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Whatever type of flash memory you use, your PC must have a card reader in order to access the data on the card directly There are a number of inexpensive USB card readers available today (Figure 1020), and some PCs,
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Mike Meyers CompTIA A+ Guide: Essentials (Exam 220-601)
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especially those tuned to home theater use, often come with built-in readers handy to have when someone pulls out an SD card and says, Let s look at the pictures I just took! Whichever type of flash memory you have, understand that it acts exactly like a hard drive If you wish, you can format a memory card as well as copy, paste, and rename files
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Of course, if the person just happened to bring his or her camera and the usually proprietary USB cable along, you could connect the camera to the PC and pull pictures in that way Just make sure you have spare batteries, too! Wouldn t a card reader be a more elegant solution
Optical Drives
CD- and DVD-media discs and drives come in a variety of flavors and formats, enabling you to back up data, record music, master a home video, and much, much more All those shiny, 12-cm-wide discs that, if you re a slob like me, collect around your PC like pizza boxes in a fraternity house, can be generically referred to as optical discs The drives that support them are optical drives This section examines the different types of CD-media and DVD-media CD stands for compact disc, a medium that was originally designed more than 20 years ago as a replacement for vinyl records The CD now reigns as the primary method of long-term storage for sound and data The digital versatile disc (DVD) first eliminated VHS cassette tapes from the commercial home movie market, but has also grown into a contender for backups and high-capacity storage Optical media include a number of technologies with names such as CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD+RW, HD-DVD, and so on Each of these technologies will be discussed in detail in this chapter For now, understand that although optical media describes a number of different, exciting formats, they all basically boil down to the same physical object: that little shiny disc
10: Understanding Removable Media
CD-Media
The best way to understand the world of optical discs is to sort out the many types of technologies available, starting with the first, the compact disc All you re about to read is relevant and fair game for the CompTIA A+ certification exams Let s begin by looking at how CDs work
How CDs Work
CDs the discs that you buy in music stores or may find in software boxes store data via microscopic pits CD producers use a power laser to burn these pits into a glass master CD Once the CD producer creates a master, expensive machines create plastic copies using a very high-tolerance injection molding process The copies are coated with a reflective metallic covering and then finished with lacquer for protection CDs only store data on one side of the disc we don t flip a CD as we used to flip vinyl records (did I just sound really old ) The data on a CD is near the top of the CD, where the label is located (see Figure 1021) Many people believe that scratching a CD on the bottom makes it unreadable This is untrue If you scratch a CD on the bottom (the shiny side), just polish out the scratches assuming that they aren t too deep and reread the CD A number of companies sell inexpensive CD polishing kits It s the scratches on the top of the disc that wreak havoc on CDs Avoid writing on the top with anything other than a soft-tipped pen, and certainly don t scratch the top! CD readers (like the one in your car or the one in your PC) use a laser and mirrors to read the data Figure 1021 Location of the data from the CD The metallic covering of the CD makes a highly reflective surface the pits create interruptions in that surface, while the non-pitted spots, called Try This! lands, leave it intact The laser Repairing a CD-ROM picks up on the reflected pattern To revive scratched CD-ROMs and other CD-media in the comfort of that the pits and lands create, and your home or office, get a CD polishing kit and familiarize yourself with the CD drive converts this pattern its operation Try this: into binary ones and zeroes Because the pits are so densely 1 Obtain a CD polishing kit from your local computer store, or packed on the CD, a vast amount find one online of data can be stored: A standard 2 Take a CD-ROM that you don t mind potentially ruining and make CD holds up to 52 billion bits, or light scratches on the bottom of the disc Be sure not to scratch 650 million bytes, of data too heavily! Just try to replicate the everyday wear and tear that you ve probably seen on CD-ROMs before If you have a disc CD Formats that s already lightly scratched, that s even better The first CDs were designed for 3 Use the CD polishing kit, following the provided instructions playing music and organized the exactly music in a special format called
Mike Meyers CompTIA A+ Guide: Essentials (Exam 220-601)
CD-Digital Audio (CDDA) , which we usually just call CD-audio CD-audio divides the CD s data into variable-length tracks; on music CDs, each song gets one track CD-audio is an excellent way to store music, but it lacks any error checking, file support, or directory structure, making it a terrible way to store data! For this reason, The Powers That Be created a special method for storing data on a CD, called are you ready CD-ROM The CD-ROM format divides the CD into fixed sectors, each holding 2353 bytes Most CD-ROM drives also support a number of older, less known formats You may never come across these formats CD-I, CD-ROM/XA, and so forth although you may see them listed among compatible formats on the packaging for a new drive (Figure 1022) Don t let these oddball formats throw you with few exceptions, they ve pretty much fallen by the wayside All CD-ROM drives read all of these formats, assuming that the system is loaded with the proper software There are two other formats called CD-R and CD-RW perhaps you ve heard of them Well, I cover these in detail in a moment, but first I need to explain a bit more about CD-ROM The CD-ROM format is something like a partition in the hard drive world CD-ROM may define the sectors (and some other information), but it doesn t enable a CD-ROM disc to act like a hard drive with a file structure, directories, and such To make CD-ROMs act like a hard drive, there s another layer of formatting that defines the file system used on the drive At first glance, you might think, Why don t CD-ROMs just use a FAT or an NTFS format like hard drives Well, first of all, they could! There s no law of physics that prevented the CD-ROM world from adopting any file system The problem is that the CD makers did not want CD-ROM to be tied to Microsoft s or Apple s or anyone else s file format In addition, they wanted non-PC devices to read CDs, so they invented their own file system just for CD-ROMs, called ISO-9660 This format is sometimes referred by the more generic term, CD File System (CDFS) The vast majority of data CD-ROMs today use this format Over the years, extensions of the ISO-9660 have addressed certain limitations such as the characters used in file and directory names, filename length, and directory depth It s important to know these ISO-9660 extensions:
Joliet Microsoft s extension of the ISO-9660 Macintosh and Linux also support Joliet formatted discs Rock Ridge An open standard to provide UNIX file system support for discs; rarely used outside of UNIX systems El Torito Added support to enable bootable CD-media All bootable CDs use the El Torito standard, which is supported by the BIOS on all modern PCs Apple Extensions Apple s added support for their HFS file system Windows systems cannot read these CDs without third-party tools
It is important to appreciate that all of these file systems are extensions, not replacements to ISO-9660 That means a single CD/DVD can have both regular ISO-9660 information and the extension For example, it s very common to have a CD-media that is ISO-9660 and Joliet
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