Blanks come in 650 MB (74 minutes) and 740 MB (80 minutes) size. The 700’s write closer to the edge. The media information such as capacity, manufacture and speed information are encoded so that the drive can read them on a CD/R or CD/RW. From that it can (usually) tell the fastest burn speed, the laser intensity and the capacity of the media. The drive can usually automatically tell if it has a blank 650 or 740, but some drives ignore that. There are also mini CD s, usually used for recording audio singles 185 MB (21 minutes and 210 MB (24 minutes) but you don’t see them often for computer use.
Software such as Roxio Easy CD Creator lets you create images of a CD in a single hard disk file with the *.cif or *.iso extension. You can then zip them up and email them or post them on a website, for people to fetch and burn them back onto CDs.
The free program I use for copying CDs is called Ashampoo Burning Studio. If you have two drives, it is not clever enough to read and write simultaneously. If Windows starts playing a CD, stop it before you try to copy it.
In BC Canada, there is a per disc levy. The theory is you will probably use the blank to make a pristine backup or a copy for a friend of a copyrighted CD. Part of this fee goes to compensate them for their loss. This levy almost doubles the cost of each disc.
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