Information about CD and DVD media types - General

Basics

  • Make sure the disc is clean from dust, fingerprints, and scratches.
  • Handle only at the hub or outer edge. Do not touch the shiny surface.
  • Make sure the CD disc has the label facing outward.
  • Do not insert more than one disc into the drive at a time.
  • Never insert a warped, cracked, or broken disc.
  • Make sure that you are inserting the proper type of disc into the drive.
  • Make certain the disc is properly seated in the tray before you close it.

Cleaning
You can purchase a CD cleaning machine. Alternatively, you can use a soft lint-free cloth, tissue, or paper towel moistened with water and soap or a mild detergent. Wipe in a straight line from center to edge. Do not use a circular motion or go in the direction of the tracks as recommended for an LP. A CD player can generally track across scratches that are perpendicular to its path reasonably well, but not those that run the parallel to the tracks. Never use any strong solvents or alcohol. Even stubborn spots will eventually yield to persistence. Washing under running water is fine as well. Rinse and gently dry with a lint free cloth. Do not rub or use a dry cloth to clean as any dirt particles will cause scratches.

Scratches
Despite the fact that only one side is read, serious damage to either side can cause problems during play or render the CD totally useless. A common misconception is that the data is on the bottom, but if you examine it under a microscope, you will see that the data is beneath the label.

It is important that the label side be protected from major scratches which could penetrate to the information layer. Even with the sophisticated error correction used on the CD, damage to this layer, especially if it runs parallel to the tracks, can make the CD unusable. Small scratches in many cases are ignored and do not cause problems. If you scratched it, and it still works, copy the data while you still can.

If you scratched the bottom side, sometimes it can be repaired or cleaned like any other CD.

Storage
The recording uses an infrared laser to darken the spots used for data. Therefore, recordable discs are susceptible to sunlight.

Exposing the disc to excessive heat and humidity can also greatly reduce its lifetime. In general, recordable discs are less tolerant of environmental conditions than store-bought CDs and should be treated with greater care.

A individual CD case is the best storage option. Sliding discs in and out of sleeves may cause scratches.

If there is a need to put one down for a moment, the label side is preferable since minor scratches have no effect on performance so long as they do not penetrate to the storage layer below.

CD vs CD-R vs CD-RW vs DVD vs DVD-R, etc.
CD players will play CDs and most CD-Rs and CD-RWs. You can not record onto CDs using a CD player.

CD-R is short for "CD-Recordable". Recordable CDs are WORM (Write Once, Read Multiple) media that work just like standard CDs. The advantage of CD-R over other types of optical media is that you can use the discs with most standard CD players. The disadvantage is that you can not reuse a disc. All CD recorders can read CDs, just like a standard CD drive.

A related technology called CD-Rewritable (CD-RW) allows you to erase discs and reuse them, but the CD-RW media does not work in all players. CD-RW drives are able to write both CD-R and CD-RW discs.

DVD players use a completely different disk technology from CDs. DVDs at this time are used primarily for movies and games. You can not write DVDs with your CD recorder.

DVD-R can copy information to DVD media.
There are many different DVD formats: DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM. Make sure that your writer and reader support compatible formats.

There is no known way to write to a specific medium with a specific writer and be sure that it can be read on all readers.

CD and DVD drives
CD-ROM drive

CD-ROM

This drive can read all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs. This drive has no recording capability.

CD-RW drive

CD-RW -OR- CD-RW high speed -OR- CD-RW ultra speed

This drive can read all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs. In addition, this drive can record on CD-R discs and CD-RW discs.

Note: CD-RW drives that have the high speed designation on the logo are capable of recording on high speed CD-RW discs. CDRW drives that have the ultra speed designation on the logo are capable of recording on 24x CD-RW discs.

DVD-ROM drive

DVD-ROM CD-ROM

This drive can read DVD-ROM discs and all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs. This drive has no recording capability.

RAM-Read DVD-ROM drive

DVD-ROM CD-ROM

This drive can read DVD-ROM discs, type II DVD-RAM disks, DVD-R disks and all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs. This drive has no recording capability.

CD-RW/DVD-ROM combination drive

DVD-ROM CD-RW

This drive can read all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs as well as DVD-ROM discs and DVD-R discs. In addition, this drive can record on CD-R discs and standard-speed CD-RW discs.

DVD-MultiPlayer/CD-RW combination drive

DVD-ROM MultiPlayer CD-RW high speed -OR- DVD-ROM MultiPlayer CD-RW ultra speed

This drive can read all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs as well as DVD-ROM discs, DVD-R discs, type II DVD-RAM discs, and DVD-RW disks. In addition, this drive can record on CD-R discs and CD-RW standard and high speed discs.

Note: Drives that have the ultra speed designation on the logo are capable of recording on 24x CD-RW discs.

DVD-RAM drive

DVD-RAM CD-ROM

This drive can read type I and type II DVD-RAM discs, DVD-ROM discs and all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs. In addition, it can record on type I and type II DVD-RAM discs.

DVD-RAM/DVD-R drive

DVD-RAM/R CD-ROM

This drive can read DVD-ROM discs, DVD-R discs, DVD-RAM discs, DVD-RW discs, and all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs. In addition, it can record on DVD-R discs, type I DVD-RAM discs, and type II DVD-RAM discs.

MultiBurner drive

DVD MultiBurner CD-RW high speed

This drive can read DVD-ROM discs, DVD-R discs, DVD-RAM discs, DVD-RW discs, and all types of CDs, such as CD-ROM discs, CD-RW discs, CD-R discs, and audio CDs. In addition, it can record on DVD-R discs, DVD-RW discs, type II DVD-RAM discs, CD-RW standard and high speed discs, and CD-R discs.

Quality and reliability
The quality of the recordable disc media makes a big difference. One type of recordable CD disc may produce a problem while another may not. Different brands may work in one drive and not in a different one. Usually, purchasing a brand name is recommended. But media quality varies, vendors are constantly switching sources, a vendor may manufacture in different locations, and basic materials may vary. Experiment with different brands of recordable discs until you find one that works reliably for you before you buy a lot.

If you are producing non-archival music CDs, disseminating data for the short term, or simply making quick copies to send to friends, an inexpensive spindle may be more economical, even if you get a few bad discs per batch.

Speed
Be sure that your media and your recorder are compatible. For example, if you buy 6x CD-RS, but your CD burner records at up to 8x, you can not record at more than 6x. The speed rating of a disc, the top speed at which you can reliably write data, is straightforward. Use discs that match or exceed the top speed of your drive, such as 24x media for a 24x drive or 48x media for a 32x drive. You can always use higher rated media for a slower-rated drive, but trying to use slower-rated media in a higher rated drive could lead to problems. One exception to this rule is that older CD-RW discs that are rated at 1x or 2x cannot be written in drives which carry the "High Speed" or "Ultra Speed" CD-RW logo. These drives must have discs rated at 4x speed or higher, or carry the "Multi-speed" logo.

Capacity
The specifications for the length of an audio CD is just over 74 minutes or 650 MB. There are also 80-minute discs are also common. 80-minute discs push the basic CD specifications to the limit. Some manufacturers sell 99-minute discs. These discs have compromised the basic CD specifications and may not be readable in other drives or consumer CD players. The track pitch may have been reduced or the track extends closer to the outside edge of the disc or both. If the track pitch has been reduced, there could be tracking or audible noise problems throughout the disc. If the track extends closer to the outer edge, there could be problems near the end of the discs. Some players may not read these discs at all.

Color
Designer colors such as red, blue, purple and black are purely cosmetic, having no affect at all on the quality or compatibility of a disc.

Audio Vs data
There are discs, specifically for audio. There is no difference in quality or composition between "data" blanks and "music" blanks, except for a flag that indicates which one it is. If you have a CD-RW drive, use CD-R media when creating music CDs. CD-R media is inexpensive and will play in home, car, and portable CD players. Only use CD-RW media to make CDs capable of having file rewritten and then removed later.

Labels
Adding an adhesive label to a disc can make it look more "professional", but you have to be careful. The adhesives on some labels can dissolve the discs protective coating. Asymmetric labels can throw the disc out of balance, causing read problems, and labels not designed for CDs might bubble or peel off when subjected to long periods of heat.

If you want to write directly onto the surface of a disc, you want to use a felt tip pen or pens that are approved for use on unlabeled CD-R media. The ink in some kinds of pens may damage the top coating of the disc. Never use a pencil, a ball-point, or another hard-tipped pen to write onto a CD-R, because the top layer of the disc will gouge easily on most media. Never use a solvent-based "permanent" marker on a CD-R; it can eat through the protective coating and destroy the disc. If the prospect makes you nervous, just write in the clear plastic area near the hub or only use discs with a printable top surface.

 

 



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Document ID : HT036265
Legacy Document ID : MIGR-50676
Last Updated :
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