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CDs and DVDs

What Does it Mean to Finalize a CD or DVD?

SUMMARY: Explains what it means to finalize a disc, as well as multi-session recording.

Many CD and DVD recorders, including those used with computers and stand-alone devices, support multiple session recording. This means that if you perform a recording that does not fill the entire media, you can finish the current recording and still add information later.

Unfortunately, some CD and DVD readers have difficulty reading multi-session media. Some may not be able to read the media at all, or like some earlier versions of Windows with certain drives, may only be able to read the first session of a multi-session DVD. Thus, data recorded on these disks may seem lost if you play them on an incompatible player.

To play CDs and DVDs on the maximum number of devices you need to perform what is called finalizing a disc, which should be an easy-to-find option in any recorder software. This prevents you from writing any more information to a disc, meaning that if the media is not full, there will be wasted space. However, finalized discs have the greatest chance of being read on the widest variety of equipment, such as in-car CD players, TV DVD players, etc.

As a specific example, I recently recorded a few DVD-R discs with an older Pioneer DVR (Digital Video Recorder). When I placed these discs in a Symphonic combination TV/DVD player, the discs continually spun but would not play. Not sure if the discs were bad, I placed them back into the DVR which read them perfectly, and only then I realized I had forgotten to finalize the DVDs. Two or so minutes of finalization each and the DVDs played perfectly in the TV/DVD unit.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.