How to Format a Blank DVD-RW

Updated March 23, 2017

DVD-RW enable you to burn video files to a disc and remove them if you choose to, making these discs cost efficient and reusable. They are not permanent until you lock them, so you have the advantage of saving the disc if errors occur during the process. Formatting a DVD-RW only requires basic computer skills--having great patience to endure the time it takes to complete the process is the most difficult part.

Locate the CD-ROM drive door on your computer. The location of the drive depends on the computer you have. You will see a small rectangular button on the door.

Press the button and the drive door should slightly open. Lightly pull the door open and insert the blank DVD-RW disc into the drive. Close the drive door and wait for the computer to detect the disc, which will trigger an "Auto Play" screen to flash on the desktop's taskbar. The screen will prompt you to choose an action you'd like to perform for the disc.

Click "Burn Files to Disc: Using Windows." This link will redirect you to your Windows Explorer disc burning application. You will be prompted to enter a title for the disc.

Enter the title of your choice in the form and click "Next." The last screen will ask if you'd like to continue with the formatting; click "Yes" to continue. The "Elapsed Time" screen will appear indicating how long the process will take. When the process is complete, another screen will automatically appear indicating the formatting process is complete.

Click "OK" to continue. Your Windows Explorer panel will appear. In the upper-left corner of the panel, you will see a horizontal menu bar with different options for the disc. Now your disc is formatted and you can begin burning files to your disc.


Be patient when performing this action. It might take a long time, depending on your computer's processing speed. Make sure your computer has a fully charged battery or the charger is plugged in to avoid your computer shutting down before the formatting is complete. Remember this disc may take a little longer to format and burn because it is a DVD-RW. It has to be formatted twice: first for burning preparation and again for rewrite formatting to enable you to erase the disc if you choose to.


Be sure the disc is not locked, because you cannot format it once it is locked. Check your computer's specs to make sure it is capable of this process. Your computer's CD-ROM drive should be able to burn CD-R+RW and DVD-R+RW. Do not open the drive door while performing this action. This will stop the process and you will have to repeat the entire process again because formatting a disc is not a permanent action. It only prepares the disc to be burnt. Don't shut your computer down until the process is done.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Blank DVD-RW disc
  • CD-RW/DVD-ROM multifunction drive
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About the Author

Meaghan Ellis has been writing short stories, newspaper articles, Web content and product research reports for over 12 years. While double majoring in business management and marketing at Southern University, she runs a home-based graphic design and Web content business.