Can't Delete from CD-RW

Category: Quickies


Whenever I try to delete a file (or folder) from my CD-RW disk, I get an error message saying the file cannot be deleted because it is read-only. Changing the attribute doesn't help because the read only designation is automatically restored. Is there some way around this? I've been told you can't delete an individual file, you must erase the entire disk. Is that true?


Unfortunately, yes... If you use Windows XP's built-in CD burning software, you cannot delete or rename individual files on a CD-RW disk. Your only recourse is to erase and re-burn the entire disk. See this page for more information:;en-us;324129

But there are CD burning software packages that allow you to edit, delete and rename individual files on a CD-RW disk. Check into Roxio and Nero for their popular CD burning software offerings.

This article was posted by on 21 Aug 2005

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Most recent comments on "Can't Delete from CD-RW"

Posted by:

24 Aug 2005

Roxio and Nero do this through what is called 'packet writing' (which means you can add files to a CD later, a bit like closing the seesion ans leaving the disk open for normal CD writing). And they to can't erase files of a disk, however, they write a mark that the file is deleted and don't show it anymore... It's not gone and can be recovered easily though.

Posted by:

29 Aug 2005

Packet writing allows you to write to a CD (not only CDRW, also normal CDs) somewhat like a floppy. It's useful for little "on-the-fly" storage, but as Legolas wrote, deleted files are not really deleted, and you can't recover disk space occupied by them. So, the available space can be easily over.
It's not a hard problem, as CDs are very cheap, and on the other hand you can erase a CDRW for a new session.
But, take care: "formatting" a CD for a packet session require little time (a few seconds), while formatting so a CDRW may be a pain (depending on the driver speed, also HOURS!!).
More: if you don't leave a 20-25Mb of spare space, you can't "close" the session on a packet writing formatted CD, making the CD readable on all CD readers. It'll be readable only on the proprietary drive or... other CD writers... that's at least what SHOULD be: I found sometimes problems on CD not "closed", also in MY driver.
AND, if something goes wrong, the CD could be definitely GONE, also a CDRW! In other words, you may have an useless unerasable CDRW.
In conclusion: packet writing on CDs can be useful for little storage of data; I feel this should be more usable on DVD writing.

Posted by:

10 Nov 2005

I have Nero Express 6 and I cannot erase a file nor can I place a single file into a folder. Nor can I do editing of the document yet I'm using RW CDs.

I have been trying to find out why I'm having these problems by retrieving the Manual on Nero's disk as well as there website but it's in PS 6 SE [V-Box] program that I cannot purchase from Broderbund. It's not available and was told to purchase their PS 21. This does not work for the Nero Manual.

Help! Thanks!

Posted by:

15 Dec 2005

Right click on the drive containing the CD and select the option 'Erase CD RW' from list.

EDITOR'S NOTE: That should work to erase ALL the files on the disk. But I believe the original question was concerning how to erase a single file from a CDRW disk.

Posted by:

22 Nov 2007

Thanks!!!!!!!!!! thankfully your answer opened on the first page on google, and i did the needful.

Posted by:

05 Dec 2007

I was Burning a movie using DVD Flick and Img Burner,For some odd reason I got an error,So I've to stop the burning process,How can I delete/re-use the same disk again? I'm using DVD-R Disks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Chances are the disk is ruined. DVD-R is write-once. With a DVD-RW you could probably do it.

Posted by:

05 Jan 2009

To erase files from a CD rewritable disc:

Double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop.

In My Computer, right-click the CD recording drive, and then click Open. Windows displays a temporary storage area where files are held before they are copied to the CD. Files or folders that are located in the temporary storage area are listed in the Files Ready to Be Written to the CD box.

In the CD Writing Tasks pane, click Erase this CD-RW. The Welcome to the CD Writing Wizard dialog box is displayed. After you click Next, the Erasing the CD dialog box is displayed and the progress bar displays the progress of the process.

When the process is finished, you receive a message in the notification area and you can use the CD-RW disc.Note: Not all CDs are erasable. If the CD that you are using is not erasable, for example, then this feature is not available.

Posted by:

17 May 2009

@Tonny are you some kind of...stupid or what >??

you cant do that because, every time you do that you will receive a message saying the File or Folder cannot be deleted because it is read-only.

Pls. if you really want to help post a correct and useful solution and don't be STUPID !!

Microsoft already recognize the error in the systems...... it his fault.

Posted by:

09 Feb 2011

@Glitch Once a DVD-R is burned (or even partly burned) there is no way to unburn it for reuse.
DVD Flick and Img burn are reliable and easy-to-use burning softwares.

Posted by:

12 May 2011

In general, rewritable CDs must first be erased totally, not just in parts, before they can be reused. Once a file is written on a rewritable disc, it remains to be read-only. That means it cannot be overwritten or saved over one file at a time.

However, the Live File System, which uses Universal Disk Format (UDF) was introduced in Windows Vista. The Live File System allows files to be saved, deleted and edited on the CD-RW itself just as it would on removable media like floppy disks and USB flash drives. This is also possible on write-once media, such as CD-R, but in that case the space occupied by the deleted files cannot be reclaimed and instead becomes inaccessible.

On a computer running Windows Vista or later, your CD-RW must first be formatted using UDF. To do this, insert your blank CD-RW in the computer and in the Computer window, double-click on the drive that contains your blank disc. The “Burn a Disc” dialogue box comes up with two choices of how you want the disc to be used. The first choice is to use the disc like a USB flash drive using the Live File System and the second is to use the disc to burn files that cannot be edited or removed. The latter uses the Mastered format, which is often used when you need a disc that will play on any computer or in some different consumer electronic devices, such as CD, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc players, that can play digital music files, pictures, or video files. The first option will format your CD-RW using the Universal Disc Format (UDF), which will then allow you to delete a single file at a time on a Windows machine.

On a Mac, deleting a file off a CD-RW can only be done in Mac OS X 10.5 or later, where the newfs_udf command utility must be used. More information on how to use the newfs_udf utility may be found in the Mac OS X Developer Library in Apple’s website or here

Posted by:

13 Sep 2011

I have Windows XP, scanned all my life's photos onto CD-RW rewritable disks and went to rename one of the folders full of photos it said I couldn't because of the "read only" statement. So if the answer is to erase it all and re-burn the entire disk, where to I safely put all the folders on the disk so I can reburn?

Posted by:

04 Nov 2011

Contrary to urban legend - you cannot erase a CDRW EVER. You will not get a 'delete file' msg when you try to erase, and you canot delete from the C prompt, error msg says 'not accessible to delete'. Please educate people. YOU CANNOT ERASE ANYTHING BURNED TO A CD --- EVER!!

Posted by:

Sou West
22 Oct 2022

@Tonny 11 years later, and thank you. I tried (click the PC icon to erase CD-RW) your trick, in Windows 10 and it worked.

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