What Is CD-RW(Compact Disc-ReWritable) and CD-R VS CD-RW [MiniTool Wiki]

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Overview of CD-RW


What is CD-RW? CD-RW stands for Compact Disc Re-Writable. It is a blank CD that can be written by a CD burner. CD-RW discs can be written, read, erased and rewritten. Thus, CD-RW discs are also called rewriteable CDs. Now, continue to read this post from MiniTool to learn more information about CD-RW.

The data recorded on the CD-RW cannot be changed, but it can be deleted. Therefore, every time you want to change a file or add new data, you must completely erase the CD-RW. It’s recommended you back up your data on the CD-RW.


Now, let’s sss the speed of CD-RW. Like CD-R, the CD-RW has a hard-coded speed specification that limits the recording speed to a fairly strict range. Unlike CD-R, the minimum writing speed of CD-RW cannot record the disc-based on the heating and cooling time constant of the phase change material and the required laser energy level.

Since CD-RW discs need to be emptied before recording data if the writing speed is too slow or the energy is too low on a high-speed disc, the phase change layer will be cooled before the emptying is achieved.

Similarly, using inappropriately large amounts of laser energy can cause the material to overheat and become "insensitive" to data, which is typical of slower discs used in high-power and fast-spec drives.

Older CD-RW drives that lack proper firmware and hardware are not compatible with newer high-speed CD-RW discs due to these reasons. However, once the firmware has the correct speed and power settings can be set appropriately, the newer drives can be recorded on older CD-RW discs.

However, the actual reading speed of a CD-RW disc is not directly related to or constrained by the speed specification but mainly depends on the function of the reading drive.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Now, let’s navigate to the advantages and disadvantages of CD-RW. The details are as follows:


  1. It can be erased and reused.
  2. When used with packet writing software such as Roxio DirectCD or Nero InCD, you can access the CD-RW like any other drive in Windows.
  3. It is played on a DVD player that cannot play CD-R.


  1. It is more expensive than CD-R.
  2. It has a slower burning speed.
  3. Many CD players, especially older CD players, do not read CD-RW.


What is the difference between CD-R and CD-RW? Then, this part provides some information on CD-R vs CD-RW. Keep on your reading. The main difference between the CD-R and the CD-RW is that the CD-R can only be recorded to once, while a CD-RW can be recorded multiple times, like a hard drive. However, there are some other differences.

Multiple Rewrite

Due to the more sensitive laser optics, the CD-RW can be recorded multiple times. You may not want the information to be erasable for some applications. In these cases, whether the data is deleted intentionally or unintentionally, it can become a disaster.

Cost and Speed

CD-RW costs more than CD-R, and it takes longer to read and write information on CD-RW.

However, the price gap between CD-R and CD-RW has been narrowing.

If you don't end up reusing their CDs, the extra time and money spent on CD-RW will be wasted. However, if you want to maintain the CD, do n’t mind waiting for extra time, and do n’t mind erasing old information for brand new data, CD-RW can save you money by reusing.


The last difference is the compatibility between a CD-R and CD-RW. Some CD drives cannot burn, and some drives can only burn CD-R and not CD-RW. Since most modern drives can now not only burn but also burn both types of drives, this method has gradually become obsolete. Besides, CD-R seems to work better with frequently used media such as audio CDs.

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Final Words

To sum up, this post mainly introduces some information on the CD-RW include the definition, speed as well as the advantage. Besides, you can know the difference between CD-R and CD-RW. Hence, you will have a comprehensive and deep understanding of the CD-RW.

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