CD/DVD -R +R RW – What Does it Mean and What's the Difference?

This is one of those questions that rattles around in the back of my brain for years but I'm not curious enough to find out about. There's so much more I'm curious about every day that it gets lost in the background noise.

When I read the title of this article my reaction was "Yeah, what's that all about anyway?"
For anyone else who has wondered about this and for anyone who hasn't but wants to know, the answer is a click away at the article below. Enjoy.

CD/DVD -R +R RW – what does it all mean?

Off for now,

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by Praxis on 24. June 2010 - 19:56  (53034)

Figured I might as well not post as anonymous:

Don't use a Sharpie and don't use a label.

This is a link a manufacturer of CD/DVD safe markers.

One of my responsibilities at work is to archive records. Some of our schedules call for retention of 60 years. Not using alcohol based markers or labels will help mitigate against disc degregation.


by rhiannon on 24. June 2010 - 21:32  (53040)

Thanks Richard!

by Anonymous on 24. June 2010 - 15:45  (53008)

DVD+R alternates the ways each block is written kinda like a normal chess board - it's easy to see where the edge of each square is.

DVD-R, on the other hand, is an all-white chess board using thin black lines only - depending on your eyesight, how dirty the board is, etc, you may not be able to see exactly where the edge of each square is.

DVD+R requires a tiny bit more intelligence, so early DVD players wouldn't handle them.

While DVD+R writes sessions links better, +R is not "just for multi-session."

The article over-simplifies the differences...

by Anonymous on 24. June 2010 - 14:10  (52995)

"+ R : The Plus marked media is intended for multi-sessions. Meaning that you can add data to the disk in Sessions."

What the heck? I don't think this is a very good article at all! I have never heard of a piece of optical media that inherently forbids the recording of multiple sessions, and this definition only creates confusion in regards to DVD+R.

by Anonymous on 24. June 2010 - 3:05  (52931)

Hooray! At long last, a plain and simple explanation for something I have been wondering about for years. Thanks Rhiannon - this is a great website.

by Anonymous on 23. June 2010 - 15:29  (52874)

As others have said, Rhiannon's contribution has made all the difference for many of us. Most of us come to techsupportalert. Not many, I suspect, know what or where cdrfaq is - with hindsight, of course such a site should exist.

by Anonymous on 23. June 2010 - 13:56  (52862)

I have been to the stores this morning and was asking myself what the difference between -R and +R was.
Then I turn back home, switch on the PC and see this.


by rhiannon on 24. June 2010 - 0:54  (52920)

Gotta love serendipity. =)

by Jojo Yee on 23. June 2010 - 13:10  (52854)

Absolutely a well written and informative article, thanks Rhiannon for the treat.

Before reading the article, I wasn't sure if CD-ROMs have a longer life span than CD-Rs.

I read further the expected lifespan of CD-Rs on Wiki. Burned CD-Rs suffer from material degradation causing data to become unreadable after certain years.

I always like to use permanent markers to mark the label side of CD-Rs and DVDs, but this bad practice helps the surface of optical discs to deteriorate too :>)

by rhiannon on 24. June 2010 - 0:53  (52919)

The lifespan issue is disappointing, and I use permanent markers on CDs and DVDs too. :)
I recently discovered docks for Hard Disk Drives. Like a USB hub (with one port) but for Hard Disk Drives. I've been backing everything up to two SATA drives using the dock. Easy to swap them out.

by terrawarra on 24. June 2010 - 10:16  (52969)

Another good one Rhiannon,.. worth reading ! I've always suspected that the use of permanent markers might cause some issues, know I know for sure. Big question is, what do I use instead of permanent markers ?

by rhiannon on 24. June 2010 - 18:40  (53024)

I'm not aware of anything that's truly safe to use.
As MC says, labels are pretty much out.
There are archival markers that are used for scrapbooking but I don't know if they would be much different from permanent markers.
Some markers are pigmented and some use water based inks.

Does anyone know of anything?

LightScribe uses laser etching in a CD/DVD burner but I think you have to use discs with some sort of special coating.
I don't know anything about it's longevity or if it has an impact.

by MidnightCowboy on 24. June 2010 - 11:02  (52976)

Well, don't do what one of my ex customers did and use sticky labels. One came unstuck during use and at the speed these things rotate you can imagine what happened. Needed a new drive.

by Anonymous on 23. June 2010 - 5:21  (52811)

I have wondered this for years. The only thing I've ever seen that addressed it was an article that said you could ruin your DVD player/burner by using the wrong type of disk.

It never explained why though.

I'm guessing that was a load of poo ; )

Now I know what the diff is. Thank you Rhiannon!

Big thumbs up for you!!!!

by rhiannon on 24. June 2010 - 0:55  (52921)

Thanks. :)

by Anonymous on 23. June 2010 - 4:18  (52803)

For the techies:

by rhiannon on 24. June 2010 - 0:44  (52918)

Thanks for the link!

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