Important Windows XP Info

Courtesy of: http://aumha.org/win5/a/xpcd.php

"Windows XP’s inbuilt CD-burning software allows you to select files and apparently write them to the disk immediately, by dragging and dropping them to the CD drive’s icon, or by right-clicking them, taking Send To, and selecting CD Drive x: as the destination. This gives the impression that the files are being written to the disk right then, as in a UDF system. But this is not the case. Doing this simply stashes up copies of these files on the hard disk, in a “staging area” (which, by default, is in your Documents and Settings folder).

They are only written to the CD when you take an explicit action. This may be:

right-click on the drive’s icon and take Write files to CD; or,
open a window on the drive and take Write Files to CD in the Folder actions to be seen in the bar on the left of the window.

In either case, all the files you previously selected are then written out to the CD as a single track — in the ISO manner — and the disk is ejected.

When you put such a disk back in the drive, it will be opened in an Explorer window, which will show the existing files, under a heading “Files Currently on the CD,” and may also have a section at the top entitled “Files Ready to be Written to the CD.” This will show any files you have setup for writing since last a session was written, and is a place you can add more files to by dragging and dropping. If you thus add a file whose name matches one already on the CD, only the new one will be seen subsequently. This appears to be a means of replacing a file; though the space occupied by the original is not released, so the disk fills up.

So the Windows XP inbuilt software is really a system most suitable for preparing straightforward data CDs on CD-R. It is not one which allows a CD-RW to be used as a backing store on which individual files can be updated, and it will not work as an output destination for backup programs and other software that simply attempts to write to it directly as if it were a hard disk. Nor will it make a direct copy of a CD. And, because of the overhead for a TOC in each session, it is not suitable for updating a small volume of files on a regular basis.

Note that this software also allows you to select a “Playlist” of audio files, such as MP3 or WMA files, in Windows Media Player, and will then convert them to an audio format and record the disk as an audio CD. This has to be of the complete content of the audio CD in one operation; you cannot put the disk back and add more tracks to it, because most audio players would not recognize the result. CAVEAT: Do not try to mix these audio files with data files for this purpose!"


This explains why I was never able to use InCD as an archiving tool. The built-in Windows program overrode it. To disable the built-in writing system, and allow Nero to work the way it’s supposed to, here’s what to do:

“To disable the XP burning features:
go to your Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services
Right click the IMAPI CD burning service, select properties and set it to “disabled”.
Then go to MyComputer, right click on your CDRW drive, click on properties, click on Recording tab, uncheck Enable recording on this drive.”


I want to send a huge “Thank You!” out to this very forum’s own Pat357, who is responsible for mentioning IMAPI in another thread, which FINALLY put a name to this awful built-in WinXP feature, so I could research the problem properly! I owe ya, friend!

Hope This Helps, BK.

When InCD installs, this should automatically override winxp’s native cd burning software. However, there are some cases where imapi does need to be disabled but I cannot find a common connection between these cases.