Unformatted text preview: All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 13 C HAPTER Removable Media
In this chapter, you will learn how to
• Explain and install floppy disk drives
• Demonstrate the variations among flash drives and other tiny drives
• Identify and install optical-media technology
• Troubleshoot removable media Removable media refers to any type of mass storage device that you may use in one system and then physically remove from that system and use in another. Removable media
has been a part of the personal PC since its first introduction back in 1980. Granted,
back then the only removable media available were floppy disks, but being able to
move programs and data easily from one machine to another was quickly established
as one of the strongest points of the personal computer. Over time, higher-capacity
removable media technologies were introduced. Some technologies—CDs, DVDs, Bluray Discs, and thumb drives, for example—have become very common. Other technologies (which you may or may not have heard of), such as Iomega Zip drives or HD
DVDs, were popular for a time but faded away or were discontinued. The history of PCs
has also left a trash heap of removable media technologies that were trumpeted in with
fanfare and a lot of money but never really saw any adoption.
Today’s highly internetworked computers have reduced the need for removable media
as a method of sharing programs and data, but removable media have so many other
uses that this hasn’t slowed things down a bit. Removable media is the perfect tool
for software distribution, data archiving, and system backup. Figure 13-1 shows my
software toolbox. As a PC technician, you’ll not only need to install, maintain, and
troubleshoot removable media on systems for users, but also find yourself turning to
removable media as a way to store and run software tools to perform all types of PC
support (remember the live CDs in Chapter 12?).
This chapter covers the most common types of removable media used today. For the
sake of organization, all removable media are broken down into these groups:
• Floppy drives The traditional floppy drive • Flash memory From USB thumb drives to flash memory cards 517 ch13.indd 517 12/14/09 3:10:11 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 518 Figure 13-1
Author’s toolbox • Optical discs Any shiny disc technology from CD-ROMs and DVDs to Blu-ray
• External drives
external cable Any hard drive or optical drive that connects to a PC via an If you go by the earlier description of removable memory, two other technologies,
PC Cards and tape backups, also fit as removable media. PC Cards are a laptop-centric
technology and are covered in Chapter 21, “Portable Computing,” whereas tape backups are part of the big world of backups and are covered in Chapter 17, “Maintaining
and Troubleshooting Windows.” Historical/Conceptual
Good old floppies! These little disks, storing a whopping 1.44 MB of data per disk,
have been part of PCs from the beginning. For decades, the PC industry has made
one attempt after another to replace the floppy with some higher-capacity removable
media, only to keep falling back to the floppy disk. Floppy drive technology was well
entrenched: motherboard makers found floppies easy to add, all BIOS supported them,
and they were almost always the first boot device, so techs loved floppies when they
helped boot a system.
Only in the past few years have we finally seen systems without floppy drives due to
an industry push called legacy-free computing: an initiative forwarded by Microsoft and ch13.indd 518 12/14/09 3:10:11 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 519 Intel back in 2001 to rid computers of old technologies such as PS/2 ports, serial ports,
parallel portsand floppy drives (interesting how long it took to start being adopted
by PC makers). Thus, the venerable floppy drive will probably soon disappear from
PCs. Until then, the floppy drive, that artifact from the Dark Ages of the PC world, will
continue to be a viable technology you must know. Floppy Drive Basics
When you insert a floppy disk into a floppy drive, the protective slide on the disk opens,
revealing the magnetic media inside the plastic casing. A motor-driven spindle snaps
into the center of the drive to make it spin. A set of read/write heads then moves back
and forth across the disk, reading or writing tracks on the disk as needed. The current
floppy disks are 3½ inches wide and store 1.44 MB (Figure 13-2). You use a 3½-inch
floppy drive to access the contents of the disk.
Floppy drive and
floppy disk Whenever your system accesses a floppy disk in its floppy drive, a read/write LED on
the outside front of the drive flashes on. You should not try to remove the floppy disk
from the drive when this light is lit! That light means that the read/writes heads are accessing the floppy drive, and pulling the disk out while the light is on can damage the
floppy disk. When the light is off, you can push in the small release button on the front
of the drive to eject the floppy disk.
NOTE The term “floppy” comes from the fact that early floppy disks were
actually floppy. You could easily bend one. Newer floppy disks came in much
more robust, rigid plastic casings, but the term has stuck—we still call them
The first PC floppy drives used a 5¼-inch floppy drive format (Figure 13-3). The 5¼-inch
measurement actually described the drive, but most users also called the disks for those
drives 5¼-inch disks. In the 1970s and early 1980s, before PCs became predominant, you
would occasionally see an 8-inch format floppy drive in computers. Fortunately, these ch13.indd 519 12/14/09 3:10:12 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 520 Figure 13-3
A 5¼-inch floppy
drive and disk never saw any noticeable use in PCs. If you happen to run into an 8-inch drive or disk,
keep it! Collectors of old computers pay big money for these old drives.
Around 1986, the 3½-inch drives appeared and, within a few years, came to dominate the floppy world completely. Today, both 3½-inch and 5¼-inch floppy drives have
mostly been replaced by CD and DVD burners and USB flash drives. If you are really
interested, however, you can still purchase these drives on the Internet or special-order
a custom-built system complete with floppy drives pre-installed. Essentials
Installing Floppy Drives
All Windows systems reserve the drive letters A: and B: for floppy drives. You cannot
name them anything other than A: or B:, but you can configure a floppy to get either
drive letter. However, convention dictates that if you have only one floppy drive, you
should call it A:. The second floppy drive is then called B:.
Floppy drives connect to the computer via a 34-pin ribbon cable. If the cable supports
two floppy drives, it has a seven-wire twist in the middle to differentiate electronically
between the A: and B: drives. Given that the majority of users do not want two floppy
drives, many system makers have dropped the twist and saved a couple of pennies on a
simpler cable (Figure 13-4).
By default, almost all PCs (well, the ones that still support floppy drives) first try to
boot to a floppy before any other boot device, looking for an operating system. This
process enables technicians to insert a floppy disk into a sick computer to run programs
when the hard drives fail. It also means hackers can insert bootable floppy disks into
servers and do bad things. You do have a choice, however, because most systems have
special CMOS settings with which you can change this default boot order to something
other than the default drive A: and then C:; I’ll show you how in a minute. ch13.indd 520 12/14/09 3:10:12 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 521 Figure 13-4
Floppy cable for
only one drive Inserting Ribbon Cables
Look at the floppy cable in Figure 13-4. Notice the connector on the left side. This connector, identical to the other connector on the same cable, plugs into the floppy controller on the motherboard, as shown in Figure 13-5. Notice how clearly the motherboard
has pin 1 marked in Figure 13-5. Not all motherboards are so clear. Make sure to orient
the cable so that the colored stripe on the side of the cable is aligned with pin 1.
Plugging a floppy
cable into a
controller, pin 1
labeled at left Here are a few tips on cable orientation. (By the way, these rules work for all ribbon cables, not just floppy cables.) Ribbon cable connectors usually have a distinct orientation
notch in the middle. If your cable connector has an orientation notch and the controller
socket has a slot in which the orientation notch fits, your job is easy (Figure 13-6). ch13.indd 521 12/14/09 3:10:13 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 522 Figure 13-6
with notch Unfortunately, not all connectors use the orientation notch. Try looking in the motherboard book. All motherboard books provide a graphic of the motherboard, showing
the proper orientation position. Look at other ribbon cables on the motherboard. In
almost all motherboards, all plugs orient the same way. Last of all, just guess! You will
not destroy anything by inserting the cable backward. When you boot up, the floppy
drive will not work. This is not a big deal; turn off the system and try again.
After you insert the floppy ribbon cable into the floppy controller, you need to insert
the ribbon cable into the floppy drive. Watch out here! You still need to orient the cable
by pin 1—all the rules of ribbon cable insertion apply here, too. Before you plug in
the floppy ribbon cable to the floppy drive, you need to know which connector on the
cable to use; it makes a big difference. The specific connector that you insert into the
floppy drive determines its drive letter.
EXAM TIP In the past, the CompTIA A+ certification exams have been very
focused on the pins on cables! Know the number (34) and orientation (pin 1
to pin 1) for the pins on the floppy drive ribbon cable.
If the floppy drive is installed on the end connector, it becomes the A: drive; if the
drive is installed on the middle connector, it is the B: drive (Figure 13-7). If you’re installing only one floppy, make sure you install it in the A: drive position. Power
Floppy drives need electricity to work, just like every other device in the PC. Modern 3½-inch floppy drives use the small mini power connector. Be careful! Inserting a
mini connector incorrectly is easy, and if you install it incorrectly, you’ll destroy the
floppy drive and make what we call “The Nasty Smell.” Look at Figure 13-8, a bottom
view of a properly installed mini connector—note the chamfers (beveled edges) that
show correct orientation. The problem lies in the plastic used to make the connector. ch13.indd 522 12/14/09 3:10:14 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 523 Figure 13-7 Cable placement determines the drive letter. Figure 13-8 Properly installed mini connector The plastic connector bends easily, so even the least brawny techs can put the plug in a
mini backward or hit only three of the four pins.
Great! You have installed a floppy drive! Once you have physically installed the
floppy drive, it’s time to go into CMOS.
CAUTION Installing any power connector incorrectly will destroy whatever
device is unfortunate enough to be so abused. However, with the exception
of minis, most power connectors are constructed so that it’s almost
impossible to do so unintentionally. CMOS
After the floppy drive is installed, you need to configure the CMOS settings, which
must correspond to the capacities of the drives. Look in your CMOS for a menu called
“Standard CMOS Features” (or something similar to that) to see your floppy settings.
Most CMOS setups configure the A: drive by default as a 3½-inch, 1.44 MB drive, so in
most cases the floppy is already configured. Simply double-check the setting in CMOS;
if it’s okay, exit without changing anything. Figure 13-9 shows a typical CMOS setting
for a single floppy drive. On the rare occasion that you require a setting other than the
typical 3½-inch, 1.44-MB A: drive, simply select the drive (A: or B:) and enter the correct capacity. ch13.indd 523 12/14/09 3:10:15 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 524 Figure 13-9 CMOS setting for one standard floppy drive Disabling the Boot Up Floppy Seek option tells the PC not to check the floppy disk
during the POST, which isn’t very handy except for slightly speeding up the boot process (Figure 13-10). Figure 13-10 CMOS Boot Up Floppy Seek option Many CMOS setup utilities have an option called Floppy 3 Mode Support. Refer to
Figure 13-9 to see an example of a CMOS with this option. A Mode 3 floppy is a special
1.2-MB format used outside the United States, primarily in Japan. Unless you live in
Japan and use Mode 3 floppy disks, ignore this option. ch13.indd 524 12/14/09 3:10:15 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 525 Flash Memory
Flash memory, the same flash memory that replaced CMOS technology for your system
BIOS, found another home in PCs in the form of removable mass storage devices. Flash
memory comes in two families: USB thumb drives and memory cards. USB thumb
drives are flash devices that contain a standard USB connection. “Memory card” is a generic term for a number of tiny cards that are used in cameras, PDAs, and other devices.
Both of these families can manifest themselves as drives in Windows, but they usually
perform different jobs. USB thumb drives have replaced virtually all other rewritable
removable media as the way people transfer files or keep copies of important programs.
My thumb drives (yes, I have two on me at all times) keep backups of my current work,
important photos, and a stack of utilities I need to fix computers. Memory cards are
very small and make a great way to store data on small devices and then transfer that
data to your PC. USB Thumb Drives
Moving data between computers is always a pain, and even more so since digital photography and multimedia storage have littered hard drives with huge files that won’t fit
on a single floppy disk. The latest entry into the floppy disk replacement sweepstakes
is a winner: the USB Flash memory drive, also known as the USB thumb drive, jump
drive, or flash drive. These tiny new drives are incredibly popular (Figure 13-11). For a
low price in US$, you can get an 8 GB thumb drive that holds as much data as 5600
standard 3½-inch floppy disks.
USB thumb drives The smallest thumb drives are slightly larger than an adult thumbnail; others are
larger and more rounded. The drives are hot-swappable in Windows 2000/XP/Vista.
You simply plug one into any USB port and it appears as a removable storage device in
My Computer or Computer. After you plug the drive into a USB port, you can copy or
move data to or from your hard disk and then unplug the unit and take it with you. You
can read, write, and delete files directly from the drive. Because these are USB devices, ch13.indd 525 12/14/09 3:10:16 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 526 they don’t need an external power source. The nonvolatile flash memory is solid-state,
so it’s shock resistant and is supposed to retain data safely for a decade. One big improvement over floppies is cross-platform compatibility—you can transfer files among
Macintosh, Windows, and Linux operating systems.
The latest systems enable you to boot to a thumb drive. With a bootable thumb
drive you can replace bootable floppies, CDs, and DVDs with fast flash drives. Making
a thumb drive bootable is a bit of a challenge, so most of the classic bootable-utility CD
makers have created USB versions that seek out your thumb drive and add an operating
system with the utilities you wish to use. Most of these are simply versions of Linuxbased live CDs. At this point there’s no single magic USB thumb drive to recommend,
because bootable USB drives are still quite new, and updated versions come out almost
daily. If you just have to try this new technology now, check out the GParted LiveUSB at
http://gparted.sourceforge.net and click on the Live CD/USB/PXE link. Flash Cards
Flash cards are the way people store data on small appliances. Every digital camera,
virtually every PDA, and many cell phones come with slots for some type of memory
card. Memory cards come in a number of incompatible formats, so let’s start by making
sure you know the more common ones. CompactFlash
CompactFlash (CF) is the oldest, most complex, and physically largest of all removable
flash media cards (Figure 13-12). Roughly one inch wide, CF cards use a simplified
PCMCIA bus (see Chapter 21, “Portable Computing,” for details) for interconnection.
CF cards come in two sizes: CF I (3.3-mm thick) and CF II (5-mm thick). CF II cards are
too thick to fit into CF I slots.
CF card Clever manufacturers have repurposed the CF form factor to create the microdrive
(Figure 13-13). Microdrives are true hard drives, using platters and read/write heads that
fit into the tiny CF form factor. Microdrives are slower and use more power than flash
drives and, when they were first introduced, cost much less than an equivalent CF flash
card. From the user’s standpoint, CF flash cards and microdrives look and act exactly ch13.indd 526 12/14/09 3:10:16 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 527 Figure 13-13
Microdrive the same way, although the greater power consumption of microdrives makes them
incompatible with some devices. These days, microdrives have been surpassed in size,
speed, and cost by their flash cousins and have become more difficult to find. SmartMedia
SmartMedia came out as a competitor to CF cards and for a few years was quite popular
in digital cameras (Figure 13-14). The introduction of SD media reduced SmartMedia’s
popularity, and no new devices use this media. Figure 13-14
SmartMedia Secure Digital
Secure Digital (SD) cards are arguably the most common flash media format today.
About the size of a small postage stamp, you’ll see SD cards in just about any type of
device that uses flash media. SD comes in two types: the original SD and SDIO. SD
cards store only data. The more advanced SDIO (the “IO” denoting input/output rather
than storage) cards also support devices such as GPSs and cameras. If you want to use
an SDIO device, you must have an SDIO slot. There is no way to tell an SD slot from an
SDIO slot, so read the technical specs for your device! ch13.indd 527 12/14/09 3:10:17 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 528 SD cards also come in three tiny forms called SD, Mini Secure Digital (MiniSD), and
Micro Secure Digital (MicroSD) cards. They’re extremely popular in cellular phones that
use flash memory, but see little use in other devices. Figure 13-15 shows the three forms
of SD cards. Figure 13-15
SD, MiniSD, and
MicroSD cards NOTE SD cards developed out of an older, slower flash memory technology
called MultiMediaCard (MMC). If you happen to have an MMC card lying
around, you can use it in almost any SD card slot. SD cards are a little thicker
than MMC cards, though, so the reverse is not true.
SD cards come in three storage capacities. Standard SD cards store from 4 MB to
4 GB, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) cards store 4 GB to 32 GB, and Secure Digital
Extended Capacity (SDXC) cards have a storage capacity of 32 GB to 2 TB. Early SD card
readers and devices cannot read the SDHC or SDXC cards, though the latter standards
provide backward compatibility. Memory Stick
Sony always likes to use proprietary formats, and their Memory Stick flash memory is
no exception. If you own something from Sony and it uses flash memory, you’ll need a
Memory Stick (Figure 13-16). There are several Memory Stick formats, including Standard,
Pro, Duo, Pro Duo, and Micro.
Memory Stick ch13.indd 528 12/14/09 3:10:18 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 529 xD Picture Card
The proprietary Extreme Digital (xD) Picture Cards (Figure 13-17) are about half the size
of an SD card. They’re almost exclusively used in Olympus and Fujifilm digital cameras,
although Olympus (the developer of the xD technology) produces a USB housing so
you can use an xD Picture Card like any other USB flash memory drive. The xD Picture
Cards come in three flavors: original, Standard (Type M), and Hi-Speed (Type H). The
Standard cards are slower than the original cards, but offer greater storage capacity. The
Hi-Speed cards are two to three times faster than the others and enable you to capture
full-motion video—assuming the camera has that capability, naturally! Figure 13-17
xD card Card Readers
Whatever type of flash memory you use, your PC must have a card reader to access the
data on the card directly. A number of inexpensive USB card readers are available today
(Figure 13-18), and some PCs, especially those tuned to home theater use, often come
with built-in readershandy to have when someone pulls out an SD card and says
“Let’s look at the pictures I just took!” Of course, if the person just happened to bring
her camera and the usually proprietary USB cable along, you could connect the camera Figure 13-18
USB card reader ch13.indd 529 12/14/09 3:10:18 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 530 to the PC and pull pictures in that way. Just make sure you have spare batteries, too!
Wouldn’t a card reader be a more elegant solution?
Whichever type of flash memory you have, understand that it acts exactly like a hard
drive. If you wish, you can format a memory card as well as copy, paste, and rename files. Optical Drives
CD-, DVD-, and Blu-ray Disc–media discs and drives come in a variety of flavors and
formats, enabling you to back up data, record music, master home videos, and much,
much more. Optical disc is the generic term for all those different types of shiny, 12centimeter-wide discs that, if you’re a slob like me, collect around your computer like
pizza boxes. The drives that support them are called optical drives. This section examines
optical discs, finishing with the details about installing optical drives.
CD stands for compact disc, a medium that was originally designed more than 20 years
ago as a replacement for vinyl records. The CD now reigns as the primary method of
long-term storage for sound and data. The digital versatile disc (DVD) first eliminated
VHS cassette tapes from the commercial home movie market, and has also grown into a
contender for backups and high-capacity storage. Blu-ray Disc (BD) eliminated the HighDefinition DVD (HD DVD) format and may very well supersede DVD in the future as the
high-definition video and data storage war wages on.
Going beyond those big three household names, the term optical disc refers to technologies such as CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD+RW, HD DVD, BD-R, BD-RE,
and so on. Each of these technologies will be discussed in detail in this chapter—for
now, understand that although optical disc describes a variety of exciting formats, they
all basically boil down to the same physical object: that little shiny disc. CD-Media
The best way to understand the world of optical discs is to sort out the many types of
technologies available, starting with the first: the compact disc. All you’re about to read
is relevant and fair game for the CompTIA A+ certification exams. Begin by looking at
how CDs work. How CDs Work
CDs—the discs that you buy in music stores or may find in software boxes—store data
via microscopic pits. CD producers use a power laser to burn these pits into a glass master CD. Once the CD producer creates a master, expensive machines create plastic copies, using a very high-tolerance injection molding process. The copies are coated with
a reflective metallic covering and then finished with lacquer for protection. CDs store
data on only one side of the disc—we don’t flip a CD as we used to flip vinyl records.
Did I just sound really old? The data on a CD is near the top of the CD, where the label
is located (see Figure 13-19).
Many people believe that scratching a CD on the bottom makes it unreadable. This is
untrue. If you scratch a CD on the bottom (the shiny side), just polish out the scratches—
assuming that they aren’t too deep—and reread the CD. A number of companies sell ch13.indd 530 12/14/09 3:10:18 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 531 Figure 13-19 Location of the data inexpensive CD-polishing kits. It’s the scratches on the top of the disc that wreak havoc
on CDs. Avoid writing on the top with anything other than a soft-tipped pen, and certainly don’t scratch the top!
CD readers (such as the one in your car or the one in your PC) use a laser and mirrors
to read the data from the CD. The metallic covering of the CD makes a highly reflective
surface; the pits create interruptions in that surface, while the non-pitted spots, called
lands, leave it intact. The laser picks up on the reflected pattern that the pits and lands
create, and the CD drive converts this pattern into binary ones and zeroes. Because the
pits are so densely packed on the CD, a vast amount of data can be stored: a standard
CD holds up to 5.2 billion bits, or 650 million bytes, of data. CD Formats
The first CDs were designed for playing music and organized the music in a special format
called CD-Digital Audio (CDDA), which we usually just call CD-audio. CD-audio divides
the CD’s data into variable-length tracks; on music CDs, each song gets one track. CDaudio is an excellent way to store music, but it lacks any error checking, file support, or
directory structure, making it a terrible way to store data. For this reason, The Powers That
Be created a special method for storing data on a CD, calledare you readyCD-ROM.
The CD-ROM format divides the CD into fixed sectors, each holding 2353 bytes.
Most CD-ROM drives also support a number of older, less well-known formats. You
may never come across these formats—CD-I, CD-ROM/XA, and so forth—although you ch13.indd 531 12/14/09 3:10:19 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 532 may see them listed among compatible formats on the packaging for a new drive or
with a program like Nero InfoTool (Figure 13-20). Don’t let these oddball formats throw
you—with few exceptions, they’ve pretty much fallen by the wayside. All CD-ROM drives
read all of these formats, assuming that the system is loaded with the proper software.
formats The CD-ROM format is something like a partition in the hard drive world. CD-ROM
may define the sectors (and some other information), but it doesn’t enable a CD-ROM
disc to act like a hard drive, with a file structure, directories, and such. To make a CDROM act like a hard drive, there’s another layer of formatting that defines the file system
used on the drive.
At first glance you might think “Why don’t CD-ROMs just use a FAT or an NTFS
format like hard drives?” Well, first of all, they could. There’s no law of physics that prevented the CD-ROM world from adopting any file system. The problem is that the CD
makers did not want CD-ROM to be tied to Microsoft’s or Apple’s or anyone else’s file
format. In addition, they wanted non-PC devices to read CDs, so they invented their
own file system just for CD-ROMs called ISO-9660. This format is sometimes referred
by the more generic term, CD File System (CDFS). The vast majority of data CD-ROMs
today use this format.
Over the years, extensions of the ISO-9660 have addressed certain limitations, such
as the characters used in file and directory names, filename length, and directory depth.
It’s important to know these ISO-9660 extensions:
• Joliet Microsoft’s extension of the ISO-9660. Macintosh and Linux also support Joliet formatted discs. ch13.indd 532 12/14/09 3:10:20 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 533 • Rock Ridge An open standard to provide UNIX file system support for discs;
rarely used outside of UNIX systems.
• El Torito Added support to enable bootable CD-media. All bootable CDs use
the El Torito standard, which is supported by the BIOS on all modern PCs.
• Apple Extensions Apple’s added support for their HFS file system. Windows
systems cannot read these CDs without third-party tools.
It is important to appreciate that all of these file systems are extensions, not replacements for ISO-9660. That means a single CD/DVD can have both regular ISO-9660
information and the extension. For example, it’s very common to have a CD-media that
is ISO-9660 and Joliet. If you place the CD into a device that cannot read Joliet, it will
still be able to read the ISO-9660 information. CD-ROM Speeds
The first CD-ROM drives processed data at roughly 150,000 bytes per second (150 KBps),
copying the speed from the original CD-audio format. Although this speed is excellent
for listening to music, the CD-ROM industry quickly recognized that installing programs
or transferring files from a CD-ROM at 150 KBps was the electronic equivalent of watching paint dry. Since the day the first CD-ROM drives for PCs hit the market, there has
been a desire to speed them up to increase their data throughput. Each increase in speed
is measured in multiples of the original 150 KBps drives and given an × to show speed
relative to the first (1×) drives. Here’s a list of the common CD-ROM speeds, including
most of the early speeds that are no longer produced:
1× 150 KBps 10× 1500 KBps 40× 6000 KBps 2× 300 KBps 12× 1800 KBps 48× 7200 KBps 3× 450 KBps 16× 2400 KBps 52× 7800 KBps 4× 600 KBps 24× 3600 KBps 60× 9000 KBps 6× 900 KBps 32× 4800 KBps 72× 10800 KBps 8× 1200 KBps 36× 5400 KBps Keep in mind that these are maximum speeds that are rarely met in real-life operation.
You can, however, count on a 32× drive to read data faster than an 8× drive. As multipliers continue to increase, so many other factors come into play that telling the difference
between a 48× and a 52× drive, for example, becomes difficult. High-speed CD-ROM
drives are so inexpensive, however, that most folks buy the fastest drive possible—at least
installations go faster! CD-R
Making CD-ROMs requires specialized, expensive equipment and substantial expertise,
and a relatively small number of CD-ROM production companies do it. Yet, since the
day the first CD-ROMs came to market, demand has been terrific for a way that ordinary PC users could make their own CDs. The CD industry made a number of attempts
to create a technology that would let users record, or burn, their own CDs. ch13.indd 533 12/14/09 3:10:20 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 534 In the mid-1990s, the CD industry introduced the CD-recordable (CD-R) standard,
which enables affordable CD-R drives, often referred to as CD burners, to add data to special CD-R discs. Any CD-ROM drive can then read the data stored on the CD-R, and all
CD-R drives can read regular CD-ROMs. CD-R discs come in two varieties: a 74-minute
disc that holds approximately 650 MB, and an 80-minute variety that holds approximately 700 MB (see Figure 13-21). A CD-R burner must be specifically designed to support the longer 80-minute CD-R format, but most drives you’ll encounter can do this. Figure 13-21
A CD-R disc, with
its capacity clearly
labeled NOTE Some music CD players can’t handle CD-R discs. CD-R discs function similarly to regular CD-ROMs, although the chemicals used to
make them produce a brightly colored recording side on almost all CD-R discs. CDROM discs, in contrast, have a silver recording side. CD-R technology records data by
using special organic dyes embedded into the disc. This dye is what gives the CD-R its
distinctive bottom color. CD-R burners have a second burn laser, roughly ten times as
powerful as the read laser, that heats the organic dye. This causes a change in the reflectivity of the surface, creating the functional equivalent of a CD-ROM’s pits.
Once the CD-R drive burns data onto a CD-R, the data cannot be erased or changed
short of destroying the disc itself. Early CD-R drives required that the entire disc be
burned in one burn session, wasting any unused part of the CD-R disc. These were
called single-session drives. All modern CD-R drives are multisession drives so you can
go back and burn additional data onto the CD-R disc until the disc is full. Multisession
drives also have the capability to “close” a partially filled CD-R so that no more data
can be burned onto that disc. ch13.indd 534 12/14/09 3:10:21 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 535 CD-R drives have two speeds that matter: the record speed and the read speed, both
expressed as multiples of the 150-KBps speed of the original CD-ROM drives. The record speed, which is listed first, is always equal to or slower than the read speed. For example, a CD-R drive with a specification of 8×24× would burn at 8× and read at 24×. CD-RW
For all their usefulness, CD-R drives have disappeared from the market. Notice that
I didn’t say CD-R discs have disappeared; more CD-R discs are burned now than ever
before. Just as CD-R drives could both burn CD-R discs and read CD-ROMs, a newer
type of drive called CD-rewritable (CD-RW) took over the burning market from CD-R
drives. Although this drive has its own type of CD-RW discs, it also can burn to CD-R
discs, which are much cheaper.
CD-RW technology enables you not only to burn a disc, but to burn over existing
data on a CD-RW disc. This is not something you need for every disc—for example, I
create CD-R archives of my completed books to store the text and graphics for posterity—this is data I want to access later, but do not need to modify. While I’m working
on content for the CD that accompanies this book, however, I may decide to delete an
item; I couldn’t do that with a CD-R. The CD-RW format, on the other hand, essentially
takes CD-media to the functional equivalent of a 650-MB floppy disk. Once again, CDRW discs look exactly like CD-ROM discs with the exception of a colored bottom side.
Figure 13-22 shows all three formats.
and CD-RW discs CAUTION You can rewrite CD-RW discs a limited number of times. The
number varies according to the source, but expect a maximum life of about
1000 rewrites, although in real life you’ll get considerably fewer.
A CD-RW drive works by using a laser to heat an amorphous (noncrystalline) substance that, when cooled, slowly becomes crystalline. The crystalline areas are reflective,
whereas the amorphous areas are not. Because both CD-R and CD-RW drives require a
powerful laser, making a drive that could burn CD-Rs and CD-RWs was a simple process, and plain CD-R drives disappeared almost overnight. Why buy a CD-R drive when
a comparably priced CD-RW drive could burn both CD-R and CD-RW discs?
CD-RW drive specs have three multiplier values. The first shows the CD-R write
speed, the second shows the CD-RW rewrite speed, and the third shows the read speed. ch13.indd 535 12/14/09 3:10:21 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 536 Write, rewrite, and read speeds vary tremendously among the various brands of CDRW drives; here are just a few representative samples: 8×4×32×, 12×10×32×, and
One of the goals with the introduction of CD-RWs was the idea of making a CD-RW act
like a hard drive so you could simply drag a file onto the CD-RW (or CD-R) and just as easily drag it off again. This goal was difficult for two reasons: first, the different file formats
made on-the-fly conversion risky. Second, CD-RWs don’t store data exactly the same way
as hard drives and would quickly wear out if data were copied in the same manner.
Two developments, UDF and packet writing, enable you to treat a CD-RW just like a
hard drivewith a few gotchas. The not-so-new kid in town with CD-media file formats
is the universal data format (UDF). UDF is a replacement for ISO-9660 and all of its various extensions, resulting in a single file format that any drive and operating system can
read. UDF has taken over the DVD world (all movie DVDs use this format) and is poised
to also become the CD-media file format in the near future. UDF handles very large files
and is excellent for all rewritable CD-media. UDF has been available for quite a while,
but until Windows Vista came out, no version of Windows could write to UDF-formatted
discs. They could read the discs, but if you wanted to write to them in Windows you had to
use one of a number of third-party UDF tools such as Roxio’s DirectCD and Nero’s InCD.
UDF also supports a feature called Mount Rainier—better known as packet writing—that
works with UDF so you can copy individual files back and forth like a hard drive. With
UDF and packet writing, rewritable CD-media is as easy to use as a hard drive. Windows and CD-Media
Virtually all optical drives are ATAPI-compliant, meaning they plug into the ATA controllers on the motherboard, just like a hard drive, so you don’t need to install drivers. You
just plug in the drive and, assuming you didn’t make any physical installation mistakes,
the drive appears in Windows (Figure 13-23).
in Windows ch13.indd 536 12/14/09 3:10:21 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 537 NOTE More on installation and ATAPI compliance later in this chapter. Windows displays an optical drive in My Computer or Computer with the typical
optical drive icon and assigns it a drive letter. If you want to put data on a CD-R disc,
however, you need special burner software to get that data onto the disc. Windows XP
comes with burning support—you just drop a CD-R disc into your CD-RW drive, open
the drive in My Computer, drag the files you wish to copy, and click Write to Disc. Also,
Windows Media Player versions such as 9, 10, and 11 enable you to create music and
data CDs within Windows XP. With Windows Vista, you can burn music and data directly to disc. Just put your CD-R into your CD-RW drive and, if AutoPlay is set to detect
blank CDs, the OS presents you with the options to burn an audio CD by using Windows Media Player or to burn files to disc by using Windows. Almost every new CD-RW
drive comes with some type of burner software as well, so you rarely need to go out and
buy your own unless you have a preference for a particular brand. Figure 13-24 shows
the opening menu of one that I like, the popular Nero optical disc burning program. Figure 13-24 Nero optical disc burning program When I buy a new program on CD, the first thing I do is make a backup copy; then I
stash the original under lock and key. If I break, melt, or otherwise destroy the backup, I
quickly create a new one from the original. I can easily copy the disc, because my system,
like many, has both a regular CD-ROM and a CD-RW drive (even though CD-RW drives ch13.indd 537 12/14/09 3:10:22 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 538 read CD-ROM discs). I can place a CD in the CD-ROM drive and a CD-R or CD-RW disc
in the CD-RW drive. Then I use a disk-copy application to create an exact replica of the
CD quickly. CD-RW drives work great for another, bigger type of backup: not the archival
“put it on the disc and stash it in the closet” type of backup, but rather the daily/weekly
backups that most of us do (or should do!) on our systems. Using CD-R discs for these
backups is wasteful; once a disc fills up, you throw it away at the next backup. But with
CD-RW, you can use the same set of CD-RW discs time and again to perform backups. Music CDs
Computers do not hold a monopoly on CD burning. Many companies offer consumer
CD burners that work with your stereo system. These come in a wide variety of formats,
but they’re usually dual-deck player/recorder combinations. These recorders do not use
regular CD-R or CD-RW discs. Instead, under U.S. law, these home recorders must use a
slightly different disc called a music CD-R. Makers of music CDs pay a small royalty for
each CD (and add it to your price). You can record to a music CD-R or CD-RW, but you
cannot record from one—the idea being to restrict duplication. If you decide to buy one
of these burners, make sure to buy the special music CD-Rs. Music CD-Rs are designed
specifically for these types of devices and may not work well in a PC. DVD-Media
For years, the video industry tried to create an optical-media replacement for videotape.
The 12-inch diameter laserdisc format originally introduced by Philips gained some
ground in the 1980s and 1990s. But the high cost of both the discs and the players, plus
various marketing factors, meant there was never a very large laserdisc market. You may
still find one of them sitting around, however, or you may know someone who invested
in a small collection during the laserdisc’s heyday.
The DVD was developed by a large consortium of electronics and entertainment
firms during the early 1990s and released as digital video discs in 1995. The transformation of DVD to a data storage medium quickly required a name change, to digital versatile discs. You’ll still hear both terms used. The industry also uses the term DVD-video
to distinguish the movie format from the data formats.
With the exception of the DVD logo stamped on all commercial DVDs (see
Figure 13-25), DVDs look exactly like CD-media discs; but that’s pretty much where the
similarities end. DVD has become the fastest growing media format in history and has
completely overtaken VHS as the preferred media for video. Additionally, one variant of
DVD called DVD-RAM has enjoyed some success as a mass storage medium.
The single best word to describe DVD is capacity. All previous optical discs stored a
maximum of 700 MB of data or 80 minutes of video. The lowest capacity DVD holds
4.37 GB of data, or two hours of standard-definition video. The highest capacity version
DVDs store roughly 16 GB of data, or more than eight hours of video! DVD achieves
these amazing capacities by using a number of technologies, but three are most important. First, DVD uses smaller pits than CD-media, and packs them much more densely.
Second, DVD comes in both single-sided (SS) and double-sided (DS) formats. As the
name implies, a DS disc holds twice the data of an SS disc, but it also requires you to ch13.indd 538 12/14/09 3:10:22 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 539 Figure 13-25
DVD-video flip the disc to read the other side. Third, DVDs come in single-layer (SL) and dual-layer
(DL) formats. DL formats use two pitted layers on each side, each with a slightly different reflectivity index. Table 13-1 shows the common DVD capacities. Table 13-1
Capacities DVD Version Capacity DVD-5 (12 cm, SS/SL) 4.37 GB, more than two hours of video DVD-9 (12 cm, SS/DL) 7.95 GB, about four hours of video DVD-10 (12 cm, DS/SL) 8.74 GB, about four and a half hours of video DVD-18 (12 cm, DS/DL) 15.90 GB, more than eight hours of video DVD-Video
The most beautiful trait of DVD-video lies in its capability to store two hours of video
on one side. You drop in a DVD-video and get to watch an entire movie without flipping it over. DVD-video supports TV-style 4:3 aspect-ratio screens as well as 16:9 theater
screens, but it is up to the producer to decide which to use. Many DVD-video producers
distribute DVD movies on DS media with a 4:3 ratio on one side and 16:9 ratio on the
other. DVD-video relies on the MPEG-2 standard of video and audio compression to
reach the magic of two hours of video per side. Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is
a group of compression standards for both audio and video. The MPEG-2 standard offers resolutions of up to 1280 × 720 at 60 frames per second (fps), with full CD-quality
audio (standard DVDs only offer 480 vertical resolution, the same as regular television).
Let’s detour into MPEG standards for a moment and then dive back into DVDs.
MPEG Standards Reproducing video and sound on the PC provides interesting challenges for developers. How do you take a motion picture from film, translate it into ones
and zeroes that the CPU understands, process those bits, and then send high-quality video ch13.indd 539 12/14/09 3:10:23 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 540 and sound to the monitor and speakers for the pleasure of the computer user? How
much data do you think is required to display even a two-minute clip of a car racing
through a city street, in all the minute detail of the shops, people, screeching tires, road
debris, and so on? For that matter, how do you store the obviously huge amount of data
required to do this?
To handle these chores, the MPEG has released coding standards such as MPEG-1,
MPEG-2, and MPEG-4. Each standard provides a different compression algorithm, which
makes the files manageable. The standards also implement various technologies to
handle movement, called motion compensation. The details of the standards matter a lot
to the folks producing the movies and other video and audio content, but here’s the
short answer that should suffice for the purposes of a PC tech.
MPEG-1 is the standard on which video and MP3, among other technologies, are based.
The most common implementations of this standard provide a resolution of 352 × 240 at
30 fps. This video quality falls just below that of a conventional VHS video.
One very well-known subset of MPEG-1 is better known for audio than video. MPEG-1
Layer 3, better known as MP3 format, dominates the world of audio. MP3 takes an
uncompressed audio file and compresses it dramatically, but the algorithm is so tight
that the music that comes out of the speakers remains almost completely faithful to the
original audio file. To paraphrase a catchphrase from the 1980s—I want my MP3s!
MPEG-2 provides resolutions of 720 × 480 and 1280 × 720 at 60 fps (as well as others), plus CD-quality audio, making it adequate for all major TV standards, even HDTV.
MPEG-2 is the standard that covers DVD-ROM technology—it can compress 2 hours of
video into a file no larger than a few gigabytes. Although encoding video into MPEG-2
format requires a computer with some serious firepower, even a modest PC can decompress and play such a video.
The MPEG-4 standard is based on MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and Apple’s QuickTime technology. MPEG-4 graphics and video files use what’s known as wavelet compression to
create files that are more compact than either JPEG or QuickTime files. This superior
compression makes MPEG-4 popular for delivering video and images over the Web.
MPEG-4 higher-efficiency standards such as advanced video coding are included with
MPEG-4 and used for Blu-ray Discs. And notably, MPEG-4 provides Intellectual Property
Management and Protection (IPMP), which supports digital rights management.
MPEG-7 is designed to complement the previous standards as a fast and efficient
multimedia content searching tool.
MPEG-21 is concerned with and focuses on coding and digital rights. MPEG-21 uses
a Rights Expression Language (REL) and a Rights Data Dictionary to protect digital material from illicit file sharing. DVD-ROM
DVD-ROM is the DVD equivalent of the standard CD-ROM data format except that it’s
capable of storing up to almost 16 GB of data. Almost all DVD-ROM drives also fully
support DVD-video, as well as most CD-ROM formats. Most DVD drives sold with PCs
are DVD-ROM drives. ch13.indd 540 12/14/09 3:10:23 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 541 Recordable DVD
The IT industry has no fewer than six distinct standards of recordable DVD-media: DVD-R
for general use, DVD-R for authoring, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM.
Both DVD-R standard discs and DVD+R discs work like CD-Rs. You can write to them
but not erase or alter what’s written. DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM discs can be
written and rewritten, just like CD-RW discs. Most DVD drives can read all formats with
the exception of DVD-RAM. DVD-RAM is the only DVD format that uses a cartridge, so
it requires a special drive (Figure 13-26). DVD-RAM is still around but fading away. Figure 13-26
DVD-RAM disc Although there is little if any difference in quality among the standards, the competition between corporations pushing their preferred standards has raged for years. Sony
and Phillips, for example, pushed the + series, whereas other manufacturers pushed the –
series. Worse, no recordable DVD drive manufactured before 2003 could write any format except its own. You could plop down $250 (US) on a brand-new DVD+RW drive
and still find yourself unable to edit a disc from your friend who used the DVD-RW
format! Half of the time, the drive couldn’t even read the competing format disc.
The situation is much better today, as DVD+/-RW combo drives in PCs play just
about anyone else’s DVDs. The challenge is DVD players. If you want to make a DVD of
your family picnic and then play it on the DVD player hooked to your television, take
the time to read the documentation for your player to make sure it reads that particular
DVD formatnot all players read all formats. Blu-ray Disc-Media
Blu-ray Disc is considered the next generation in optical disc formatting and storage
technology after CD and DVD. Because of its near-perfect audio and video quality;
mass acceptance by industry-leading computer, electronics, game, music, retail, and ch13.indd 541 12/14/09 3:10:24 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 542 motion picture companies; and huge storage capacities of up to 25 GB (single-layer
disc) and 50 GB (dual-layer disc); Blu-ray Disc technology is expected to eventually
make CD- and DVD-media and devices obsolete.
Blu-ray Discs come in two sizes, standard and mini. The standard size matches that
of earlier optical discs, such as CD-R and DVD-RW, and is what you’ll see used in
computers and for movies (Figure 13-27). The mini-size discs are a lot smaller and,
naturally, offer less storage. You’ll find mini Blu-ray Discs in very high-end camcorders.
Table 13-2 shows the details of the two formats.
Disc Type Size Capacity (single layer) Standard disc 12 cm 25 GB 50 GB 8 cm 7.8 GB 15.6 GB Mini disc Capacity (dual layer) Table 13-2 Standard and Mini Blu-ray Disc Comparison Chart Unlike with DVD discs, Blu-ray Disc offers no option at this time of a double-sided
disc. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this option in the coming years.
NOTE There was a brief battle for supremacy in the high-definition digital war
between Blu-ray Disc and a competing high-definition optical disc standard called
HD DVD. Major content manufacturers and developers leaned toward Blu-ray
Disc, and in early 2008, Toshiba—the primary company behind HD DVD—
threw in the towel. HD DVD is no longer being developed or supported.
Blu-ray Disc technology offers several advantages over DVD aside from raw capacity.
First, Blu-ray Disc uses a blue-violet laser (hence, the Blu in the name) with a wavelength ch13.indd 542 12/14/09 3:10:24 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 543 of 405 nm. (DVD uses a red laser technology with a wavelength of 650 nm.) The 405-nm
wavelength is smaller and much more precise, enabling better use of space during the
creation process and ultimately resulting in a sharper image. Second, Blu-ray Disc can
handle high-definition (HD) video in resolutions far higher than DVD. Finally, Blu-ray
Disc supports many more video compression schemes, giving producers more options
for putting content on discs. BD-ROM
BD-ROM (read only) is the Blu-ray Disc equivalent of the standard DVD-ROM data format except, as noted earlier, it can store much more data and produces superior audio
and video results. Almost all BD-ROM drives are fully backward compatible and support DVD-video as well as most CD-ROM formats. If you want to display the best possible movie picture quality on your HDTV, you should get a Blu-ray Disc player and use
Blu-ray Discs in place of DVDs. Most new computer systems don’t come standard with
Blu-ray Disc drives installed. You can often custom-order a system with a Blu-ray Disc
drive or you can simply install one yourself. Figure 13-28 shows a Blu-ray Disc drive. Figure 13-28
Disc drive NOTE If you own a PlayStation®3, you already have a Blu-ray Disc player.
That’s the optical format the game system uses. BD-R and BD-RE
Blu-ray Discs come in two writable formats, BD-R (for recordable) and BD-RE (for rewritable). You can write to a BD-R disc one time. You can write to and erase a BD-RE
(rewritable) several times. There are also BD-R and BD-RE versions of mini Blu-ray Discs. ch13.indd 543 12/14/09 3:10:25 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 544 Blu-ray Burners
Most Blu-ray Disc burners cost a lot (at the time of this writing) and are out of the
price range for the average consumer, but they will eventually be as common as the
average CD-RW or DVD-RW. Blu-ray Disc burners and other Blu-ray Disc drives can be
connected internally or externally to a system. It is common for them to be connected
externally via Hi-Speed USB 2.0, FireWire, or eSATA or internally through PATA, SATA,
SCSI, or USB connections. Operating systems such as Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and
Windows 7 all support Blu-ray Disc burners and software. The software you use for
burning is totally up to you; however, as always, you should follow the manufactured
specifications for the best results. Most multidrive Blu-ray Disc burners offer the following support features.
• Media Support BD-R, BD-RE, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-Video, DVD+/-R
DL, DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW.
• Write speed (max) 2× BD-R, 4× DVD+/-R DL, 8× DVD+/-R(8×), and 24× CD-R
• Rewrite speed (max) 2× BD-RE, 8× DVD+RW, 6× DVD-RW, 5× DVD-RAM,
and 16× CD-RW
• Read speed (max) 2× BD-ROM, i8× DVD-ROM, and 32× CD-ROM
• Compatibility Most Blu-ray Disc drives are backward compatible, meaning
they can read and play CDs and DVDs. CD and DVD drives and players cannot
read or play Blue-ray Discs. Installing Optical Drives
From ten feet away, optical drives of all flavors look absolutely identical. Figure 13-29
shows a CD-RW, DVD, and BD-R drive. Can you tell them apart just by a glance? In
case you were wondering, the CD-RW is on the bottom, the DVD is next, and finally
the BD-R is on the top. If you look closely at an optical drive, you will normally see its
function either stamped on the front of the case or printed on a label somewhere less
obvious (see Figure 13-30). Connections
Most internal optical drives use PATA or SATA connections and support the ATAPI standard. (Other connections, such as SCSI and USB, are possible but less common.) External optical drives often use USB, FireWire, or eSATA connections. ATAPI treats an optical
drive exactly as though it were an ATA drive. PATA optical drives have regular 40-pin IDE
connectors and master/slave jumpers. SATA optical drives use standard SATA or eSATA
cables. You install them the same way you would install any ATA hard drive. Figure 13-31
shows a typical DVD installation using PATA. The DVD is configured as slave with a
master hard drive on a system’s primary IDE controller.
ATAPI drives require no CMOS changes as part of the installation process. When
the industry first introduced ATAPI drives, techs familiar with hard-drive installations
swamped the CD-ROM makers’ service departments asking how to set up the drives in
CMOS. To reduce these calls, BIOS makers added a CD-ROM option in many CMOS
setup utilities, just to give the techs something to do! You can find this option in many ch13.indd 544 12/14/09 3:10:25 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 545 Figure 13-29
and BD-R drives Figure 13-30
Label on optical
drive indicating its
type and speeds older CMOS setup utilities. This setting actually didn’t do anything at all; it just kept
users from bothering the CD-ROM makers with silly support calls. Modern motherboards report the actual model numbers of optical drives, giving techs a degree of assurance that they configured and installed the drive correctly (Figure 13-32).
Almost all new PCs have one, two, or three external expansion buses—USB,
FireWire, or eSATA—and the makers of optical drives have quickly taken this fact to
heart. Many manufacturers have released external versions of CD, DVD, and Blu-ray
Disc drives, both readers and burners. Of the two most common expansion options, I
prefer FireWire simply because it’s the standard for most digital video cameras, and its
400-Mbps sustained data transfer rate easily trumps the Hi-Speed USB 480-Mbps burst
rate for transferring huge files. ch13.indd 545 12/14/09 3:10:26 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 546 Figure 13-31
installation Figure 13-32
settings for two
optical drives The only benefit to the USB versions is that USB is still more common than FireWire,
particularly on portable computers. In fact, quite a few super-light laptops don’t have
an optical drive built in; the only way to load an OS on them is through an external
drive. If you can’t decide which expansion type to use, several manufacturers have taken
pity on you.
You won’t find any CD or DVD drives with eSATA—they just can’t take advantage of
the blazing speed offered by the best of the external ports. Blu-ray Disc drive manufacturers, on the other hand, have released several drives with both eSATA and Hi-Speed
USB connections. If you have the choice, there is no choice. Choose eSATA every time. Device Manager
When you install a new optical drive, such as a DVD drive, into an existing system, the
first question to ask is “Does Windows recognize my DVD drive?” You can determine
this by opening the My Computer icon and verifying that a DVD drive is present (see
Figure 13-33). When you want to know more, go to Device Manager.
The Device Manager contains most of the information about the DVD drive. The
General tab tells you about the current status of the DVD drive, basically saying whether the device is working properly or not—rather less useful than actually trying the
device. Other tabs, such as the Driver tab, provide other pertinent information about
the drive. ch13.indd 546 12/14/09 3:10:26 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 547 Figure 13-33 DVD drive letter in My Computer Auto Insert Notification
Another setting of note is the Auto Insert Notification option, often referred to as AutoPlay in Windows 2000/XP/Vista. This setting enables Windows to detect automatically
the presence of audio or data optical discs when they are placed in the drive.
Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista all have very different ways of
dealing with AutoPlay. In Windows 2000, if the CD is an audio disc, track 1 plays automatically. If the CD-ROM is a data disc, Windows searches the disc’s root directory for
a special text file called AUTORUN.INF.
Although handy, the AutoPlay option can sometimes be annoying and unproductive. Windows 2000 does not provide a simple method to turn off AutoPlay. The only
way to turn it off is to edit the Registry. You can use the REGEDT32 version of the Registry Editor and do it directly. In REGEDT32, access this subkey:
Change Autorun 0 × 1 to 0 × 0.
Most techs use Group Policy to make the change because it gives you much more control in multiple optical drive situations. With Group Policy, you can turn off AutoPlay on
your CD-RW drive, for example, but leave it enabled for your DVD drive. Group Policy ch13.indd 547 12/14/09 3:10:27 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 548 is a powerful tool that goes well beyond CompTIA A+, so be careful with what you’re
about to do. To run Group Policy, go to Start | Run and type gpedit.msc in the Run dialog box; or in Vista, just go to Start and type gpedit.msc in the Start Search text box. Click
OK to open the MMC. To turn off AutoPlay, navigate down in the menu to the left as
follows: Local Computer Policy | Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates.
Select the System option and you’ll see the Turn off Autoplay option in the Setting section
on the right pane of the MMC (Figure 13-34). Figure 13-34 Group Policy MMC with Turn off Autoplay selected Double-click or right-click Turn off Autoplay to open the Properties. Note in Figure 13-35
that the default option is Not Configured, but you can enable or disable it here. The words
are messy here, so make sure you know what you’re doing. Enabling Turn off Autoplay
gives you the option to stop an optical device from automatically playing a disc. Disabling
Turn off Autoplay prevents you or any other user from stopping any optical-media device
from automatically playing a disc. Got the distinction?
Windows XP provides a much more sophisticated and simpler approach to AutoPlay.
By default, when you insert a CD- or DVD-media disc that doesn’t have an AUTORUN
.INF file, XP asks you what you want to do (Figure 13-36). You can change the default ch13.indd 548 12/14/09 3:10:27 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 549 Figure 13-35
Turn off Autoplay
dialog box Figure 13-36
user for action behavior simply by accessing the properties for a particular drive in My Computer and
making your selection on the AutoPlay tab. Figure 13-37 shows some of the options for
a typical Windows XP machine.
AutoPlay in Windows Vista is much more robust and offers many more options
than in Windows 2000 or Windows XP. For example, you can choose to enable or disable AutoPlay for all media and devices. (Using AutoPlay for all media and devices is
the default.) But what’s more interesting is that you can enable very specific actions for
Windows to take when digital media or devices are inserted or detected. For an audio
CD, for example, you can specify that Windows should use Windows Media Player. ch13.indd 549 12/14/09 3:10:27 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 550 Figure 13-37
AutoPlay tab for
a CD-RW drive If a DVD movie is detected, you can tell AutoPlay to play the DVD by using PowerDVD 8
or some other program. You can adjust AutoPlay options in Windows Vista through
Control Panel | Hardware and Sound | AutoPlay.
As a final note, in Windows 2000, XP, Vista, you can change the drive letter for an
optical drive, just as you can change the letter of a hard drive. You’ll find that option in
Disk Management (Figure 13-38). Applications
A regular CD-ROM drive installation involves no applications. You install it, Windows
sees it, and you’re finished. CD-R and CD-RW drives, in contrast, require applications
to enable their burning features. DVD and Blu-ray Disc drives need software to enable you to watch movies, burn DVDs and Blue-ray Discs, and so on. As of this writing, Nero (www.nero.com) and Roxio Creator (www.roxio.com) share the reigns as
the most popular CD-burning software programs. CyberLink PowerDVD and Corel
WinDVD fight for Blu-ray Disc burning supremacy rights. If you’re looking for a free
burner, try CDBurnerXP Pro, pictured in Figure 13-39 (www.cdburnerxp.se). Windows
XP contains basic CD-burning capabilities built into the operating system. With XP, you
can readily drag and drop files to your CD-R or CD-RW drive and move those files from
PC to PC. Almost all optical drives will read the discs burned in an XP system.
Windows Media Player makes an excellent DVD-watching application, but for DVD
burning you need to turn to a third-party tool. Nero and Roxio make excellent software that
handles every DVD recordable standard your drive can use (as well as CD-R and CD-RW).
Ever wanted to make a perfect copy of a CD so you can keep your original in a
safe place? You can do so by using a special file type called an ISO file. An ISO file is ch13.indd 550 12/14/09 3:10:28 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 551 Figure 13-38 Change CD drive letter option in Disk Management a complete copyan ISO image as we sayof a CD or DVD. As you might imagine,
they are huge files, but they are also very important to techs. Techs use ISO images to
send each other copies of bootable utility CDs. For example, if you want a copy of the
Ultimate Boot CD, you go to their Web site and download an ISO image. You then take
your third-party burning program (Windows XP/Vista built-in burning software can’t
do this) and go through a special process called burning an ISO image. Learn how to
burn ISO images with your burning program; you’ll use it all the time. Blu-ray Disc Drive Considerations
Physically installing, attaching, and maintaining optical drives is pretty straightforward,
but a Blu-ray Disc drive installation requires some special considerations. If you plan
to use your Blu-ray Disc drive primarily for storage purposes, for example, system requirements are minimal. If you plan on watching Blu-ray Disc movies in HD resolution
(720p, 1080i, or 1080p), on the other hand, the requirements are quite hefty. Here’s
a list of recommended minimum specs.
• Processor At the very least, a Pentium 4, Pentium D, or dual or multicore
processor; or an AMD Athlon 64 X2 or Phenom multicore processor.
• System Memory
Windows Vista. ch13.indd 551 At least 1 GB RAM for Windows XP; 2 GB RAM for 12/14/09 3:10:28 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 552 Figure 13-39 Typical third-party CD-burning program • Video You need an HDCP-compliant (either DVI or HDMI) video card and
drivers. That’s a lot of initials in one sentence! Here’s the scoop. The HighBandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is a standard developed by Intel
to ensure copyright protection on behalf of the Motion Picture Association
of America. The Digital Video Interface (DVI) and High-Definition Multimedia
Interface (HDMI) standards enable fast uncompressed connections between an
HDTV, PC, and any other DVI/HDMI component. HDMI, which transmits both
video and audio signals, has all but replaced the older DVI standard that only
supports video. ATI and NVIDIA both offer Blu-ray Disc-compliant PCIe video
cards with enough horsepower to get the job done.
CyberLink provides an awesome tool called BD Advisor that will tell you if your system
meets the requirements to play Blu-ray Discs. You can get it at http://www.cyberlink.com/
EXAM TIP Be sure you are familiar with the Blu-ray Disc requirements
discussed in this section, especially the stringent requirements for supporting
high-definition video and audio. Also, be aware that CompTIA expects you to
be somewhat knowledgeable of DVD/BD region codes, so pay attention to
those as well. ch13.indd 552 12/14/09 3:10:28 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 553 Region Codes
Production movies on DVD and Blu-ray Disc can feature a region code, encoding that enables you to play those movies only on a player that shares the same region code. This was
instituted to try to stop piracy of movies, though it didn’t manage to accomplish that goal.
Can you play a DVD or Blu-ray Disc encoded to play in the geographical region location of Somalia on your system manufactured in the U.S.A.? Why sure you can. To do
so, however, you have to change the region code on your DVD or Blu-ray Disc player to
match Somalia (5 or B, respectively, in case you’re curious). You can only change the
region code on your player four times. After that, you get stuck with whatever was the
last-used region code. Today, most optical discs are sold region free, meaning you can
play them anywhere. Many optical-media devices are set to play only discs encoded for
the region in which they were sold or manufactured. You can easily check and set your
device’s current region code under the hardware properties of your optical device in any
version of Windows. As either a technician or home enthusiast, you should be familiar
with the following optical device and media region codes.
DVD Region Codes:
• REGION 0 All regions
• REGION 1 USA, Canada
• REGION 2 Europe, Japan, Middle East, South Africa, Greenland
• REGION 3 South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Areas of Southeast Asia
• REGION 4 Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America
• REGION 5 Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa
• REGION 6 China
• REGION 7 Reserved for special and future use
• REGION 8 Reserved for cruise ships and airlines
Blu-ray Disc Region Codes:
• A East Asia (China and Mongolia excluded), Southeast Asia, Americas, and
• B Africa, Southwest Asia, Europe (except Russia), Oceania, and their dependencies
• C Central Asia, East Asia (China and Mongolia only), South Asia, central Eurasia, and their dependencies Practical Application
Troubleshooting Removable Media
Floppy disk drives, flash memory, and optical drives are fairly robust devices that rarely
require troubleshooting due to an actual hardware failure. Most problems with removable media stem from lack of knowledge, improper installation, abuse, and incorrect use ch13.indd 553 12/14/09 3:10:29 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 554 of associated applications. There’s no way to repair a truly broken flash memoryonce
a flash card dies you replace it—so let’s concentrate on troubleshooting floppy drives
and optical drives. Floppy Drive Maintenance and Troubleshooting
No single component fails more often than the floppy drive. This is not really that
surprising because floppy drives have more exposure to the outside environment than
anything but the keyboard. Only a small door (or in the case of 5¼-inch drives, not
even a door) divides the read/write heads from dust and grime. Floppy drives are also
exposed to the threat of mechanical damage. Many folks destroy floppy drives by accidentally inserting inverted disks, paper clips, and other foreign objects. Life is tough
for floppy drives.
In the face of this abuse, the key preventative maintenance performed on floppy
drives is cleaning. You can find floppy drive cleaning kits at some electronics stores, or
you can use a cotton swab and some denatured alcohol to scour gently inside the drive
for dust and other particles.
If cleaning the drive doesn’t help, try replacing the suspect disk with another one to
see if the floppy drive itself is bad. If it turns out that your floppy drive won’t read any
disks, it’s time to replace the drive. Troubleshooting Optical Drives and Discs
Optical drives are extremely reliable and durable PC components. At times, however,
a reliable and durable device decides to turn into an unreliable, nondurable pile of
plastic and metal frustration. This section covers a few of the more common problems with optical drives and discs—installation issues, burning issues, and firmware
updates—and how to fix them. Installation Issues
The single biggest problem with optical drives, especially in a new installation, is the
connection. Your first guess should be that the drive has not been properly installed in
some way. A few of the common culprits are forgetting to plug in a power connector,
inserting a cable backward, and misconfiguring jumpers/switches. Although you need
to know the type of drive, the test for an improper physical connection is always the
same: using BIOS to see whether the system can see the optical drive.
How a BIOS detects an optical drive depends on the system. Most BIOS makers have
created intelligent BIOS software that can see an installed CD-media drive. Figure 13-40
shows a modern Award Software, Inc., BIOS recognizing a CD-RW during startup.
If BIOS detects the device, Windows recognizes the drive and you’ll see it in My
Computer or Computer and Device Manager.
If the drive won’t read a CD-R or CD-RW disc, first try a commercial CD-ROM disc
that is in good condition. CD-R and CD-RW discs sometimes have compatibility issues
with CD-ROM drives. The same goes for a DVD-RW or any other writable DVD disc in
your DVD drive or writable Blue-ray Discs in your Blu-ray Disc drive. Also, no optical
drive will read badly scratched discs. ch13.indd 554 12/14/09 3:10:29 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 555 Figure 13-40
an optical drive
at boot If the drive still does not see a disc, try cleaning the drive. Most modern optical drives
have built-in cleaning mechanisms, but from time to time, you need to use a commercial optical-drive cleaning kit (see Figure 13-41). Figure 13-41
cleaning kit Optical drives are not cleaned too often, but the discs are. Although a number of fine
optical disc cleaning kits are available, you can clean most discs quite well with nothing more than a damp soft cloth. Occasionally, you can add a mild detergent. Always
wipe from the center of the optical disc to the edge—never use a circular motion when
cleaning a CD, DVD, or Blue-ray Disc! A common old tech’s tale about cleaning optical ch13.indd 555 12/14/09 3:10:29 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 556 discs is that you can wash them in a dishwasher. Although this may seem laughable,
the tale has become so common that it requires a serious response. This is not true for
two reasons: First, the water in most dishwashers is too hot and can cause the discs to
warp. Second, the water pushes the discs around, causing them to hit other objects and
get scratched. Don’t do it!
The final problem with optical drives—stuck discs—comes from technician error and
is not actually the fault of the drives. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve pulled an
optical drive out of a system to replace it, only to discover that I or my customer left
an essential disc inside the now-powerless drive. Luckily, most optical drives have a
small hole in the front, usually just below the drive opening, into which you can insert
a wire—an unbent paper clip is the standard tool for this purpose—and push on an
internal release lever that ejects the disc. Try it! Burning Issues
The tremendous growth of the CD-R and CD-RW industry—and to a lesser extent,
the recordable DVD industry—has led to a substantial number of incompatibility issues between discs and drives. Some of these incompatibilities trace back to serious IO
(Ignorant Operator) problems; people try to make these discs do jobs they aren’t designed to do. Even when people read the manuals and jump through the proper hoops,
real problems do arise, many of which you can easily solve with a few checks.
Know What It Can Do Most mistakes take place at the point of purchase, when
someone buys a drive without completely understanding its capabilities. Don’t just assume that the device will do everything. Before I purchase a CD-RW or DVD-RW drive,
for example, I make it a point to get my hands on every technical document the maker
provides to verify exactly what capabilities the drive possesses. I make sure the drive has
a good reputation; just use any search engine and type in review and the model number of the drive to get several people’s opinions.
Media Issues The optical disc standards committees refused to mandate the types
of materials used in the construction of discs. As a result, you see substantial quality differences among CD-R and CD-RW discs of different brands and sources (they are made
in several different countries). As mentioned earlier, CD-R discs use organic inks as
part of the burning process. Fellow techs love to talk about which color to use or which
color gives the best results. Ignore them; the color itself means nothing. Instead, try a
several brands of CD-R discs when you first get your drive to determine what works best
for you. If you have a particular reason for burning CDs, such as music recording, you
may want to ask for opinions and recommendations among folks in online communities with the same focus. They’re usually happy to share their hard-won knowledge
about what works.
In general, two items can affect media quality: speed and inks. Most CD-R and CDRW media makers certify their CDs to work up to a certain speed multiplier. A media
maker often has two product lines: a quality line guaranteed to work at a certain speed,
and a generic line where you take your chances. As a rule, I buy both. I primarily use
cheap discs, but I always stash five to ten good-quality discs in case I run into a problem. Again, this in large part depends on what you want them for: you may want to pull ch13.indd 556 12/14/09 3:10:30 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 557 out the cheapies for temporary backups, but stick with the high-end discs for archiving
All of this discussion about CD-Rs and CD-RWs definitely holds true for recordable
DVD and BD discs and drives as well. Factor in the incompatibility of standards and
you’re looking at a fine mess. Do your homework before you buy or advise a client to
buy a DVD/BD-writable or rewritable drive.
Buffer Underrun Every CD, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc burner comes with onboard
RAM, called buffer RAM—usually just called the buffer—that stores the incoming data
from the recording source. Buffer underrun, the inability of the source device to keep
the burner loaded with data, creates more coasters—that is, improperly burned and
therefore useless CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray Discs—than any other single problem. Buffer underrun most often occurs when copying from CD-ROM to CD-R/RW or from
DVD-ROM to DVD-writable of all stripes. Many factors contribute to buffer underrun,
but two stand out as the most important. The first factor is buffer size. Make sure you
purchase drives with large buffers, a minimum of 2 MB. Unlike with system RAM, you
can’t get a buffer upgrade. Second is multitasking. Most systems won’t enable you to
run any other programs while the burner is running.
One trick to reduce underrun is using an ISO. Unlike some optical drives, any hard
drive can keep up with an optical burner. Doing a bit-by-bit copy from disc to disc
dramatically reduces the chances that a buffer underrun will add to your coaster collection.
All current optical disc burners include the BURN-Proof technology developed by
Sanyo, which has eliminated the underrun issue. These drives can literally turn off the
burning process if the buffer runs out of information and automatically restart as soon
as the buffer refills. I love this feature, as I can now burn CDs in the background and
run other programs without fear of underrun. If you’re buying a new burner, make sure
you get one that uses the BURN-Proof technology.
EXAM TIP The majority of problems that occur with CD, DVD, and Bluray Disc drives are usually a direct result of incorrectly installed or updated
device drivers, disconnected cables, or incompatible or just plain bad media.
Also, keep in mind DVD and Blu-ray Disc drives use specific region codes that are often
misconfigured. Blu-ray Disc drives have very specific hardware and driver specifications that
must be met for trouble-free end-user experiences. CompTIA is likely to target these areas
specifically on the 220-702 exam, so make sure you understand this information. Firmware Updates
Almost all optical drives come with an upgradeable flash ROM chip. If your drive
doesn’t read a particular type of media, or if any other nonintermittent reading/writing problems develop, check the manufacturer’s Web site to see if it offers a firmware
upgrade. Almost every optical drive seems to get one or two firmware updates during
its production cycle. ch13.indd 557 12/14/09 3:10:30 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 558 Beyond A+
The term color books is often used in the world of CD-media. Books are—well, books!
In this case, they’re the standards developed in the industry to describe various media.
For example, the Red book describes the original audio CD format. If you have a lot of
money—say, $3000 (US)—you may purchase copies of these books, and yes, their covers
really match the colors of the standards. You might hear a fellow computer support person
using these terms. Instead of saying, “Does your CD-ROM read CD-RWs?” they will say,
“Is that CD-ROM of yours Orange book?” Technical specifications also use these terms.
I personally don’t like the way many people refer to these book colors, but the terms are
used enough that you should memorize the meanings of at least three book colors: Red,
Yellow, and Orange. Table 13-3 shows a complete list of CD-media book colors. Table 13-3
Book Colors Application Book Audio CDs Red book Data CDs Yellow book CD-I Green book Recordable CDs Orange book Video CD White book CD Extra Blue book Blu-ray Disc Java
Blu-ray Disc Java (BD-J) is a program application environment based on Java ME (Java
Platform, Micro Edition) that enables content providers to develop and deliver highly
interactive Blu-ray Disc movies, games, and content to you. Most state-of-the-art (or state
of the business) mobile devices, smart cards, and other gadgets use Java APIs (application program interfaces) to support requests made by the device, program, or operating
system. BD-J APIs are used for similar purposes with Blu-ray Disc devices. They enable
and detail the interaction of such things as fancy menus, downloaded games and content, and certain playback capabilities. If you play online games through your PlayStation®3 and HDTV, for example, you use BD-J in more ways than you probably know. Chapter Review Questions
1. To install a floppy drive as the A: drive, what must you do?
A. Attach the mini connector.
B. Plug it into the end connector of the ribbon cable. ch13.indd 558 12/14/09 3:10:30 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13
All-In-One Chapter 13: Removable Media 559 C. Plug it into the middle connector on the ribbon cable.
D. Attach the Molex connector.
2. If the floppy disk you used last week will not work today in your floppy drive,
what should you do first to determine if the problem is the drive or the disk?
A. Try another disk in the drive or try the disk in another drive.
B. Open the computer and check the ribbon cable.
C. Replace the floppy drive.
D. Check the CMOS settings.
3. Which term describes the capability to burn files to a CD-R and then come back
later and burn additional files?
4. Which type of flash memory card is currently the most popular?
B. Memory Stick
C. Secure Digital
5. What type of device must be installed on your system so you can access data on
a flash memory card?
B. Card reader
C. Floppy drive
D. Zip drive
6. Which of the following can be bootable media? (Select the best answer.)
A. CD-R disc
B. Floppy disk
C. USB thumb drive
D. All of the above
7. When you insert a CD, the AutoPlay feature of Windows looks for what file?
D. AUTORUN.EXE ch13.indd 559 12/14/09 3:10:30 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 13 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 560 8. You can save a copy of a CD or DVD as what type of file?
9. A CD-RW has a speed rating of 12×10×32×. What do the three numbers refer to,
A. Write, rewrite, read
B. Read, write, rewrite
C. Rewrite, read, write
D. Write, read, rewrite
10. Which standard covers DVD-ROM technology?
D. MPEG-4 Answers
1. B. Plug the floppy drive into the end of the ribbon cable to make it the A: drive.
2. A. If the floppy disk won’t read in the drive, try another disk first.
3. B. The term multisession describes the capability to burn files to a CD-R and then
come back later and burn additional files.
4. C. Secure Digital cards are the current kings of the marketplace.
5. B. You need some sort of card reader to read a flash memory card.
6. D. You can make a boot disk out of optical discs, floppy disks, or flash memory
7. B. By default, Windows looks for AUTORUN.INF when you insert a CD.
8. A. You can save a complete CD or DVD as an ISO image.
9. A. The three speeds listed for CD-RW drives stand for write, rewrite, and read.
10. B. The MPEG-2 standard covers DVD-ROM technology (among other things). ch13.indd 560 12/14/09 3:10:31 PM ...
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