What is Ripping and Burning?

Posted By BrokenClaw on January 5, 2008

Rip a Disk

Rip is the slang term for the process of copying digital data from a CD or DVD onto a computer. The word rip comes from the idea of ripping, or peeling, the data from a disc, which is not what really happens. Ripping a disk simply copies the data. It does not remove the data from the original disc.

CDs and DVDs are considered optical media because they use an optical laser to transfer data. Audio and video files on optical media are often stored in proprietary data formats that have to be converted to something that other computer programs can use. Ripping a CD or DVD often involves special software on the computer which can read the data on the disc and convert it to usable computer files. The most common usage for ripping is when someone takes a commercial music CD and converts the digital music files into a format that they can store on their hard drive or play on their portable player.

Burn a Disk

Burn is the opposite of rip. Burn is the slang term for the process of transferring data from your computer to an optical disc, either a CD or DVD or Blu-ray disc. The word burn comes from the fact that optical discs use a laser to transfer the data onto the disc. However, there is no discernible heat generated while burning a disc. Burning a disc is often associated with audio and video reproduction, which requires special software on your computer.

Modern operating systems include simple processes for copying files onto an optical disc, just as you would copy a file from one directory to another. It is a common practice to burn a disc with regular computer files to create backups of important data, such as documents, financial records, and photographs. If you burn your important data to a CD or DVD, and store it someplace safe, you can be assured of having a copy even if something bad happens to your computer’s hard drive or if someone accidentally deletes the files.


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