How To Copy Files To CD-RW Disks

Dear Computer Lady,

How do I copy all the files on my flash drive to a CD-RW? Can I then add new files from the flash drive to the CD-RW as I make them?

Thank You, Bonnie


Dear Bonnie,

You can copy files that you have on a flash drive to a CD-RW disk.

In order to copy files to a CD-RW and then make additions as you create new files or edit older ones, you need to format the disk first. Formatting prepares the disk for use. If you copy your files to the CD-RW without formatting it first, you will not be able to make changes to the files.


If you are using Windows XP, you cannot format a CD-RW with Windows. You will need to have a CD burning program like Nero or Roxio.  You would be able to follow the directions  that come with those programs for formatting a CD.


If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can format the CD-RW with these directions.

1. Insert a new CD-RW disk in the CD or DVD drive.

2. In the dialog box that appears, click “Burn Files to Disc Using Windows”.

3. The Burn a disc dialog box will appear, type a name for your disc.

4. Click on “Show Formatting Options”

5. Select “Live File System” and click the “Next” button.

6. Click the “Yes” button if you are prompted.

7. When the formatting is complete, a window will open. 

8. Open your flash drive and drag the files from your flash drive to this CD window.

You can drag new or changed files to this disk any time you want.

You will be able to read the files on your disk and write new files to it as long as it is in the computer, but you will need to close the disc if you want to read it on another computer.

Once the disc is closed, you will not be able to make additional changes to the files on the disc, and you may not be able to read the files on older computers, or CD and DVD players.


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    • skipscapn
    • April 20, 2012


    I’ve been a subscriber for pretty much of a decade, and the tip you gave on copying a flash drive to a CD-RW was the best yet! I forgot I had a few unused DVD-RW’s in a drawer, and following your instructions I now have a full backup of a very valuable flash drive. Thanks!

    George Belden

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