Difference Between CDR and CDRW

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between CDR and CDRW

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At the time it was discovered that recorded material could be kept for numerous uses on different discs as films or as recorded data, there was a revolution in the entertainment industry. The rewinding cassette and the cassette player are the two oldest. Others include tape recorders, CDs, and discs.

Despite the fact that cassette use has greatly reduced over the years, CD use has not. This is due to their long-term data storage capacity or their use as a means of data transfer. Unknown to many people are two different kinds of CDs: CDR and CDRW.

There are two types of recordable compact discs: CDR (CD-R) and CDRW (CD-RW). The primary distinction between the two is the method in which data is stored on a CD-R versus a CD-RW disc. The data, music, and movies stored on compact discs may be accessed or played back via various methods. Compact discs are a kind of storage media. To access them, however, a disc reader is required. They are not accessible without one.


The main difference is that CDR data cannot be deleted or rewritten but data on CDRW can be rewritten if the currect data is erased. 

Compact Disc Recordable, or CDR, is a CD that has 700–800 MB of capacity but cannot be rewritten. This type of CD is the most widely used; it has a top made of dye and a bottom made of reflecting metal. The information that any CD player reads and plays is stored in this dye.

Another form of CD, called a CDRW or Compact Disc Re-Writeable, has storage capacity of 700–800 MB but allows for data re-writing. The prior data must be deleted; this is the only requirement. Although the top is made of unique metal rather than dye, it is still composed of reflecting material.

Both CDRW and CDRW are varieties of compact discs that allow the user to preserve data on the disc itself. CDRW is the more common of the two. If it weren't for the identifying lettering on the top side of each, it would be pretty tricky to tell the two apart at first glance. One of the most important differences is that a CDR may only be written once. On the other hand, if you want to do so, it is not required to register over the whole of the disc simultaneously. After it has been populated with data, the only action that can be performed is to read data from it.

On the other hand, a CDRW may have more data put on it several times. This means that the data that is now stored on it may be overwritten at any point with new information even though it is still accessible. Because of this, the disc's usable lifetime is significantly increased as a result of the fact that it may be used on several occasions.

In contrast to CDRs, which use dye to retain information, CDRWs use various metals to accomplish this goal. Once it has been triggered, the state of the paint cannot be changed back to its previous condition; however, the state of the metallic substance may be altered. However, a CDRW needs a more powerful laser compared to a CDR.

The compatibility of the CDR with earlier CD-ROMs is the primary benefit of using a CDR. It is possible that specific older drives and players, such as Discmans and stereos, will not be able to detect and read the data contained in a CDRW because of the different materials used in a CDRW. CDRs are the safest option for users with older technology, even though newer versions can read both CDR and CDRW media.

In conclusion, the cost of the two different mediums is different. The more flexible CDRW disc costs more than a standard CDRW disc, which is anticipated. However, unless you plan to purchase them in hundreds or thousands, the difference in pricing should not be a massive worry since both options are relatively inexpensive.

The best option for transmitting data is a CDRW; however, a CDR is the most cost-efficient option for long-term data backups. But nowadays, more advanced and superior substitutes have made both options obsolete. A DVDR may perform the same duties as a CDR but have a storage capacity of up to eight times greater. The power of a DVDRW is far more than that of a CDRW, and a flash drive is a more practical solution for moving information rapidly and easily from one machine to another.

Difference Between CDR and CDRW in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison CDR CDRW
Abbreviation for Compact Disc-Recordable Compact Disc-Re-Writeable
Material used CDR uses dye on top CDRW uses special metals on top.
Storage 700–800 MB of read-only content cannot be modified. 700-800 MB, although the information may be overwritten when the previous statement is deleted.
Cost Low cost More than CDR
Speed Comparatively fast. Is slower in reading than CDR
Compatibility The CD-Recordable format is compatible with any CD reader or player. Even though it was released more recently, not all CD players can read it.
Usage Long-term data storage For transferring data

What is CDR?

A compact disc recordable, often known as a CDR, is a form of a CD with a reflective metal layer on the underside and dye on the top side of the disc. They have a storage capacity of 700–800 MB and are used to store data for an extended period. They are discs that can only be read from. It is impossible to erase or rewrite the information after it has been written on the disc. To put it another way, the data saved on a CDR cannot be overwritten or deleted.

Therefore, it is a disc that supports many writing sessions and can store various data formats, including audio, video, and others. After the data has been saved, it is transferred to a CD-ROM and transformed there so that it may later be accessed and seen. CD players are often responsible for this task since they can read and play the data on CDs. The vast majority of the CDRs are suitable for any CD player.

A CD-R or CD-RW drive, or a combination drive that can work as a CD-R or CD-RW drive, may be a standard component in many personal computers. Alternatively, a combination drive that can serve as a CD-R or CD-RW drive may also be found. Compared to a standard CD-ROM drive, a CD-R or CD-RW drive allows users to record or write their data directly into a disc. These drives are also known as recordable optical disc drives. Writing data onto an optical disc is referred to as "burning," and the phrase comes from "burn." A multisession optical disc known as a compact disc-recordable, or CD-R, enables users to put their text, pictures, and music files onto the disc; however, they cannot erase their creations. "compact disc-recordable" is what the letters CD-R stand for in its acronym. If the disc is multisession, it is feasible to write data onto one area of the disc at one moment while writing data onto another section later. It is impossible to delete the data that has already been written to a CD-R, and each part of the disc may only have one write operation performed.

What is CDRW?

Another CD that can store data and read it out is called a compact disc re-writeable, or CDRW for short. It can hold between 700 and 800 megabytes of data. If the current CD-RW data is removed, then the previously written data might be overwritten with new data. Therefore, a CD-RW may be used on several occasions.

The fact that CD-RW is incompatible with all CD players is one of the format's most significant drawbacks. The older CD players do not support CDRW reading. The cost of CDRW is likewise higher than the cost of CDR. This is because the information stored on a CDRW may be overwritten and utilized again, allowing it to be reused several times.

A compact disc rewritable, or CD-RW for short, is a multisession disc that can be written several times and is erasable. It is necessary to have both CD-RW software and a CD-RW drive to be able to write on a CD-RW disc. Making audio CDs is one of the most common applications for CD-RW and CD-R discs. Users, for instance, can create their music and store it on a CD, buy and download songs from the Internet, and reorganize the tracks on a music CD they have already purchased. Ripping is the term used to describe making a copy of the audio and video data from a bought disc and storing it on digital media.

Main Differences Between CDR and CDRW in Points

  • The acronym CDR refers to a Compact Disc-Recordable, often called a CD. In contrast, the acronyms CD-RW and CDRW stand for Compact Disc Re-Writeable. Because reading them requires CD players, they are sometimes called CDs.
  • Even though reflective metal serves as the primary component of every CD, the primary distinction between CDR and CDRW lies in the top layer: CDR employs dye, while CDRW uses a specialized metal.
  • CDR and CDRW have storage capacities of 700-800 MB, although the information kept in CDR can only be seen. On the other hand, the data stored in a CDRW may be rewritten once the previous data has been removed from its memory.
  • The price of a CDR is much less than that of a CDRW. However, since CDRWs may be written over several times, their cost is much greater.
  • There is also a difference in the speeds of the two discs. CD players can read and make sense of the data on CDRs far more quickly than they can on CDRWs, even though the information on CDRs cannot be rewritten.
  • CDR is compatible with all CD players. However, CDRW is only compatible with newer CD players and is not consistent with any previous models. The older CD players are unable to read the information that is contained on CDRW.
  • DRs are widely utilized as the disc that can retain data for lengthy periods, even though their contents cannot be rewritten. At the same time, CDRW is mainly used for data transmission.
  • Older CD players, on the other hand, are unable to read CD-RW discs, despite the fact that they can read CD-R discs.


It is possible to store data on various devices, and customers may retrieve it and examine it several times. Cassettes, CDs, and DVDs, which need dedicated players, are among the most widespread and widely used types. On the other hand, there are a lot of different CD formats.

One kind of compact disc (CD) that can be read and played on any CD player is called a CDR, which stands for "compact disc recordable." Because the information saved in it can't be overwritten, it is used for storing data for the long term. Its storage capacity ranges from 700 to 800 megabytes.

Another compact disc that older CD players cannot read is called a CDRW, which stands for "compact disc re-writeable." They do not use dye as CDRs do; instead, they use a specific metal on the top of the disc. It also has a storage capacity of up to 800 MB, but because its data may be overwritten, most applications involve data transfer.

The data saved on a CDR can only be read or played; it cannot be deleted or overwritten. This is one of the key differences between a CDR and a CDRW. On the other hand, the data contained in CDRW may be rewritten once the previous data has been removed. This indicates that the data saved to the CDRW may be modified.


  • https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/3806/0000/CD-R-and-CD-RW-optical-disk-characterization-in-response/10.1117/12.371149.short
  • https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/microscopy-and-microanalysis/article/data-storage-on-cdr-and-cdrw-future-and-achieving/B8FF29AAE7655E5EC3EB56A4F6F7F788

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"Difference Between CDR and CDRW." Diffzy.com, 2024. Wed. 17 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-cdr-and-cdrw-995>.

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