 2.3GB,
    > same for the drives that can all read/write the smaller formats
    > back to the historic 128MB cqartridges. Media lifetime is
    > in the decades.

    To tell the truth if I were spending that much for the drive and media I'd
    think real hard about DLT. Media life for DLT is also in the decades if
    it's stored properly and cost of a 40 gig tape is about the same as for a
    2.3 GB MO cartridge.

    > Arno

    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
  7. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    oppie1965 wrote:

    >>If you're going to write to a CD or DVD then use
    >>Easy-CD Creator or Nero or something else that
    >>can write an ISO disk and you'll find the result
    >>much more satisfactory.
    >
    > In Easy CD Creator, if I use DataCD, would I have to make a new CD when
    > I wanted to add to the archive?

    You can leave the archive open and add more to it later.

    > It doesn't sound like a ZIP drive is the way to go. What is DLT? How
    > much does it cost? I'm on a very limited budget, but need a reliable
    > way to back up my files.

    DLT is Digital Linear Tape--it's the preferred storage medium for Pixar and
    the other big CGI houses because of the high capacity and proven long
    storage life.

    The tapes are about 25 bucks a piece, the best price I've seen on a new 40
    gig drive (80 compressed, if you believe the manufacturers) is about 500
    bucks. You can get older, smaller used drives off of ebay pretty
    cheap--they're generally there because they were replaced with newer drives
    with more capacity--DLT drives are quite durable--they were the highest of
    high end tape when they were new--drives that sold new for $5000 or so you
    see now for a hundred bucks.

    DO NOT get your _tapes_ on ebay though--the ones I've gotten off of ebay had
    problems--the big weakness of DLT is that if the drive fails to catch the
    tape on the first try then you need to open the drive up and retrieve the
    piece that is supposed to grab the tape--it's not difficult once you've
    done it a couple of times but it's a nuisance--and about 2/3 of the tapes
    I've gotten off of ebay were improperly rewound or damaged in such a way
    that the drive won't catch the tape.

    > I've never had a reliable backup system, but I'm tired of going
    > without.

    One method that is often used and is quite cost-effective for small systems
    is to use disks in removable caddies and treat them as disposable media
    like you would with tape. 40 gig drives start at 50 bucks or so for IDE or
    5 bucks more for SATA, which is in principle hot-swappable although the
    drivers don't always support that capability. The caddies are about 15
    bucks.

    > Thanks,
    >
    > Ralph

    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
  8. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Lil' Dave <spamyourself@virus.net> wrote in message
    news:PLSse.7323$pa3.3214@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net...
    > oppie1965 <oppie1965@hotmail.com> wrote

    >> I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
    >> made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
    >> week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
    >> friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
    >> with CDRWs? This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    >> a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
    >> Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.
    >>
    >> How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
    >> it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
    >> reliable than CDRWs?

    > The 2 primary reasons for read failures of cdrw media is
    > user mishandling, and reflectivity properties of the media.
    > The first can be addressed by handling with clean hands,

    Better to never touch it at all, only ever touch
    the outside rim, the inner hole and the label side.

    > and keeping the media in a case designed for it.

    > The latter is a touch and go thing. Can be simply a bad
    > batch made by the originator of the CDrw media, or, may
    > be common by the maker of the CDrw media, bad reputation.

    Or how it was burnt software wise.

    > Or, the color reflectivity you see on the burn side is not
    > compatible with your cdrw, but may work in another cdrw
    > quite well common among cdr media. The write laser
    > may be having problems inside of your CDrw as well.

    > Zip drive media isn't as susceptible to user mishandling, and the
    > media usually itself is hardly ever the problem. Do a google search
    > on "click of death". Not sure about any improvements to the zip
    > drive over the past couple of years, if there were any for that matter.

    > When comparing cdrw and zip drives, most people prefer
    > cdrw simply because of its increased capacity. Generally,
    > the public is moving to DVDrw for that very reason.
    >
    >
  9. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    "J. Clarke" <jclarke.usenet@snet.net.invalid> wrote in message
    news:d917ks02ltj@news4.newsguy.com...
    > oppie1965 wrote:
    >
    > > I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
    > > made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
    > > week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
    > > friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
    > > with CDRWs? This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    > > a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
    > > Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.
    >
    > Don't. Regardless of any properties of the disk, schemes that treat a CD
    or
    > DVD as a directly accessible write device are not reliable. Further, the
    > reading of the disk depends on that software being present. If you're
    > going to write to a CD or DVD then use Easy-CD Creator or Nero or
    something
    > else that can write an ISO disk and you'll find the result much more
    > satisfactory.
    >

    I was under the same impression after using INCD in the past. If the PC
    locked up for any reason, and a reset or cold boot was required, INCD could
    not work with the INCD formatted CDRW media. So, anything I saved to it was
    not accessible. However, the last two versions of INCD don't seem to need a
    dismount sequence during a shutdown or restart in windows. So, this is not
    a problem any more.

    Using the same packet writing software when sharing such CDRWs is still a
    requirement. Found, at least in the case of INCD, its got to be the same
    version as well for best results.

    Am continuing to use ISO 9660 format and Joliet for archiving to CDRs
    though. Same for split image files on DVD-RW.

    > If you _must_ use the disk as a direct-write device then you should be
    using
    > DVD-RAM, which was designed for this purpose and uses different formatting
    > from standard CDs and DVDs.
    >
    > > How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
    > > it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
    > > reliable than CDRWs?
    >
    > I haven't found there to be any problem with the Zip media but I don't use
    > it very often. To tell the truth, if you're going for that kind of device
    > and if you can still find one I much prefer the LS-250, which can also
    read
    > and write standard diskettes and can with special software get over 30 meg
    > on a _standard_ diskette, readable only in an LS-250 drive with that
    > software installed.
    >

    Believe you mean LS-240.

    > My big problem with it is the cost of the media--the best price I can find
    > is 4 bucks for a six-pack of 100s, which still has less storage than a
    > single CD that costs less than half as much for medical-grade or 15 cents
    > for off-brand bulk pack. The 250s are 5 bucks a shot and up, the 750s 7+.
    > That's getting into the same territory as 20 gig DDS4 tapes.
    >
    > > Thanks.
    >
    > --
    > --John
    > to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    > (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
  10. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Lil' Dave wrote:

    > "J. Clarke" <jclarke.usenet@snet.net.invalid> wrote in message
    > news:d917ks02ltj@news4.newsguy.com...
    >> oppie1965 wrote:
    >>
    >> > I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
    >> > made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
    >> > week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
    >> > friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
    >> > with CDRWs? This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    >> > a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
    >> > Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.
    >>
    >> Don't. Regardless of any properties of the disk, schemes that treat a CD
    > or
    >> DVD as a directly accessible write device are not reliable. Further, the
    >> reading of the disk depends on that software being present. If you're
    >> going to write to a CD or DVD then use Easy-CD Creator or Nero or
    > something
    >> else that can write an ISO disk and you'll find the result much more
    >> satisfactory.
    >>
    >
    > I was under the same impression after using INCD in the past. If the PC
    > locked up for any reason, and a reset or cold boot was required, INCD
    > could
    > not work with the INCD formatted CDRW media. So, anything I saved to it
    > was
    > not accessible. However, the last two versions of INCD don't seem to need
    > a
    > dismount sequence during a shutdown or restart in windows. So, this is
    > not a problem any more.
    >
    > Using the same packet writing software when sharing such CDRWs is still a
    > requirement. Found, at least in the case of INCD, its got to be the same
    > version as well for best results.
    >
    > Am continuing to use ISO 9660 format and Joliet for archiving to CDRs
    > though. Same for split image files on DVD-RW.
    >
    >> If you _must_ use the disk as a direct-write device then you should be
    > using
    >> DVD-RAM, which was designed for this purpose and uses different
    >> formatting from standard CDs and DVDs.
    >>
    >> > How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
    >> > it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
    >> > reliable than CDRWs?
    >>
    >> I haven't found there to be any problem with the Zip media but I don't
    >> use
    >> it very often. To tell the truth, if you're going for that kind of
    >> device and if you can still find one I much prefer the LS-250, which can
    >> also
    > read
    >> and write standard diskettes and can with special software get over 30
    >> meg on a _standard_ diskette, readable only in an LS-250 drive with that
    >> software installed.
    >>
    >
    > Believe you mean LS-240.

    Yep. One of these days I'll get my fingers tained to type what I mean. Of
    course I've been trying to do that for over 30 years now.

    >> My big problem with it is the cost of the media--the best price I can
    >> find is 4 bucks for a six-pack of 100s, which still has less storage than
    >> a single CD that costs less than half as much for medical-grade or 15
    >> cents
    >> for off-brand bulk pack. The 250s are 5 bucks a shot and up, the 750s
    >> 7+. That's getting into the same territory as 20 gig DDS4 tapes.
    >>
    >> > Thanks.
    >>
    >> --
    >> --John
    >> to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    >> (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)

    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
  11. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Yesterday I made a Data CD with Nero. The burn process went fine, but
    when I try to read it, I get a Drive Not Ready error. Is my drive bad?
    It reads store bought CDs fine.

    One problem I have is my tower only has bay, and that has the CDRW (not
    counting the floppy).

    Do the removables come in external models? Or should just try to get a
    better CDRW?

    Thanks,

    Ralph
  12. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    Previously J. Clarke <jclarke.usenet@snet.net.invalid> wrote:
    > Arno Wagner wrote:

    >> Previously oppie1965 <oppie1965@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>> I have a CDWriter CDRW, and I'm having problems. A few months ago, I
    >>> made a backup of important files on a CDRW disc, went to update it last
    >>> week, and everything is gone! I thought it may be my computer, so my
    >>> friend tried it on his CDRW and couldn't read it either. Is this common
    >>> with CDRWs?
    >>
    >> Unfortunately, yes. CD-<someting is cheap, unreliable mass-market media
    >> that are only standardised to some degree and were every manufacuter
    >> uses his own mnanufacturing paramaters. Don't depend on these things!

    > Arno, the OP brought up something that I've never asked you. What software
    > were you using to write the CDs on which you've experienced failures?

    Cdrecord on Linux as well as Nero on Windows. Validation (test
    read) on an older DVD drive also with Linux. No buffer-unterruns
    as far as I remember. I have not written many media in the
    last year or so and only with 4x or 8x, which gives much
    better results.

    >>> This isn't the first time this has happened. I went to make
    >>> a new backup CD today, and got an error while formatting. I use the
    >>> Direct Data CD feature of Roxio.
    >>
    >>> How reliable are ZIP drives and discs? I had one a long time ago, and
    >>> it died after a few years. Are they more reliable now? Are they more
    >>> reliable than CDRWs?
    >>
    >> They are relatively unreliable and have basically been phased out.
    >> Thhe media are more reliable than CD-RW, especially because of the
    >> cartridge, but the drives are not too reliable.
    >>
    >> If you want a reliable storage medium, have a look at 3.5" MOD.
    >> They cost not more than ZIP, if you include the cost of the
    >> cartridges and they are extremely reliable and long-lived,
    >> media as well as drives. Media zisez rango from 640MB to 2.3GB,
    >> same for the drives that can all read/write the smaller formats
    >> back to the historic 128MB cqartridges. Media lifetime is
    >> in the decades.

    > To tell the truth if I were spending that much for the drive and media I'd
    > think real hard about DLT. Media life for DLT is also in the decades if
    > it's stored properly and cost of a 40 gig tape is about the same as for a
    > 2.3 GB MO cartridge.

    True. But MOD is random access while DLT is more linear access. If
    you do bulk backups of large amounts of data, and 5-10 years lifetime
    is fine, then MOD is not for you and DLT might be the way to go.
    If you have smaller amounts and/or do individual files (e.g.
    family photographs, source code, thesis text, ...) that need to
    be readable for the forseeable future, then MOD is perfect.

    Arno
  13. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    By nature CD-RW drives are far more reliable than ZIP drives due to
    multiple reasons (assuming both are stored at home in standard
    conditions out of the light):

    1) Zip disks deteriorate due to the magnetic layer used. Simple as
    that. CD-R disk don't do this. Over time, the magnetic layer will
    simply degrade.

    2) Increased humidity can deteriorate the ZIP disk recording layer;
    won't happen with CD-R discs that use gold reflective layers (eg. Mitsui
    Gold CD-R discs).

    3) Use over time will result in the magnetic layer of the ZIP disk being
    worn out because the head rides on the surface, grinding it away with
    every revolution. No such thing with CD-R discs.

    ---

    Anyways, the key here for data integrity?

    (besides what's written below, Roxio EZCD has a lot of user reported
    problems in their own forums. Better? Nero.com or even the free
    CDBurnerXP Pro: http://www.cdburnerxp.se/

    CDBurnerXP does it all, for free!)

    ---

    http://www.silverace.com/dottyspotty/issue12.html

    This issue contains advice on selecting quality CD-R discs to use when
    recording/storing imporant data and photos for long-term storage.

    0. Don't use CD-RW discs! They're only designed for short-term storage,
    and are erasable. Don't go putting your imporant photos on these!

    1. The dye used is probably the most important for long-term stability
    and lifespan.

    There are three dyes used today in CD-Rs, in order of preferece.

    A. Phthalocyanine - inherently stable unlike cyanine dye which must
    be stabilized by the addition of other metals, etc. Longest lasting
    under testing. Expected lifespans exceeding 200+ years when coupled
    with gold reflective layers in cold storage.

    (color, light green on silver reflective surface; light
    yellow/green on gold reflective surface)

    B. Azo. Only Mitsubishi/Verbatim makes this. Up to 100 years,
    less stable than Phthalocyanine dye, but more so than cyanine dye.

    (color, very deep blue on silver reflective surface)

    C. Cyanine dye. Chemically unstable alone, and must be stabilized.
    Still, less stable than the other dyes in long-term simulation tests.
    However, the first made consumer CD-Rs used this and is part of the
    'standard' all CD-RW drives must be compatible with.

    (color, green-blue/blue on silver)

    2. You can use CDRIdentifier to read the dye information stored on the
    CD-Rs you buy as well, which is more reliable if you don't know which
    bottom colors represent which combinations.

    CDRIdentifier: http://www.gum.de/it/download/english.htm

    3. Besides dye, the reflective layer used affects long-term storage
    lifespans.

    There are three known types used today, in order of preference:
    A. Gold - yep, expensive, but from the bottom, it'll look like real
    gold.

    B. Gold + Silver - Only Kodak Ultima Silver+Gold CD-Rs use this.
    Their tests suggest this combination lasts longer than silver-looking
    only discs.

    C. silver. - not true silver, but silver looking. Most discs
    produced today use this. However, given that metals except gold
    corrode, corrosion of such surfaces (when the top laquer layer has been
    removed/scratched) can and will occur.

    4. Do not look at the top when trying to determing reflective layer
    type! Look at the bottom in particular, the exposed areas around the
    rim and inner hub. The fake 'gold' layer they put on top of some CD-Rs
    are not true gold at all, and only there to 'fake' the customers.

    5. The longest lasting CD-Rs, based on longevity testing, use
    Phthalocyanine dye and Gold reflective layers. Phthalocyanine with
    Gold&Silver reflective layers next, followed by Phthalocyanine and
    Silver and Azo and Silver. Cyanine on anything (only silver today) is
    the worst performing disc.

    6. Typically, Japanese made CD-Rs tend have better quality control, IMO.
    Once they move production to Taiwan/Mexico, forget em.

    Top Quality Name-Brands, in order of preference:

    A. Mitsui Gold CD-R & Kodak Gold Ultima - Phthalocyanine dye + Gold.
    B. Kodak Gold Silver+Gold - Phthalocyanine dye + Silver & Gold.
    C. Mitsui Silver, Ricoh Platinum - Phthalocyanine dye + Silver.
    D. Mitsubishi/Verbatim - Azo + Silver.
    E. Taiyo Yuden - Cyanine + Silver.

    7. You can get these at www.cdrexpress.com and www.memorymedia.com.

    Use www.silverace.com/smartpig/ to locate more places to buy, along with
    online coupons, rebates, and ways to save money online.

    8. All the other 'cheapies' not mentioned above are generally of poorer
    & more variable quality. eg. those $15 / 100pk of no-name CD-Rs at
    www.microcenter.com and www.compusa.com are the worst in long-term
    longevity.

    However, even the quality of cheapies today will last a few years
    before deteriorating (assuming no long sunlight exposure; a few hours in
    the sun will kill discs) and will work fine. Great for disposable
    burns, music, and stuff you don't care if they fade away soon.

    The poorest performing brand-name disc above, 6-#E, will still last
    10-20 years in cold storage w/o any problems at all!

    Remember to keep them away from sunlight/UV, and that most likely,
    you'll be moving all of the data off CD-Rs onto newer storage medium
    (maybe DVD-R? Holographic?) in 10-20 years. Why? Not one storage
    medium has lived that long, and realistically, you'll want to move the
    data off obsolete storage media =before= they stop making the drives!!

    Just like nobody has 5 1/4" (or 8/12") floppy drives anymore,
    expect only to need at the minimum discs that'll last until you migrate
    the data off them in 10-20 years from now. Of course, higher quality,
    longer lasting discs 6-#A-#D will only help your peace-of-mind.

    9. Burn at least two copies of every important piece of data.
    Preferably, to two different brands of discs, and preferably two
    difference types (eg. Picking #A always is a good #1 pick, anything from
    6-#B-#E as your #2). Although simulated longevity tests suggest #A has
    the best lifepsan, nobody has ever sat around long enough yet to see if
    that's true (in fact, CD-Rs have been out only about 10-15 years!).
    Best to make sure you use two different brands and types to keep
    bad-batches and combos of dyes/layers from ruining your data years from now.

    10. Double-check all imporant discs after each burn - make sure they
    match the original files 100% before putting them away and assuming
    they're good burns. Use the CD-R program's 'verify-after-write'
    feature, available in only some programs, or CDCheck:
    http://fusion.zejn.si/ to do this.
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