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Recipe 11.7. Erasing a CD-RW

11.7.1 Problem

You want to erase a rewritable disk, to prepare it for recording new material, or you might want to erase single tracks.

11.7.2 Solution

Use the blank option for cdrecord. blank=fast erases only the table of contents (TOC), the program memory area (PMA), and the pregap:

$ cdrecord -v blank=fast dev=0,1,0

A more complete erasure is done with the all option:

$ cdrecord -v blank=all dev=0,1,0

Don't count on this for a secure erasure; data can still be recovered. blank=fast is perfectly fine for routine use, and it's a lot faster—plus, your CD-RW will last longer.

You can erase the last session on a multisession disc:

$ cdrecord blank=session

And on the off chance that your drive supports blanking at the track level, you can erase tracks just like sessions, starting with the last one:

$ cdrecord blank=track

11.7.3 Discussion

Blanking at track level is not supported by most drives. Erasing tracks or sessions in random order is not possible, either—you have to start at the end and work your way back. If you get error messages when using any of the blank options, try adding -force:

$ cdrecord blank=track -force

However, the disc is probably damaged or defective, so the wiser course is to discard it.

To see all the blanking options, use:

$ cdrecord blank=help

Keep in mind that CD-RWs have a limited lifespan and can take only so many erasures. The number varies, but you should get at least 100 rewrites before it becomes unreliable.

11.7.4 See Also

  • cdrecord(1)

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