Understand Hardware and Software

What We'll Learn

  1. The different types of disks
  2. What can be stored on various disks
  3. How different disks are used with a computer

Types of Disks 

Although they all look the same, removable disks come in a variety of formats and can be used to store various types of information.
Although they all are 12 cm in diameter, the picture below shows how different these disks can be:

Common Data Storage Capacity for these disks:

 Disk Capacity Used for:
 CD 0.7 GB = 700 MB Audio, Data
 DVD         4.7 GB Video, Data
 Blu-Ray    25 to 50 GB Video, Data

Disks also come in a variety of formats and including "Write Once" or "Read-Write" formats that let you re-use the disk.

Formats and Equipment 

A blank disk can be used to store various types of information based on what you hope to use it for.
  • Audio 
    • CD Audio used for playing in a CD Player
  • DVD Video
    • A Movie that will play on a standard DVD Player
  • Computer Data
    • Files that can be played or copied to a computer
Unlike a stereo or DVD Player, a computer has the ability to handle all the information types listed above.  You can check your CD Player and look for the following labels to see what is supported on your system:

Rip, Burn and Sync

The process of extracting information from a disk can be complex.   A computer cannot directly store the Audio format of a CD.  The information is "Ripped" from the CD to the computer as follows:
  1. The computer reads an audio track on the CD.
  2. The file is converted to a digital format (usually WMA or MP3)
  3. The file is copied to the Hard Disk Drive
Similarly, when information is copied to a CD, it has to be "Burned".
  1. The computer collects the files in a temporary location
  2. Files are then copied to the CD (if you requested an audio format, they will be converted to tracks as well)
  3. The CD is then closed off, or left open for additional files depending on your settings and format
  4. The CD is verified to make sure all the information was burned correctly
MP3 Players use Data Files. The computer will allow you to copy files to an MP3 Player or Digital Music Player.  Usually, this process is called "Syncing" since the computer will make sure that the list of music on the computer is identical to the one on the player, keeping the two lists in sync.


Check your removable disk drive and determine what types of disks are supported on your computer.   Keep in mind that if you support Blu-ray, you automatically will be able to handle the lower capacity disks.