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Avoid overburning

Writing beyond the official capacity of a CD-RW (cutting into “leadout” time of about 90 seconds) can make your CD unreadable and may even damage your own drive.

“Overburning” is a special writing method used by a few CD-RW drive makers that allows you to cram 82-84 minutes of data onto an 80-minute disc, or 74-76 minutes onto a 74-minute disc. Drives such as the Acer 8432 and 6432 (with the correct firmware update) are known to support overburn.

Overburn, however, is not an accepted disc format. Few major CD-writing utilities support it, and overburned CDs often cannot be read by most CD-ROM or CD-R drives. Even Acer’s own FAQs say that overburning has a potential to damage the drive itself. I’d suggest that you avoid this practice, even if your hardware and software are able to support it.

Formerly part of Computer Currents, Stephen J. Bigelow’s Computer Advisor column has been resurrected on as a daily tech tip column. Find Stephen at

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