What is it?
CD and DVD drives, also known as optical disc drives, store and retrieve large quantities of data on discs using laser light. CDs can hold music and data files like documents and spreadsheets; DVDs can hold video, music and data files. Many computers come with internal optical drives.

CD and DVD drives are labeled based on what they can do.

  • If the CD or DVD has no marking it means that the drive can only play; it cannot record.
  • CD and DVD drives that are labeled R are recordable, meaning customers can record data to the disc.
  • If the R is proceeded by a minus sign, as in CD-R or DVD-R, then data can only be saved to the disc once.
  • If the R proceeded by a plus sign, as in CD+R or DVD+R, then data can be saved to the disc at different times until the disc is full.
  • CD and DVD drives that are labeled RW are rewritable, meaning customers can record and erase then rerecord data to the disc.

How much can it hold?
Both DVDs and CDs can hold hundreds of megabytes of information, with DVDs having greater capacity than CDs. Check the package to see exactly how many MB the disc can hold.

How do customers use it?
Customers can use CD and DVD players to listen to music and watch videos. They can use CD-RW drives to burn CDs of music or photos and share them with friends. They can use DVD-RW drives to burn and share videos and music. And they can use either type of read/write drive to store or share data files like documents, presentations and spreadsheets.

Because most read/write CD and DVD drives do not allow customers to re-record new information on a previously used CD or DVD, these drives are not as well suited for backing up customers´┐Ż computers as are external hard drives.