Volume 17, Number 8
December 2000

Burn, Baby, Burn

The use of CDs for storage offers one of the most cost-efficient, easiest, and portable methods for backup of information. CDs come in single time recordable (CDR) and re-writable (CDRW) formats. CDs hold about 650 megabytes of information (the equivalent of 6.5 100 MB Zip disks or 2.5 250mb Zip disks). The light weight of the CDs makes them easily transportable. CDs can be readily duplicated for additional security.

The re-writable format media is more expensive than the one-time recordable variety, but that cost is ultimately recovered by the re-use of the media. Writing (or "burning") CDs is done by a CD-ROM drive with recording capabilities, known as a "CD burner." CD burners come in internal and external varieties; internal burners cost about $50 less than external ones. A recent check at a local computer store found prices to be $170 to $200 for internal- mount units and $220 to $250 for external units. You can connect CD burners to the computer through a variety of devices; the most common external connections are PCMCIA cards and USB. CD burners can connect to computers running on virtually all operating systems.

A number of firms publish software to run CD burners. One of the most popular is Adaptec's Toast for the Macintosh and Adaptec's Easy CD Creator 4 for Windows. The programs are easy to use and quite affordable. In fact, the programs are often given away with the purchase of a CD burner. If you have to buy one, it will cost less than $90.

-Jeffrey M. Allen

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