How to add more information to a CD-R disc

Updated: 08/02/2019 by Computer Hope
Illustration: adding new files to a CD-R disc.

Depending on the software used to add files to a CD-R disc, you may be able to add more at a later time.

Windows XP and any version after provides the built-in capability of adding or burning files to a CD-R disc. In some cases (Windows 8 and earlier), this process asks whether you want to close the CD after burning the files. Closing finalizes the disc, eliminating the ability to add more files at a later time. However, it makes it possible for nearly every capable media device to it.

Burn additional files to CD-R

If the disc is not closed, additional files can be added. When you are ready, place the CD-R into the optical drive, open the CD-R folder, add more files, and then select the Burn to disc option.

Burn to Disc

Note

In Windows 10, after adding files to the CD-R folder, they will be burned to the disc automatically. There is no Burn to disc option to click. If you close the CD-R folder and eject the disc, the burner drive will complete the burn process before ejecting the disc.

Choosing how you want to use a disc

When inserting a blank CD-R into the burner drive on a version before Windows 10, an AutoPlay window pops up asking if you want to Burn an audio CD, or Burn files to disc.

Choosing the audio CD option creates a closed disc, so that it can be read and played on a home or car stereo.

Burn a disc

Choosing the files disc option results in another pop-up window that asks how you want to use the disc.

Note

In Windows 10, the How do you want to use this disc window is the first window to open when inserting a CD-R disc. You will not see a window asking if you want to Burn an audio CD or Burn files to disc.

Like a USB flash drive

The Like a USB flash drive option allows you to add new files, save over existing ones, and delete them, similar to a USB flash drive. This option works for CD-R and CD-RW discs utilizing the Live File System format.

Note

When using a CD-R disc with the "Like a USB flash drive" option, files are not actually overwritten or deleted. If the file has already been burned to the CD-R disc, the previous version is still be on the disc but you can no longer see it; only the updated version of the file is visible. When you delete a file, that file is still on the disc, but it is hidden and you can no longer see it.

With a CD/DVD player

The With a CD/DVD player option leaves the CD-R disc open, allowing you to add more files at a later date. Putting more files on later is the same as other versions of Windows where you open a folder to view the contents of the CD-R disc, add files to the folder, and click the Burn to disc option. You cannot save over existing files or delete files using this option.

Using third-party CD burning software

If you use third-party software to burn files to a CD, make sure to check the options before burning the CD to make sure the software does not close the CD. Some software asks if you want the CD-R to be closed after burning the files. Other software does not ask this question, but instead uses the options or preferences, usually in the program's File menu or Edit menu. Be sure to check the software you use, if not the built-in Windows burning software, to make sure the close CD option is not checked or selected before burning files to the CD-R.