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CD-RW's in Linux? Works like a charm.

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jason Jones

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Posted: 2 Feb 2005

I caught myself wondering the other day if Linux was as good at reading / writing CD-RW's as it is with normal CDR's. So, I got out my old dusty collection of CD-RW's and put it to the test.. As you'll see, I came to some interesting conclusions.

The first inaccurate conclusion I came to was "CD-RW's don't work at all in Linux". This was because the first one I put in had been previously formatted to some proprietary fileystem using Windows about 4 years ago. Linux wouldn't even acknowledge the presence of the CD in the drive.

As soon as I figured out the problem with the first CD-RW, I made sure the next one I tried was brand-new and untouched.

I inserted it into the CD tray, loaded up K3B with my fingers crossed, and sure enough; K3B told me there was a blank CD in the drive, ready to be burned. Success!

I tried creating a normal data CD project, and burning some files to it. It burned a bit slowly, but it burned, nonetheless.

After burning it and assuring myself that it was readable by other CDROMs, I put it back into my burner to be erased (blanked)

Blanking the CD-RW

Finding the blank button in K3B isn't hard, once you know where it is.

As you can see above, it is found by following: Tools -> CD -> Erase CD-RW

When you click the button, a screen will pop up with some options on blanking your CD-RW.

The option details are as follows:
  • Fast - Blank the TOC, PMA, and pregap of your CD-RW. This will usually do the job nicely, and works quite quckly. Your CD-RW will appear empty after using this option. Mine was blanked in about 30-40 seconds when using this option.
  • Complete - Erase everything on the CD-RW. This option is *not* fast. It blanks *everything* on the CD. It took my computer 40 minutes to blank my CR-RW using this option.
  • Erase Last Track - Blank the last track on the CD-RW.
  • Unclose Last Session - Makes the CD-RW writable again without affecting any of the data on the disk.
  • Erase Last Session - Blank the last session on the CD-RW. (Most people don't write in sessions, so you probably won't want to select this option.)
If you just want to blank your CD-RW and record something else on it again, select Fast and click on Start.

If your CD-RW is already empty, you'll see this screen pop up.

This means your CD-RW is all ready to be burned.

If it's not empty, you'll see this little window pop up and the little blue square will dance for you while you wait.

When it's done, you should have a brand-new CD-RW waiting to be written on.

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