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PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Overburning

Overburning simply means writing more data to a CD-R blank than it is nominally designed to store, allowing you to fit more music or data on a standard CD-R disc. This is possible because most CD-R blanks contain more than the necessary number of writable sectors. For example, a 74-minute blank, which must have at least 333,000 sectors to yield 74 minutes of recording time, may actually contain 340,000 sectors, which allows it to record about 75.5 minutes. The number of “extra” sectors varies widely between different brands of CD-R blanks. Some contain only a few extra sectors, while others contain enough extra sectors to allow recording up to 76, 77, or even 78 minutes on a nominal 74-minute blank.

Tip

To overburn successfully, the media, the CD recorder, and the software must all support overburning. If your software supports overburning, it is probably not configured to use it by default. You’ll likely need to enable overburning manually, possibly for each disc you want to overburn.

In the days before 80-minute blanks became widely available, overburning was a popular way to defeat the ad hoc copy protection used by some game CD makers, who simply pressed CDs that contained more sectors than would fit on a standard 74-minute CD. The widespread availability of overburning-capable software and then 80-minute blanks has almost eliminated the use of this means of copy protection.

Warning

Do not overburn unless you are certain your CD writer supports it. Although we have ...

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