DVD+RW is the name of a standard for optical discs: one of several types of DVD, which hold up to about 4.7GB per disc (interpreted as approximately 4.7 — 109 bytes; actually 2295104 sectors of 2048 bytes each) and are used for storing films, music or other data.
DVD+RW supports random write access, which means that data can be added and removed without erasing the whole disc and starting over (up to about 1000 times). With suitable support from the operating system, DVD+RW media can thus be treated like a large floppy disk, in contrast to DVD-RW which must be erased before re-writing can take place.
DVD+RW was primarily developed for holding discrete data sets (which change with time) or as recyclable discs for backing up collections of files. However, they (and DVD-RW) are less popular for computer use than DVD-R or DVD+R discs, because they are not suitable for permanent backup files (because non-rewritable media is significantly cheaper). For similar reasons, rewritable discs are not as widely used for permanent storage of home DVD video recorders as DVD-R and DVD+R.
On the other hand, DVD+RW or DVD-RW make an inexpensive medium for multiple temporary recordings: they can be used for the daily discs of a backup cycle (which are overwritten after a number of days or weeks), and became very popular for their convenience and cheapness as a medium for time-shifting TV (recording programs for a single later viewing and erasing), DVD+RW discs are now playable in three quarters of today's DVD players, many of them Hybrid (DVD±RW) drives.
Writeable DVDs can be burnt on Unix-like operating systems such as Linux with the program growisofs. They can be mounted onto the file system like any other block device.
Windows XP can read DVDs and can burn recordable discs; but it cannot burn rewritable DVDs without add-on software. However, most new and upgraded PCs have a drive (and software) which can read and write all formats, except DVD-RAM, which fewer people use as of the writing of this article.
All rewritables (DVD+RW, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM) can be burned natively from the Windows Vista and Mac OS X operating systems, and the GNOME and KDE desktop environments (the latter using K3b).
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