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Mysteries of the CDRW back ups revealed

Plug and go? No!

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There's a war going on between digital rights owners and software 'pirates', and the biggest flashpoint is the humble CDRW drive. There are perfectly innocent uses for copying software - and that's for back-up. Unfortunately, plug and go it ain't.

Currently there are at least 25 different data CD protection schemes, and maybe five production schemese for audio CDs. But these formats are going right to the edge and beyond of Orange Book and Red Book CD industry standards. This can mean compatibility problems and degradation of playing quality, as Tom's Hardware's David Stellnack points out.

"In some cases, if your CD-ROM/ DVD-ROM drive is having difficulty reading a certain copy-protected title, you may have to go to the extreme of "flashing" the firmware in your reader to get that title to function correctly. (Provided, of course, that your drive manufacturer is aware of the compatibility problem and has addressed it through an available firmware upgrade, which isn't always the case.) Don't look for the software publishers to lend a sympathetic ear, either, as most of them believe that they have done as much as they can to make their title compatible with the widest variety of CD-ROM/ DVD-ROM drives."

Stellnack put four CDRW drives through their paces, attempting to produce back-ups of four CDs incorporating copy protection. THG's tests show that
that the right combination of hardware and software is needed to complete this mundane task. It's a good overview of the pitfalls created by copy protection: check it out. ®

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