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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > some Q's about CD-RW's, Macs and Windows

some Q's about CD-RW's, Macs and Windows
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Tempe, AZ
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Jun 7, 2002, 01:38 PM
Hopefully someone's got a little experience in this .. here goes:

On campus I mainly use an iMac with OS 9.1. However, in one class I have to use a PC with Windows XP. I used to use a ZIP disk for all my files which worked very nicely, now our school has upgraded to the new iMacs and I don't have a ZIP drive to use on them.

I am concidering just using a CD-RW, as both the PCs and the Macs have cd burner drives. Is this pheasable? Even if I can't _copy_ on the Windows machine, do you suppose I could read the files if I burned the CD in OS 9?

Thanks for any ideas!
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Boston/Cambridge
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Jun 7, 2002, 02:32 PM
Saying that both Macs and PCs have Zip drives isn't quite correct. Just make sure that the computers you think have CD-RWs actually do (rather than CD-ROMs).

CD-RWs don't work like Zips/Floppies. Zips and floppies mount on the desktop, allow you to directly copy a file to them and then eject it. A CD-RW is a little different. With Apple's Disc Burner utility you put in a CD-RW and the computer sets up a little icon on the desktop for you to use like you would a floppy. When you try to eject it you will get a message asking if you would like to burn the disc. Click yes in order to copy the information to the actual media. Depending on the ammount of data and the speed of your drive this time can vary greatly. Then if you stick it in later and want to add something to it (or modify a file currently on it) you have to copy the disc's contents to the hard drive, erase the disc, and have it format (after erasing) which will allow you to copy all the files you took off of it back to it in a modifiable form. After the mods are done and you want to eject it you will have to burn the disc.

A much better solution for you (assuming that all the computers you will be working with have USB) would be to get a thumb drive/keychain drive/pen drive. They require no drivers (for Mac OS, Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows at least), are completely random read/write (vs. the sequential write of CDs that requiries you to do the whole back up copyback and burn dance). Just search on dealmac.com for them. A 32MB one costs $40, 64MB for $50, 128MB for $65. You could probably find them for less and they come in more sizes.

Another option would be to get a USB memory card reader and a memory card (Compact Flash, Smartmedia, SD, MMC). You would have to make sure that your school would allow you to hook up the drive to their computer and install any drivers though. I have the Kodak Multi Card reader ( <a href="http://www.kodak.com/global/en/digital/accessories/EKN026190.jhtml;jsessionid=4RSUT4V0C11KTQHIO2SHWGY ?MODEL=DX3900" target="_blank">http://www.kodak.com/global/en/digital/accessories/EKN026190.jhtml;jsessionid=4RSUT4V0C11KTQHIO2SHWGY ?MODEL=DX3900</a> ). It allows me to choose any type of memory card that I want and works perfectly with my Mac. Got to dealram.com to check out prices on memory cards.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. I'm stopping now because I'm not sure where you'd want me to go from here.
Mac Elite
Join Date: May 1999
Location: San Jose, CA
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Jun 8, 2002, 03:46 PM
While a USB-flash device might be easier, there's actually nothing stopping you from using CD-RW. Both Macs and Windows systems can read the CD-RW as long as you use a format understood by both systems.

They are not as simple to use a Zip, but it will work.
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