University of Oregon

More about CDs and DVDs (Optical Media)

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CDs and DVDs are known as optical media because lasers are used to read and write data to the disc. There are two types of CDs and DVDs: recordable and rewritable. Recordable (abbreviated -R) means the disc can be written to only once. Rewritable (abbreviated -RW) means the disc can be written to multiple times. For data backups, -RW is the best choice because your data changes over time.

Disc Capacities & Uses

CD: 650MB to 850MB

Good for:

  • Playable CDs
  • Documents
  • Program installation files

DVD: 4GB to 8GB

Good for:

  • storing lots of pictures
  • some music
  • smaller video files
  • burning whole movies