How to Format a CD-R Disc

By Meaghan Ellis

Updated September 28, 2017

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CD-R disc formatting is usually performed when the disc is being used for data storage, rather than for creating an audio CD that can be played in music CD players. The time it takes to format a CD-R disk depends solely on the size of the disk, the speed of the CD burner and the size of the files that will be transferred to it. Formatting is a simple process that does not require much technical activity. Applying settings and configurations to the disk is all that needs to be done.

Insert a blank CD-R into your CD-ROM hard drive.

Exit out of the AutoPlay dialog window, when it appears on your computer screen, by clicking the "X" in the upper-right corner of the dialog window.

Click the "Start" tab, located in the lower-left corner of your computer's task bar, then select the "Computer" or "My Computer" tab folder in the list options. This folder will entitled "Computer" in Vista" and "My Computer" in earlier operating system versions, such as Windows XP.

Right-click over the CD-R's removable storage folder tab when the Computer Explorer window opens.

Select the "Format" action in the right-click drop-down menu. Formatting will automatically begin and an elapsed time estimator will appear in a dialog window displaying the amount of time it will take to format the disc. Once the process is complete, this window will disappear automatically.


The CD-R disc you are trying to format must be blank. If the CD is not blank, formatting will not be available. Do not abort the formatting process once it has begun. Aborting will only result in incompletion of the process. As a result, you will have to start over, and none of the formatting progress will be stored. Do not remove the disc, once it is formatted. Whatever action you desire to take for the disc should be conducted while it is in the computer. Otherwise, the formatting process will be null and void.