How trustworthy are CDR-Ws?

I have had two CDRW disks in my whole life. One of them was prety dodgy, I could only access the data after ages of the computer struggling to read it. And the other - I seem to remember it having occasional problems.

I want to start using them like floppies, regularly adding data to them. It is pretty personally important data, so I want to be able to trust that it is something like 95% likely to hold that data successfully for years.
So, CDRW users - How reliable/trustworthy are they?

I’ve also had problems with them. I had one CD-RW just stop being readable one day. I also lost data when I bought a new computer - it couldn’t read CD-RWs from the old CD writer.

Now I just bite the bullet and burn everything onto a regular CD-R, I’ve yet to have one fail me (outside of scratches which are my own fault) and they’re only 25 cents each nowadays.

I’ve used CD-RWs and only occasionally had problems. In all problems Roxio CD software was able to recover the CD

Do not trust anything reasonably important to CD-RW. Use a CD-R instead. They’re cheaper than floppies ever were. They are so cheap that they almost make CD-RWs pointless.

CD-RW’s are rather reliable. Now that HDD’s are getting bigger and bigger though I am using them less and less.

I have not personally had a problem with them, but I’ve only used them once or twice. CDRs are so cheap, why bother?

I had to chuck an RW yesterday because of persistant errors. I agree that you should stick with CD-Rs.

If your personal data is 30 megabytes or less, you can use a Yahoo! briefcase. I find that I can compress all my important docs and the resulting archive is less than 2 meg, so I keep several levels of backup there. The URL is .

From the CDR FAQ on media lifetimes:

“There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer for CD-RW”

In the case of computer data, lacking a “clear answer” means “don’t use for anything the least bit important”.

You don’t mention if you were using the CD-RW merely as an erasable CD-R or if you were using packet-writing software (Like Roxio’s DirectCD or Nero’s InCD) to make the disc act like a big floppy.

Most of the time, packages like Roxio or Nero are set up to treat CD-RWs as big floppy discs. If you were able to copy files directly to the CD-RW without firing up a special program like Roxio Easy CD Creator or Nero Burning ROM, you were probably using the packet-writing software.

The packet-writing system has been widely criticized for being unreliable compared to the CD-R format, both becasue the data is stored on the disc in a different, less reliable way, and because of a lot of flakiness on the part of the packet-writing software packages.

I also had reliability problems with CD-RWs. I stopped using the packet-writing stuff, though, and things got much better. I have to fire up a CD-burning program to write to the CD-RW, of course, but I think it’s worth it. I use a CD-RW to shuttle files from home to work and back. I just add files I need to move. Eventually, it gets full, and I have to erase it and start over, but it holds enough to keep me going for quite a while.

If you want to keep the data you’re saving for years, though, why not use a CD-R, and all possibility of accidental erasure?

I want it to act like a big floppy (I did actually mention that) - regularly adding small amounts of data to it - thius making using CDRs a bit impractical.

I know the answer to that is - Collect about 600mb of data on the HD and then burn to CDR. well I am way too disorganized to do that.

Anyway, thanks guys. I got my answer - “not definately very reliable”

There’s a new CD-RW Packet Writing standard called “Mt. Rainier.” This has the advantage of actually being a standard, as opposed to the proprietary DirectCD and its ilk, and being supported in hardware on both the burner and reader. Given compatible drives, it should, theoretically, offer all the benefits of packet writing and few of the problems.

As to the actual reliability of CD-RWs, I’ve heard various anecdotal evidence that they tend to survive about 40 erasures and rewritings before getting data problems.

You can burn multisession CDRs using Nero. Though I haven’t tried Roxio, I’d be very surprised if it didn’t offer this function also.

Multisession CDRs allow you to do exactly what you mentioned above, Lobsang; Add small amounts of data. It just stores them on different tracks.

I always have a scratch CDR around that I use to keep drivers or other misc files that I want to move between non-networked computers. So far, I haven’t had any problems reading or writing multisessioned CDRs, though I’ve heard that old CD-ROM drives may have trouble reading them.

You can do it on Roxio as well.

CD-RW’s are pure crap. I burned 4 and then swore them off (2 of the four lost data, and a third was flaky).

Depending what you are using them for, you should look into a pen drive. easier to carry around, quicker to add a small number of files to, and can use anywhere. Check out the ‘Ur-drive’ at newegg. the 128MB version is only $65, i love mine. VERY handy.

of course, if you are archiving, this info isof zero use, but it sounded like you might be wanting to use the CD-RW to move files about, which a pen drive is much better at.