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[comp.publish.cdrom] CD-Recordable FAQ, Part 1/4
Section - [0] Introduction

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Top Document: [comp.publish.cdrom] CD-Recordable FAQ, Part 1/4
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Subject: [0-1] Legal noise (disclaimers and copyrights)

This document is Copyright (C) 1996-2008 by Andy McFadden, All Rights
Reserved.  All of the content here, except for attributed quoted material,
is my original work.

Free distribution of the this FAQ is encouraged, as are conversions
to HTML or other formats and translation to foreign languages, so long
as no content is removed, and additions are clearly marked.  (You are
not required to retain the Google advertising links.)

The plain ASCII text and HTML versions aren't otherwise
restricted, but other conversions might be (the content is free, the
presentation or translation might not be).  Check with the publisher.

The date and version number on the FAQ *are* considered part of the content
that must not be removed.  I occasionally get messages from people who
don't realize that the copy they're reading is more than a year and a half

Caveat lector: the information here is often derived from Usenet postings,
e-mail, and information on web sites.  It may well be DEAD WRONG, and you
are encouraged to verify it for yourself.

I take no responsibility for damaged hardware, CD-Rs turned into coasters
or frisbees, time lost, or any other damages you incur as a result of
reading this FAQ.  Information on specific models of hardware and software
is based on *opinions* of other users, not scientific studies.  I am not
an expert in this (or any other) field.  Everything here could be a total
malicious lie, and should be treated as such.  You have been warned.

I don't get paid to plug anybody's software or equipment.  The sections
on "what XXX should I buy" are not here because I want to sway purchases
one way or another, they're here because the questions are asked *a lot*,
and the answers are pretty consistent.  You are invited and encouraged to
investigate the capabilities and reputations of all products.

The various product and company names are trademarks of their respective

Visit for a mini-FAQ on copyright

Subject: [0-2] What does this FAQ cover (and not cover)?

This document attempts to answer Frequently Asked Questions about Compact
Disc Recordable technology and related fields.  It was originally developed
as a Usenet newsgroup FAQ, and is updated and posted about once a month.
The main foci are explaining CD-R technology, describing hardware and
software solutions for creating audio CDs and CD-ROMs, and helping people
find solutions to common problems.

The FAQ is heavily biased toward PCs and computer-based recorders, because
that's what I'm most familiar with, but I have made an effort to include
useful information for owners of other equipment.  I don't anticipate the
section on stand-alone audio CD recorders expanding greatly, because
they're far simpler to operate than computer-based recorders, and most of
the "must know" information about them is more appropriate in an FAQ on
stereo systems or studio recording.  I do try to address deficiencies in
Macintosh coverage.

I don't usually address questions that can be phrased, "how do I make
my software do this?"  The answers to those should be in the manual that
came with your software.  In general, this is a collection of answers to
specific questions, not a "how to" guide.  I have tried to make the answers
easy to understand by an inexperienced user, but if you know absolutely
nothing about recording CDs then some sections may be confusing.

This is not a newsletter.  Actively maintained web sites are a much better
source of breaking news than this document, which is updated at most once a
month.  I also don't try to track moving targets, like CD recorder firmware
versions or software versions unless a specific release is especially
interesting.  Ditto for which recorders work with which packet-writing
solutions, or which recorders can overburn.

This FAQ does not, and will not, cover DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW,
DVD+RW, or any of the other formats in the ever-expanding DVD morass.
There are other resources on the web for DVD topics.

You will not find a lot of detail about "backing up" copy-protected
software, or where to find unlock codes or "warez".  There are many web
sites that explain these matters at length.

Subject: [0-3] What's new since last time?

All sections are tagged with a modification date, so you can see how long
ago something was revised.  (Some of the sections were written 10 years
ago and probably need to be rewritten.)  If you want to know *everything*
that has changed since last time, you can get a set of "context diffs"


Removed some vendors, added others.

Subject: [0-4] Is the FAQ only available in English?

There are a few translations available.

German, by Carsten Stupka:

Hungarian, by Nagy Szabolcs:

French, by Marc Kergomard:

Russian, by Oleg Nechay:

Italian, by Marzona Simone:

Turkish, by Firat Tarman:

At one point there were Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, and some other Italian
and German translations, but those were discontinued by their authors.

French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish translations can be done
through  This is an automatic
language translator that is HTML-aware.  It only translates the first
part of each document, so it's not entirely helpful if you just want to
read a translation, but it may make doing a full translation much easier.
(The translation is pretty good for an automatic translator, but is still
pretty rough.  I don't want to post a translation that is inaccurate
or misleading, so I'm not going to run the FAQ parts through babelfish

If you're interested in translating this FAQ, you are welcome to do so, but
please respect the amount of work that I and others have put into it.
Don't strip out sections, remove author attributions, or hide the revision
date of the document.  I don't think the terms in section (0-1) are
terribly restrictive.  If, for whatever reason, you can't keep up with
every update of the English version, that's fine; all I ask is that you
include a link to the version, so that the current
information is easily locateable.  (Some commonly updated things, like the
list of recorders in section (5-1), don't need much translation.)  If you
don't want to translate a particular section, just leave it in English.

If you want to start with an HTML version, use the pages from  If you prefer to do the translation on a
text document, and you're converting to an iso-latin language, the
"faq2html" converter that I use can be found in the "downloads" section

If you do a translation, let me know and I'll put the URL here.

Subject: [0-5] Appropriate use of the newsgroups

This FAQ covers the three newsgroups in the comp.publish.cdrom hierarchy,
one for software, one for hardware, and one for multimedia.  The names of
the newsgroups imply that the intended topics are related to publishing
material on CD-ROMs, but the current discussions cover most everything
related to CD-Recordable devices.

Here are a few guidelines.  These aren't hard and fast rules -- nobody died
and put me in charge of making the rules -- but if you're not sure what the
appropriate subject matter is then this may be helpful.

news:comp.publish.cdrom.hardware is the most popular of the groups.
Appropriate material includes questions about past, current, and future
CD-R devices.  Asking for installation help or advice on what to buy is
appropriate, as are questions about related hardware like SCSI adapters and
CD-ROM drives.  Some related newsgroups are:
	news:linux.apps.cdwrite is for discussions about software used to
prepare material for and create CDs and CD-ROMs.  Questions about how to do
things with a specific piece of software belong here, as do "the CD-R
software from XXX won't recognize my drive", and "does a program exist that
does YYY".  Some related newsgroups are:

news:comp.publish.cdrom.multimedia is for discussions about creating
multimedia products on CD-ROMs.  Questions about multimedia authoring
software belong here, as do most production-type questions, e.g. "where can
I go to get my CD pressed with jewel cases and glossy inserts?"  Related
newsgroups are:


Please try to keep cross-posting to a minimum.  Broadcasting questions to
3 or 4 related newsgroups will increase the noise level and probably won't
get you more answers.

Some general rules apply to all of the comp.publish.cdrom.* groups:

(1) Piracy of CD-ROM software or CDs: CD recorders can be used to make
copies of copyrighted material, and while backups of data are legal, making
or accepting copies from others most likely isn't.  Whatever your opinion
of the matter, software piracy and other copyright violations are illegal
in most countries in the world, so requests and/or advertisements for
pirated material should be kept off the newsgroup.  Also, please don't
start or participate in a debate about whether or not software piracy is
bad.  There have been hundreds of such debates over the past several years,
and the only thing that either side has managed to prove is that piracy
debates are a tremendous waste of time.

(2) Personal CD-R hardware and software sales: strictly speaking, these
groups aren't appropriate for selling off your old hardware or software.
Such things are best left in*,,
and related groups.  Since many readers are in the market for new hardware,
a limited number of clearly marked articles are tolerated.  The common
Usenet convention is to use "FS: HP4020i $400 obo" for "For Sale" messages
and "WTB: HP4020i" for "Want To Buy" messages.

(3) CD-R product advertising: these groups by their nature are somewhat
commercial.  Many readers are in the market for new hardware or CD-R media,
and for this reason a *limited* amount of retail/wholesale advertising is
tolerated but discouraged.  If you *clearly* mark your postings as
advertisements, you will get relatively few complaints.  Posting frequent
and useless followups just to broadcast your 20-line signature will get you
flamed and subsequently ignored.  Feel free to send mail to people who post
questions about product pricing and availability, but please don't create
mailing lists and broadcast to everyone who posts.

(4) Other advertising: while it's certainly the case that most or all of
the readers have a CD-ROM drive on a computer, the same could be said of
almost every person reading news from a home computer today.  Please keep
ads in newsgroups that are more appropriate.  Advertising the latest
educational, game, or adult CD is inappropriate for these groups, as are
"hot new Cyrix 686 PC" posts.  Subtle attempts to advertise web sites
("golly, this looked really neat, so I thought I'd tell everyone") are more
obvious than you might think.

(5) Spam: you cannot make money fast.  That's life, get used to it.  If the
message involves putting your name at the top of a list of 5 or 10 people,
don't post it.  If it has an 800 or 888 number that a reader would call to
hear more about your unique business opportunity, don't post it.

(6) Job postings: looking for job candidates on these newsgroups is a
tolerated but generally futile exercise.  Most of the readers are looking
for or offering help on CD-Rs, not searching for a job.  Try one of the
other groups, like

(7) Binaries: as with most Usenet newsgroups, posting binary files (large
or small) is inappropriate.  If you want to make a binary file available to
Usenet readers, send it to an appropriate alt.binaries newsgroup, and just
post a pointer to it in the other group(s).

One final note: bear in mind that these groups are read by people all over
the world.  If you're looking for local retailers, be sure to specify what
"local" is for you.  Posting in English is the best way to ensure that you
will get a response, but the readership is diverse enough that you will
likely get a reply no matter what language you use.  If you want to quote
prices, specify the currency to avoid confusion (e.g. US$300 or CAN$300 or
Y30000 or ...).

Subject: [0-6] I'm having trouble, how do I ask for help?

The first thing to do is look at the web pages for the products you're
using.  Sometimes there will be software or firmware updates, or pages with
information on common problems.  Doing a web search or scanning through
news archives on servers like Google Groups (
will often turn up relevant material.

If you don't find anything, calling or sending an e-mail message to the
technical support department for the product that is giving you trouble
is a good second step.  If you want to contact other users, posting a
message to one of the Usenet newsgroups is a reasonable thing to do.

You will get faster, more accurate responses to questions if you include
enough detail in your mail message or news posting.  For most problems
having to do with recording, you need to specify:

 (1) Platform.  PC, Mac, Sun, whatever.
 (2) Operating system, with version.  Win95, Win98, WinNT3.5, WinNT4, etc.
     Mention any interesting goodies, e.g. IE4 Active Desktop.
 (3) CD-R brand, model, and firmware revision, e.g. "Yamaha CDR-102 v1.00".
 (4) Other relevant hardware details.  If the recorder comes in SCSI and
     IDE or parallel-port versions, specify which you were using, and what
     sort of interface was used (e.g. "SCSI, Adaptec 2940U").  For SCSI
     and IDE device problems, listing the other devices connected to the
     same interface is a good idea.
 (5) Software in use, including version numbers, e.g. "Easy-CD Pro 95 v1.2".
 (6) Brand of media.  Be sure to specify CD-R or CD-RW.
 (7) What were you trying to do?  What specific steps did you take to go
     about it?  Have you tried anything to correct the problem, and if so,
     what were the results?
 (8) Specific error messages seen.  Write down *exactly* what it says, and
     any numeric error codes along with it.  Be sure to write down what it
     *said*, not what you think it *meant*.  Add your interpretation of
     events only after you've gotten all the details down.

Try to include any details which you think might be relevant.  Take the
time to organize your report so that it is easy to understand.  And PLEASE
check this FAQ for the answers first!  Much of the volume on the newsgroups
is from people whose questions are already answered here.

Subject: [0-7] Spelling and name conventions

Whenever possible, the FAQ tries to use the correct spelling and
terminology.  Errors should be reported to the FAQ maintainer, but bear
in mind that I don't modify the contents of quoted material, the names
of products, or the titles of articles and web pages.

Some common mistakes are:

(1) Writing "CDROM" instead of "CD-ROM".  It should be CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW,

(2) Writing "disk" instead of "disc".  The words have the same meaning, but
are spelled differently in different countries, just like "color" and
"colour".  By convention, CDs are called "discs", while hard drives and
floppies are called "disks".  "Disc-to-disc" copies are different from
"disk-to-disc" and "disc-to-disk" copies!

(3) Referring to a sector as a "frame".  On a CD, the basic allocation unit
visible outside the firmware is the 2352-byte sector (sometimes called a
"block").  A "frame" is a structure at a lower level.  There are 24 bytes
in a frame, and 98 frames in a sector (24*98 = 2352).  Even the SCSI-3 MMC
specification gets this one wrong.

Subject: [0-8] Can I advertise on the FAQ pages?

Since its inception, the FAQ has been made available, in its entirety,
free of charge.  For nearly nine years, this was done without any overt
advertising.  This was made possible in large part by Katherine Cochrane
and Andy Rubin, who provided free web hosting on and,
respectively.  The FAQ was using over 1GB of bandwidth per day at its peak,
occasionally exceeding 2GB per day, so hosting the FAQ was not for the
faint of heart.

The free web hosting days came to an end in January 2005, so I decided
that the FAQ should try to pay its own way.  I'm currently using Google's
advertising service, because Google's ads tend to be tasteful and relevant
to readers.  It's also easy for me to manage.  The ads themselves are
chosen by Google based on some criteria I have no control over, so please
do not assume that I endorse the ads or vendors in any way.

The text version posted to the newsgroups doesn't cost me anything to
distribute, so no ads will be found there.  Only the version
has advertising.

In an effort to keep the FAQ fair and impartial, I have never accepted direct
advertising, mutual linking, or links with affiliate IDs.  Vendors with
relevant products can have URLs added to appropriate sections of the FAQ,
simply by asking.

Products that solve specific problems, such as recovering data from damaged
discs, repairing scratches, or removing pops and clicks from digitized
audio tracks, will be listed under the appropriate topic.  CD recording
software and hardware vendors can get their own sub-section.  Vendors that
don't fit in a specific category will be listed in section (8).

Subject: [0-9] Can you mail the FAQ to me?

When the FAQ was originally written there were people who had e-mail but
no web access.  Those days are pretty much over, so the answer to this
question is "no".

You used to be able to get it from, but the MIT
site stopped accepting updates in mid-2006.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:


Top Document: [comp.publish.cdrom] CD-Recordable FAQ, Part 1/4
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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM