How to Create Your Own CDs - Tech Learning

How to Create Your Own CDs

The introduction of the compact disc, through a joint venture between Sony and Philips in the early 1980s, greatly expanded the external storage possibilities of computers. While a floppy disk holds about 1.44 megabytes of information, a CD can hold over 600MB — over 400 times the capacity — all on one thin
Author:
Publish date:

The introduction of the compact disc, through a joint venture between Sony and Philips in the early 1980s, greatly expanded the external storage possibilities of computers. While a floppy disk holds about 1.44 megabytes of information, a CD can hold over 600MB — over 400 times the capacity — all on one thin disk.

A CD, unlike a floppy disk, hard disk, or Zip disk, is an optical disk while the others are magnetic disks. What they all have in common is the ability to store digital data — series of 0s and 1s that computer can interpret.

The process of putting information on a CD is called burning. Special CDs, called CD-R (R for readable) or CD-RW (RW for rewritable) are used.

Here's how it works: A blank CD has a reflective surface — any light that hits it bounces off. When you burn a CD, you are shooting a laser at the surface. This laser heats up and converts tiny segments of a layer of the CD from reflective to nonreflective. This pattern of reflective and nonreflective segments is read by a CD reader as a series of 0s and 1s — digital data just like the digital data in any computer.

What Types Of CDs Can I Create?

Data and music are the two most common types of CDs people create.

A data CD is used for storing computer files. You can make your own data CD by burning files and folders from your hard disk onto a blank CD. As mentioned earlier, over 600MB of data can be put on a CD, so it is an excellent way to back up and archive important files. Because virtually every computer comes with a CD drive, it is also a good way to share files with others or move files from place to place.

A music CD is used for playing back music on a CD player. In addition to your home or car stereo CD player, a music CD can also be played on just about any computer that has a CD-ROM or CD-Recorder using freely available music player programs.

It is also possible to burn a hybrid CD, one that contains both music and data files.

What About MP3s?

MP3s are files of compressed audio signals that are about 10 percent of the size of the original file. While a typical 3-minute song on a music CD might use about 30MB of space, an MP3 of the same song will be about 3MB. So one CD with MP3s can hold 10 times as many songs as an audio CD. However, while the MP3 files on the CD are music, they are not music CDs. They are considered data CDs since they contain files that many older CD players don't recognize as music, although newer CD players are able to read MP3 discs.

How Do I Create the CD?

You need three things to burn a CD — a CD burner, CD burning software, and blank CDs. CD burners, whether internally built into the computer or externally connected, usually include the CD burning software (for example, iTunes for Macintosh or Roxio Easy CD Creator for PC). You also need blank CDs. Remember, a CD-R can only be used once for data or music storage, while a CD-RW is rewritable. Also, blank CD-R disks are significantly less expensive than blank CD-RW disks.

You begin by inserting a blank CD into the CD burner. In most cases, the CD burning software will launch automatically when you do so. If it does not, start the software manually.

When the software loads, choose the type of CD you are creating — music or data. After you make your choice, identify the files you would like burned. This is usually done by navigating through your hard disk and dragging and dropping selected files onto the list of files to be burned.

Once you've selected the files to be burned, click the "Burn," "Done," "Record," or similarly named button to initiate the burning process. The process will take a few minutes to complete, and then you will have a newly created CD.

You can label your CD on the top side by using a soft tip permanent marker.

Read other articles from the October Issue

Featured

Related

How To: Back Up Your Files

Oops, I need to start this article again. It seems I accidentally deleted it and didn't back it up ... If this hasn't happened to you yet, just wait. It will. But if you'd rather take a proactive approach, read on. Your Backup Options Floppy Disks: Save copies of your files onto floppy disks in addition to your

How to: Organize Your Digital Photos

According to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures, by the end of this year more than 55 percent of all U.S. households will own at least one digital camera. With so many digital cameras in use, it is important for people to understand how to organize and store digital images in ways that make them easy to find. Additionally,

How To: Use Removable Mass Storage Memory Devices

Mass storage refers to the variety of ways to keep large amounts of information that are used on a computer. Why do you need to keep a lot of data? One reason is to store multimedia (for example, PowerPoint presentations, music, or videos) and easily move it from one computer to another—such as from home to

How To: Create and Use Macros

How often do you find yourself typing the same information, such as your school name and address, into document after document? Or using the same sequence of menu commands, such as saving a file in a specific folder (File, Save, navigate to the folder, open the folder, save the file)? Would you rather use a short key

How To: Make Your Voice Heard!

A podcast is a method of distributing multimedia files, usually (but not limited to) audio in the MP3 format, over the Internet to subscribers. Anybody can be a subscriber — all you need is the proper software to receive the subscription, just like you need a mailbox to receive your magazine subscriptions. This

Make Your Own Interactive CDs

We learn best when the knowledge or skill we think we’ve acquired is reinforced – especially when a concept can be visually demonstrated. That was probably the thinking behind those old classroom filmstrips that some of us may still be able to vaguely recall. Today the computer not only relegates those

How To: Defrag Your Computer

Defrag: What is it? Remember the old days, when we would write or type on paper? We would start at the top of the sheet, and keep writing until we were done. We could then take that five-page book report and neatly file it away. Imagine if we had needed to store the first paragraph in one part of our file cabinet, the

How To: Post Your Digital Photos Online

Let's face it: digital photographs can take up a lot of hard-drive space. In light of this fact, many people are choosing to store their photos online. There are several ways to store pictures on the Web, the most popular being online photo storage services. These services have many benefits. They offer a safe place

How To: Compress Your Files

As Seen on TV! Have you ever seen that late-night television ad for the Travel Genie, a device that claims to squeeze clothing together so tightly that you can fit two or three times more than normal into a suitcase? Well, the same idea is at work with file compression! What Is File Compression? File compression