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Vista’s Live File System Turns CDs and DVDs into Flash Drives

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Turn a CD or DVD into a flash drive 1

Windows Vista will allow you to use a regular CD or DVD as a flash drive (or an oversized floppy disc!) If the disc is re-writable, you can even delete files of the CD. This gives you great flexibility as you don’t need to finalize the CD each time. For about 25c, you can have a 4.3GB thumb drive that may not be pocket sized, but it is certainly portable. Learn how to create a disc like this by following this guide.

Getting your Disc Ready

1. Pop your CD/DVD into your disc and select Burn files to disc when the autorun pops up. If the following box doesn’t show up, go to Computer and double click the burner drive.

Turn a CD or DVD into a flash drive 1

2. The following screen will come up. Click Show Formatting Options and then ensure Live File System is selected. You have the choice to change version, but 2.1 will be fine if you plan to use the disc with XP and Vista. Click Change Version to see what the other versions do.

Turn a CD or DVD into a flash drive 2

3. Now click Next and Windows will format your CD/DVD

Turn a CD or DVD into a flash drive 3

You are done and may now begin to add files. When you eject the disc, there may be a short period of time before the drive opens. Windows Vista needs to close the current write session, but not the whole disc.

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4 Responses to Vista’s Live File System Turns CDs and DVDs into Flash Drives


Brad Blogging.com - Personal Blog Tips And Blog Help

I don’t like their new discs, as I was trying to make a picture CD to take to a family reunion, and it said “Cannot Be Opened”.

I was so angry when I found out that it was formatted just like that :(



Yes, unfortunately you have to finalize the disc before using it on another computer; you may be finalizing discs with only 10% of the storage used.


Stephen Patchava

No doubt you caught the attention of readers with a title that tries to “sensationalise”. But, I think you need to modify this article to make the subtle differences clear. Some hints:

- Make the difference clear as to what happens when you insert a blank CD/DVD ROM versus a blank CD/DVD rewritable disk.
- Tell the reader that the 25c, 4.3GB thumb drive will keep shrinking irreversibly as files get added to it. At the same time, point out that this will not be the case if using a re-writable CD/DVD. You see ROMs are not erasable.
- Also, make it clear to the reader that formatting a rewritable (UDF or Live File System format) will dramatically reduce the capacity of the disk. Eg, a 700MB CDRW, after format, will not be capable of holding anymore than 400MB of data.
- Also, make it clear that CD/DVD ROMs or rewritables, once formatted this way (using LFS not mastering type) might not be readable with OSes older than XP and also cannot be read by Macintosh systems.
- Make it clear that it is rewritable disks that behave more like flash drives in the sense that files can be deleted and added and especially don’t need ‘finalising’ like flash drives which makes these rewritables more portable. But, the ROM types DO NEED to be finalised to be used on other computers or normal home stereo players.
- Update your article by highlighting these notes as bullet points rather than running text.


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