How to make your own CDs

Before we learn how to use the CD-RW, you need to know the types of compact discs and their uses. There are Data CDs used to store files and folders such as those on your hard drive. Although these CDs can be played in computers that have a CD-ROM or CD-Recorder, they cannot be played in your car or home stereo. There are Audio compact discs used to record music from tracks and audio files such as WAV or MP3 files. These CDs can be played on your home or car stereo.

Let's take a look at the differences between data and audio CDs:

Data CD
Audio CD
Used for data storage only Used to record music from tracks and aduio files (such as WAV or MP3 files); used for playing music only
Typically holds up to 650 MB of data Typically holds up to 74 minutes and up to 99 tracks and audio files
Can be played on any computer that has a CD-Rom or CD-Recorder drive Can be played on computers with CD-ROM or CD-Recorder, Car Stereos and Home Stereos
Ideal for backing up files, storing spreadsheets and financial data Ideal for recording favorite music from other CDs and audio files to create CDs. 
Ideal for sharing multimedia presentations, graphics and CAD files, Internet downloads, web sites and documents. Ideal for creative audio CD that contains tracks from multiple music CDs.


Before we go further, let's discuss the difference in the types of discs you can purchase for use in CD-Recorders and CD Players. There are two types of blank CDs: CD-Recordable (CD-R) and CD-Rewritable (CD-RW). It's important that you understand the difference as it will save you a lot of time (and money) as well help you avoid frustration!

CD-Recordable (CD-R)
CD-ReWritable (CD-RW)
Can be read by all CD-ROM, CD-Recordable and CD-ReWritable drives. Can be used only in CD-ReWritable drives or newer Multi-Read CD-Roms
Use this type of media if you want to listen to your music CDs in a stereo.  You cannot play CD-RW in most home or car stereo CD Players
Used when you do not need to erase the data Use when you need to erase the data and re-write new information (ex.: updating files).
Less Expensive than CD-RW Repeated use can be a cost-saver in the long run.
Excellent for permanent data storage, such as large project files, archives, family records Use to make practice CD or to test the contents of a CD before making a permanent one.

There are a few more things to know about creating CDs. You can save your CD Layout so that you can use it to record the same CD at a later time. Once saved, you can add or remove items from the CD Layout. This is especially useful if you want to create the same CD at a later time.

A Data CD Layout can consist of files and folders, as well as audio files (such as WAV or MP3 files but not music CD tracks). To create a CD that includes files and folders, as well as music CD tracks, use the advanced features of Easy CD Creator for creating a Mixed-Mode CD or a CD Extra CD.

An Audio CD Layout can contain tracks from multiple music CDs. Insert your music CD into your drive and then add the track from the Explorer section to the Audio CD Layout. Repeat for each track you want to record. When the actual recording begins, Easy CD Creator prompts you to insert the appropriate music CD in your drive.

The CD Layout acts like a pointer to where the information is located (such as files on your hard drive or music tracks on a CD in your CD-ROM drive), but does not store the actual data. When you add files or tracks to the CD Layout, the CD Layout keeps track of where the information is located and uses the information when recording a CD.

To create a data CD on the  HP cd-writer 16 series

NOTE:  CD’s that are formatted on an HP cd-writer may only be rewritten to on another HP cd-writer.  The cd cannot be rewritten to on any other type of cd-writer other than HP.

Creating a cd to access through a drive letter:
1.  Use a blank CD-RW cd.
2.  Double-click the HP CD-Writer icon on the desktop.  A menu will open to create the cd.
3.  Click on HP DLA (Drive Letter Access).
4.  Click on OK for the recommendation of the type of disc.
5.  Under SELECT DRIVE, click on change to choose the correct drive.  In the labs, the drive will be E: HP CD-Writer cd16n.
6.  Under DRIVE TOOLS, click on FORMAT.
7.  Insert a blank CD-RW cd into the HP drive, and click on NEXT.
8.  Type in a VOLUME LABEL.  This can be named anything.
9.  Click on NEXT.
10. The disc usually takes less than the 40 minutes listed on the screen.

Accessing the CD:
1.  After the cd has finished formatting, it is ready to be used.
2.  You can copy files to the cd by using Explorer or My Computer.  You can also save directly to the cd.  It is
    accessed through Drive E: in the labs.

To create a Data CD using Easy CD Creator:

1. Open Easy CD Creator from the Start menu. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Roxio Easy CD Creator 5, and choose Project Selector.  The screen below will pop up.

2. Select "make a data CD" and the following screen will appear. 

Before proceeding, take a few moments to study the image below. This is what the Easy CD Creator looks like. Notice the Explorer Section and CD Layout Section below it. The Explorer Section contains the folders on your computer and the files and folders in each selected folder.  You will locate the files that you want to burn using the Explorer Section of the window.


3. Insert a blank CD-R into your CD-Recorder (the destination drive).

To create a Data CD or Audio CD, you must select the files or tracks that you want to record from the Explorer section and then add them to the CD Layout located in the bottom half of the screen. This is where you assemble and organize the files, folders or tracks that you want to record to a CD. The CD Layout must contain all of the files and/or tracks before you create a CD. To add files, folders, and tracks highlight them in explorer and select Add.  See below.


There are actually two ways to add files to the CD Layout: by clicking and adding or by dragging and dropping.

To Click and Add: Select the item you want to record in the Explorer section and then click the ADD button on the toolbar. The item is added to the CD Layout.

To Drag and Drop: Select the item you want to record in the Explorer section. Press and hold the left mouse button while you drag the item to the CD Layout. Release the mouse button to drop the item into the CD Layout.

Now, let's continue creating your CD.

4. Continue this process until the lower portion of the screen contains all of the files and folders that you want to record.

5. Click Record.

6. Click Start Recording.

The computer will begin recording the data onto the CD-R.

This may take a few minutes.

Once completed, click OK.  A dialogue box may appear inquiring as to whether or not you would like to create a label for your CD-R.  If you wish you may do this.  If not, just refuse. 

After you click OK, you may see this screen.  Click on No.

To Format a CD-RW for Read-Write Access:

1.  Select "directCD."

2.  The following screen will appear.  Select "Format CD."

3.  When the screen below appears, title your CD-RW and choose "Start Format."

This process could take anywhere from 15-45 minutes.  Once the CD-RW is formatted, it works just like a floppy.  You can save, delete, and click and drag to it.