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OS X Mavericks: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Disks Today

So what’s springing up to take their places? Let us count the disks.

Hard Drives

Thanks to the Mac’s Thunderbolt, FireWire, and USB jacks, it’s easier than ever to attach an external hard drive for extra storage.

CDs, DVDs

CDs and DVDs may be fading from the scene, but they’re not gone yet. (Current Mac models don’t have built-in DVD drives, but you can buy an external one. Which is handy if you have a many-hour flight ahead of you and want to watch some movies you picked up at the library.)

CD-ROM stands for “compact disc, read-only memory”—in other words, you can’t freely add and delete files from one, as you can from a hard drive. But most Macs can also record onto blank CDs, of course, and blank DVDs, too, thanks to a built-in CD/DVD burner.

A burner can record onto either of two kinds of blank discs:

  • CD-R. You can fill this type of disc with your own files—once. (The R stands for recordable.) The disc can’t be erased.

    Note

    A Mac can accept either kind of blank disc: the -R type or the +R type. Just buy whichever is on sale.

  • CD-RW. The initials stand for rewritable; using Disk Utility, you can erase one of these discs and rerecord it, over and over again. Of course, CD-RW and DVD-RW blank discs are more expensive than the one-shot kind.

The standard Mac can also play DVD movies that you’ve rented or bought, but you may also occasionally use it for data DVDs—that is, DVDs that contain Mac files or software installers.

Flash Drives

The most recent invention is among the most convenient: ...

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