Compact disc

Updated: 11/30/2020 by Computer Hope
Computer compact disc aka CD

Abbreviated as CD, a compact disc is a flat, round, optical storage medium invented by James Russell. The first CD was created at a Philips factory in Germany on August 17, 1982. The picture is an example of the bottom of a standard compact disc and is the side the disc player reads. The opposite side of the disc has a label to help indicate what is on the disc.


When referring to a round CD, DVD, or Blu-ray it is known as a "disc" and not a "disk." When referring to magnetic media, like a floppy disk or hard disk drive, it is called a "disk" and not a "disc."

What is a CD used for in a computer?

As we mentioned above, compact discs store data to be retrieved or executed at a later date. CDs can store software programs to install onto your computer. They save files for backup or transfer to another computer, and hold music to play in a CD player.

How much data does a CD hold?

The standard CD is capable of holding 72 minutes of music or 650 MB of data. An 80 minute CD is capable of holding 700 MB of data.


If you're burning a CD with MP3 music audio files, the disc is a data disc and not an audio disc. In other words, a disc with MP3 files could store a lot more than 80 minutes of music.

What came before a CD?

There were several types of storage media released before a CD. However, the most common storage media used before the introduction of the CD was the 3.5" floppy diskette.

What came after a CD?

Several years after the CD was first introduced in the 1980s there were other methods of storing and retrieving data. However, the most common replacement for the CD today is DVD and Blu-ray discs. For larger storage, jump drives are also a popular replacement to the CD.

Audio CD, CD-R, CD-ROM, CD terms, Computer acronyms, External storage, Optical disc