Definition – What does Optical Disk mean?

An optical disk is any computer disk that uses optical storage techniques and technology to read and write data. It is a computer storage disk that stores data digitally and uses laser beams (transmitted from a laser head mounted on an optical disk drive) to read and write data..

Explains Optical Disk

An optical disk is primarily used as a portable and secondary storage device. It can store more data than the previous generation of magnetic storage media, and has a relatively longer lifespan. Compact disks (CD), digital versatile/video disks (DVD) and Blu-ray disks are currently the most commonly used forms of optical disks. These disks are generally used to:

  • Distribute software to customers
  • Store large amounts of data such as music, images and videos
  • Transfer data to different computers or devices
  • Back up data from a local machine.

Types of Optical Disk

Following are the major types of optical disks:

  • CD-ROM
  • DVD
  • WORM Disks
  • Rewritable Optical Disks


CD-ROM stands for compact disk read-only memory. The data stored on CD-ROM can only be read. It cannot be deleted or changed. CD-ROM is a portable storage device. The data can be transferred easily by using CD-ROM. It can store about 650MB of data.

Uses of CD-ROM

  • CD-ROM is mostly used to store a large amount of information like sound, color, graphics, and videos.
  • It is often used to distribute new application software and games.

Advantages of CD-ROM

  • It is the least expensive way to store large amounts of data and information.
  • CD-ROM disks are durable and easy to handle.
  • Information can be stored on CD-ROM for many years.

Disadvantages of CD-ROM

  • The data cannot be edited.
  • It retrieves data and information more slowly than magnetic disks.

Digital Video Disk (DVD)

optical diskDVD stands for digital video disk. It is similar to CD-ROM. It uses a laser beam with a short wavelength. The short wavelength reads smaller holes on the disk.

Data storage capacity of the disk is increased it the hole size is small. So the storage capacity of DVD ROM is much greater than CD-ROM. It can store up to 17 GB of data.

WORM Disks

WORM stands for write once read many. It can only be read and cannot be updated or changed. It can store greater volumes of information than CD-ROM. Its capacity is 200 GB.

Rewritable Optical Disks

It uses several technologies to combine optical and magnetic disk technology to enable read and write storage. A 5 ½ inch rewritable disk can store up to 5 GB. These are normally used for applications using large volumes of storage with little update activity.

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