How To Format Rewritable CDs and DVDs in Windows OS

Rewritable CDs and DVDs, also known as CD-RWs and DVD-RWs, allow you to erase and rewrite data multiple times. Before you can burn new files onto these discs, you need to format them properly in Windows.

Formatting erases any existing data on the disc and prepares it to accept new files. This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to format CD-RWs and DVD-RWs on Windows operating systems.

Why Format Rewritable Discs?

There are a few key reasons why you need to format rewritable CDs and DVDs before burning new data:

  • Erase old data: Formatting wipes any existing files to make room for new data. Without formatting, new data may not burn properly.
  • Resolve errors: If a rewritable disc has errors or problems being read, formatting it can often resolve these issues.
  • Optimize for burning: Formatting helps prepare the disc for burning by optimizing available space and reducing errors.
  • Change file system: You may want to format a disc to change between file systems like UDF and ISO 9660.

What You Need

To format a CD-RW or DVD-RW on Windows, you will need:

  • Rewritable disc – CD-RW or DVD-RW
  • Disc burner – Computer with a CD/DVD burner
  • Blanking software – Software capable of formatting discs

The process differs slightly depending on whether you use the built-in Windows tools or third-party software.

Using Windows Explorer

All modern versions of Windows include built-in tools for formatting rewritable discs. Here is how to format using Windows Explorer:

Step 1: Insert Disc

Insert your rewritable CD or DVD into the computer’s disc drive tray with the label facing up.

Step 2: Open File Explorer

Open File Explorer by clicking the folder icon in your taskbar or pressing Win + E.

Step 3: Access Disc

In the left pane, click This PC. In the main window, double click on your disc drive.

Step 4: Format Disc

Right-click on the disc drive and select Format.

Step 5: Choose Format

Select the file system you want to format the disc with and click Start.

Some common file system options:

  • UDF: Universal Disc Format, good for high capacity
  • ISO 9660: Compatible with almost all devices

Step 6: Finish Format

Windows will format the CD or DVD. Click OK when finished and close File Explorer.

Your disc is now formatted and ready to burn new files!

Using Disc Burning Software

You can also use third-party CD/DVD burning software to format rewritable discs in Windows. Here is the general process:

Step 1: Insert Disc

Insert your blank rewritable disc into the disc drive tray.

Step 2: Open Burning Software

Launch your disc burning software, like Roxio or Nero.

Step 3: Erase Disc

Look for options to erase, blank, or format the inserted disc. This deletes existing data.

Step 4: Choose Format

Select a file system like UDF or ISO 9660 to format the blank disc with.

Step 5: Burn Disc

Click burn and the software will format then prepare the blank disc for burning.

The process