Stands for "Compact Disc-Recordable."

CD-R is an optical media storage medium that can hold up to 700 MB of data. The discs are used for backing up data, sharing multimedia, and general data storage. Unlike traditional CDs that are factory-pressed with pre-recorded data, CD-Rs allow users to write data onto them once, making them a convenient and cost-effective archival solution.

A CD-R disc is coated with a thin layer of dye and a reflective layer. When data is written, or "burned," onto a CD-R, a laser beam heats the dye, creating permanent physical changes that form pits (non-reflective) and lands (reflective) on the disc's surface. The pits and lands represent binary zeros and ones, which an optical drive can read as digital data.

One key advantage of CD-Rs is their compatibility with a wide range of devices, including CD-ROM drives, CD players, and standalone CD burners. You can use CD-Rs to create music CDs, software installation discs, sharable photo albums, and data backups.

Once data is written onto a CD-R, it cannot be erased or overwritten. Additionally, the quality of CD-Rs may degrade over time due to light exposure, heat, and humidity, potentially leading to data loss or corruption.

Today, most PCs do not have optical drives, and CD-Rs are much less common than in the early 2000s. Newer data storage mediums such as flash drives and external hard drives read and write data faster and have much higher capacity.

Updated June 7, 2024 by Nils-Henrik G.
Reviewed by Per C.

quizTest Your Knowledge

The space between CSS "block" elements is defined by padding and what?

Correct! Incorrect!     View the Margin definition.
More Quizzes →

The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

The definition of CD-R on this page is an original definition written by the team. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, please use the green citation links above.

The goal of is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about this definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.