Please explain why DVD+/- RW's previously written to have to be erased if you want to add extra files, etc.

I like to make backup copies of critical files such as email, documents, etc. to DVD re-writable discs. However, say I backed up some files last week, and I just want to make an updated backup of my email only, the software warns that everything on the DVD will be erased.  Why aren't CD's or DVD's drag and drop like floppy discs used to be?

Please explain in style of "CD's and DVD's for Dummies", as this board gets very technical and I joined EE because I'm not. You can build up to a higher level intellectually, but I need the kindergarten version as a background.

This takes more work, so I'm awarding 500 points. Also, any good links count as well.
sheana11Asked:
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shuboarderCommented:
It sounds to me like you are closing/finalising the disc after each time you write something to it.
Unlike CD-RW, DVD-RW is not supported in the same way within Windows.

CD's are drag and drop compatible, DVDs are not i.e. you need some additional software which you say you have?
BTW - Microsoft aim to have this functionality built in in their new version of Windows: Vista

See here: http://www.argentuma.com/backup/articles/backup-to-dvd-in-windows.html

So, currently additional software is the only answer.

Now, this leaves us with the why it always has to be erased before adding more data part.
You should be able to add more data to a DVD-RW without having to erase the disc.
I'm not sure what software you are using, but you need to look for an option somewhere that mentions closing/finalising the disc. If you want to keep adding data to the disc, you need to leave the disc "open" i.e. not finalised.

Finalising the DVD-RW disc prevents any further data from being written to it, so that it can be read on DVD-ROM drives
(drives that are not writeable/rewritable)

Does that help explain things? - not too complex I hope.

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MereteCommented:
Burn them as data only make sure no are repeated as a burn cannot burn duplicate copies.
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sheana11Author Commented:
Merete, could you rephrase your first comment, as I'm not sure what you mean.....why data only?

Shuboarder, I didn't realize I was finalizing the disc...my HP computer came with Sonic software, and it automatically finalizes CD's by default.  The help files reference CD's over DVD's and I may have to ask Sonic what the deal is with DVD's. Thanks for pointing that out to me....that may be the problem.

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MereteCommented:
Hi ok when burning a cd disc you have a choice of a few different types, lets say you want make a music cd, the choices are mp3 or cda, have you ever copied the tracks straight off a music disc onto the hdd, well thay stay in a format called cda, NOT mp3.
 So you would have to convert it to mp3 file formats using cdex.
Give each track a name and title etc.
To save time you simply grab your mp3 tracks as is and drop onto the Nero New cd frame and they remain the exact file format as was on the computer, names intact and file info
Includes all jpeg gifs word anything you want to put on the dics as data only they retain the exact copy as was on the hdd.
This great for backing up personal files just drag a folder over as is, also it uses a lot less space on the disc.
Backing up my music eg, if I burn a true cda music disc it fits about 12 tracks standard but a data disc can fit 50 tracks and keep the mp3 and original types in for copying back later this great.
How to use Nero Express to create a data CD to backup your files on a regular basis, or to create a read only archive disc.
http://asp2.wlv.ac.uk/its/website/selfhelp/help/nero/help_with_nero.asp

We have now advanced and as there is dvd players that support all formats of cd and dvd I now burn data dvd discs even more can fit on one dvd.
4.7 gig of stuff.
How to use StartSmart...
http://ww2.nero.com/nero6/enu/Tutorials_StartSmart_Create_a_data_CD_DVD.html

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MereteCommented:
I see you are not using Nero/ nero has incd which the drag and drop.
What program do you use to burn to cd/dvd could you let me know

 if you want to burn to to dvd you need a dvd burner, a cd burner will not burn dvd only cd.


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sheana11Author Commented:
Thanks to both of you for a great lesson!
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MereteCommented:
my pleasure your wellcome.
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