CD-ROM is an acronym that stands for compact disk, read-only memory. It is a compact disc that is pre-pressed and that contains data that is readable and accessible to the reader, though it is un-writable.
CD-ROMs are popular for use as a medium for software distribution. This includes games and all kinds of different multimedia applications. A CD-ROM can actually store any data, but they are most commonly used for software.
Physically, a the device looks just like a compact disc. It is round and flat, with one side that may have something printed on it. The other side, which is the side that holds the data, is usually reflective.
These devices are specifically made from 1.2 mm polycarbonate plastic, but they have a very think aluminum layer on them, which is what creates the reflective surface.
CD-ROMs are actually a miracle of modern technology. They are something that we really take for granted nowadays, despite being very powerful storage tools. For example, just for comparison, one CD could hold the entire English Encyclopedia….words, pictures, and all. Plus, it would even have room left over for some video clips and audio tracks!
As you can see, compared to paper, the these devices is almost an unimaginable level of storage space in an incredibly small container. The data stored on the disc is read by laser beams, which is how you get the data from the CD to translate to viewable material on your computer. In order to read a CD with your computer, you need to have a suitable CD-ROM disc drive that is in working condition and hooked up appropriately.
CD-ROMs are a bit different then CDs, though the two are similar in many ways….especially in appearance.