I thought that we had already done a tip on this subject, but after doing some research for it, I couldn't find anything. We have one for DVDs, which is pretty similar, but I thought I would go ahead and answer the CD part of it for you. Good thing you asked!
Both the CD-R and CD-RW CDs look alike, but there are obviously some major differences between them. (They wouldn't have separate names if there wasn't, right?!) We've done several articles on burning lately, so you should be pretty up to par on that, but picking the CDs you are going to use is the next big step. The main difference that comes into play is the quality you will get from each type of CD.
Most people burn CDs to either back up their data or to make a music CD. The CD-R format is a more inexpensive disk with a decent amount of quality. They usually hold between 650 and 700 MB of information. These are good for saving any type of information, but they're better used for school projects, copying games, moving data from one computer to another, etc. If you're not planning on ever erasing the information, you'll want to use a CD-R.
On the other hand, a CD-RW is a rewriteable disk. They are more flexible for the mere fact that you can write and rewrite information on them. You can usually copy over them at least 40 times as well, which is pretty impressive. CD-RWs are good for making music CDs, because if you get tired of that music, you can always copy new songs over the old data. So, if you're planning on erasing the information you put on a CD, use a CD-RW, because you can get a lot more use out of them. This also makes it less expensive in the end, because of the reuse factor.
Whichever format you use, you burn them the same way. As long as you have a CD burner and some type of burning software installed on your computer, you're good to go. As I said earlier, this information is pretty much the same for DVDs, but here's an article you can read on that if you're wanting to burn DVDs instead.
~ Erin worldstart.com