A data CD is a compact disc formatted to store files. The file types typically stored on these CDs can include zipped files, word processing documents, spreadsheets, text files, graphics, QuickTime-style movie files, or MP3 music files.
Data CDs for music, movies, software and more.
A single data CD typically offers 680-700 megabytes (MB) of storage, providing a respectable chunk of space for building backups of everything from your MP3 libraries to your favorite shows. These CDs are also useful for storing confidential files that are best kept away from your computer’s hard drive, where they can be subject to keyloggers, eavesdropping, or virus corruption. This can include financial records, business records, tax or investment files, and so on.
Data CDs can benefit from protective cases.
In addition to archiving, a data CD can also be used to easily transfer large amounts of data, presentations or programs to another computer. As oversized virtual disks, they are highly portable and indestructible, given a minimum of care in handling. Just four CDs provide more than 2.5 gigabytes of storage capacity.
Burning software may be required to create a data CD.
Data CDs come in two basic types: CD-R (writable) and CD-RW (rewritable). The difference is in formatting and price. A CD-R is sometimes called a “write-once” CD because once something is written to it, it cannot be rewritten. Information can be added until the disc is full, but the CD is not rewritable. CD-R is cheaper than CD-RW and is most often used as an audio CD to record music in the standard .cda format, which can be played on any CD player.
Data compact discs are used to store documents, movies and other types of files besides music.
A CD-RW can be burned multiple times, deleting and rewriting information. For this reason, it is often referred to as a data CD as it is more practical for storing dynamic or variable information such as backups and data files. However, these CDs are more expensive than write-once CDs. For this reason – and because CDs store so much data anyway – many people use CD-Rs as data CDs and simply buy new ones when they run out of space.
Using data CDs to back up files prevents information loss in the event of a hard drive malfunction.