CDR - CDRW - Troubleshooting Info
This information below might be confusing.  It started out as an email reply, and has now been partially edited, but is still semi-random notes. I'm trying to guess what the writer is doing wrong, with no information.  There are a lot of details and options with burning CDs.  I didn't edit this yet completely for publication.  For now the order and completion of ideas might be confusing but some pointers are there.  More editing later. 

Answer to an email: 
I can copy from a CD to a CD-R but when I try to copy to a CD-RW my rewriter
ejects [and vice versa CD-RW vs. CD-R - gg] ..Why ? can u help?

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Have you REBOOTED one time to make sure it's not a software or hardware glitch??
SHUT DOWN COLD, UNPLUG the PC for 30 seconds to completely remove all power, and then REBOOT to make sure it's not some firmware glitch in the CD burner that can be reset. 
I say this because I do have one of my burners that the logic freezes up after a period of time. The door will open and close, but it will not read a disk.  It won't even try to read a disk, really.  Short of doing a cold shutdown, I have had to reach in the case, disconnect the power from the burner, and then reconnect it quickly before Windows found out what happened, to restore the drive operation.

  • Are you copying from an audio or from a data CD, and can you burn just one file or burn just one audio track from an MP3 or even a WAV file, to both the CD-R and CD-RW?  Is the problem just from copying whole Audio CDs?  Can you copy a Data CD on CD-RW, or just some data files from the hard drive?  Try burning a file or two instead of copying a CD. 
  • Could it be that your software is older and refuses to copy an audio CD to a CD-RW because a CD-RW would be incompatible with a CD audio deck?  Modern CD equipment will read an Audio CD burned on to a CD-RW disk, but that wasn't always true, so older burning software might not support that. 
  • How about the fact of size?  Are you trying to copy a 700mb CD onto a 650mb CD? The rule was that a CD­R could be 80 minutes/700mb, but a CD-RW could only be 74min/650mb as standard.  Now I have a few 80min CD-RW disks by Smart Buy that work well.
  • Maybe your source CD is corrupt or has some kind of code or copy protection?
  • Are the Disks cheap "no brand"?  Maybe try another brand. 
On the other hand, a friend of mine told me he had a cheap burner that would ONLY burn to cheap no-name CDRs not to "quality" CDRs like TDK. 
  • If you can't burn to a DISK, you might borrow / trade a different brand of disk with some friends, but if you can't write to any CD-RW, I might suspect part of the CD burner has gone bad.  Burners use a different laser / different frequency for CD­Rs vs CD­RWs, so depending on the design, one laser could be bad or if one of the related chips that does calibration.  This would not be my first conclusion
Whenever I burn to CD-RWs -- even data -- the software warns me that the CD-RW might only be readable in a CD burner device.  In other words, not a good choice for making a generic "restore" CD for widespread use.  That limitation has definitely been proven to be true especially for older CD-ROM drives. 
  • Maybe your CD-RW contains data, is not blank.  You can add tracks or add data to a *non-closed session* CD-R (normally the session is closed at the end of a burn, but that is an optional setting). You can import and existing session and add a new session if the disk is not closed, and there is still sufficient free space. 
  • You cannot overwrite a CD-RW until you pick Erase from the menu commands
NOTE: When checking the used space on a multi-session CD, the number is usually reported wrong by Windows, though the CD Burner software will report it correctly. Windows might show something like 90mb used, 100mb free, if the second session was 90mb and the first was around 500mb. 

Note: while nothing will prevent you from adding a 2nd session to an Audio CD with a closed 1st session [assuming the space is available], the 2nd session will not be playable or recognized in all or most CD players. If you need to add more tracks later, set the burning options to "Leave the CD Audio Session open.  It won't be playable at all until it's closed, however.

  • One other possible solution, try to copy the CD to your HDD first as an ISO image, then create the CD-R from the ISO image.  Using Adaptec software, it's under File, Create Image.  The "image" you're creating needs to be in the pane showing the data that will be put on the CD. 
  • Then burn your new CD using the Create CD from Image function under the File menu.  That should work for Audio CD as well as Data. 
  • I had a CD I could not copy due to a bad file on the source.  It looked like it was there and Windows could open the file, but the disk could not be copied until I first created and ISO image and then the CD from that. 
  • All these if-but-except-when conditions sound confusing but they're really not.  Once you think about all the factors, it's really common sense.  Each burn = a session.  Closing that session is optional.  The session could be left open (unfinished), or closed.  An open session cannot read except by the CD burner, because it's unfinished.  Burning a CD fills up as you go -- deleting files in subsequent sessions removes them but not the space they occupied.  Even on a CD-RW, erasing the CD is normally required, but see next item. 
  • If the special, newer UDF format is used, the CD is formatted like a floppy disk for use in Windows. That is called DirectCD or IN-CD or some other brand name.  (It is based on the DVD format.) It will act like another hard drive in Windows Explorer, you can drag files to it.  A CD-RW formatted in the UDF fashion can actually recover space from deleted files on the fly.  The universal adaptability of such a CD for use in other equipment such as CD-ROMs is limited.  A special driver may be needed to read that on another computer. 

  • The standard or method for burning an Audio CD is different from the way a a Data CD is burned, but the media is all the same. There are "made for Audio" CDRs vs. "made for Computer Data" CDRs, but according to TDK's WebSite, that "Audio" standard is not about "quality" of media, but the fact that some standalone dedicated CD disk copier devices need a special code on the disk in order to recognize the blank media as valid. 

  • Data CDs contain sector after sector of discrete data files burned in a single track. Audio CDs contain multiple "tracks" of audio sound in a standardized digital format.  Note that the actual audio is embedded between the track markers.

    I discovered I could seem to "view" a list of audio tracks on a CD in Windows Explorer (AudioTrack01, AudioTrack02, etc.) and I could even do a manual copy-and-paste operation on them, to my hard drive, but the result was tiny 1kb files containing nothing that I could see. 

  • I know now that each file really contains (or 'represents') a "pointer" identifying the CD sector location of the beginning and end of that track of audio information on the CD.  There is no value to having that file on the hard drive. 



    That's why CD Extraction software is needed to extract the embedded audio data to (huge) WAV files.  WAV files are like raw audio in a data format.  MP3 files are created by doing an algorithmic compression process on and existing WAV file or "on the fly" on WAV data being extracted. 

    It's best to put your original in the CDburner and copy to your Hard Drive (with sufficient free space) as a "holding tank" first for two reasons. 
    (To do this, if you use the "Copy CD" software make the Source and the Destination devices both your CDburner.  When it's done extracting, it should eject the CD and ask you to put in the destination media.)

    One, the CDburner will extract audio better.  People report clicks and pops when they use a regular CDrom to extract.  I don't have a CDrom and a CDburner in the same PC.   I had clicks and pops when I was extracting CDs to MP3s using my CDrom, and when I read the tip on Adaptec's website (or some MP3 tips site) I started using only the CDburner to extract or copy audio and got better results. 

    Two, if there are errors or problems reading the source, if you copy it to the HDD first, the system can take it's time (not restricted to writing a steady stream), then burn the information in a steady stream when it's done copying. 

    • Check out CDex online, they have a lot of Help and Tips there too, some of it very technical. .  CDex got excellent ratings for creating MP3 files, though see my other document for information on the Best Ripper. 
    • There are also mixed-mode CDs that contain audio tracks at the beginning and maybe Video or Macromedia flash files or some other type of computer-based stuff at the end.  That's a whole nuther matter that I haven't investigated but I would look online for that if I needed to know. 
    • to be continued or edited later.....

    Gary Goodman
    330 733 3518

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