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What is CDFS (Compact Disc File System)?

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  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 11 May, 2020
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CDFS stands for Compact Disc File System. Before the era of CDFS, there was no medium for people to store their memories or files that they want to store for the long term purpose. The storing of data and information was a major problem because in that time the world needs a system that can store multiple files in compressed format. But the revolution of technology changed the culture of the world and new advanced things started coming to the market. CDFS came into the picture on 21 August 1999. At that time CDFS is considered the most advanced technology in the technology Industry. There were many features offered by CDFS that came into limelight immediately:

  1. It is a file system for read-only and write-once CD-ROMs.
  2. It exports all tracks and boot images on a CD as normal files.
  3. CDFS provides a wide range of services which include creation, replacing, renaming, or deletion of files on write-once media.
  4. It uses a VCACHE driver to control the CD-ROM disc cache allowing for a smoother playback.
  5. It includes several disc properties like volume attributes, file attributes, and file placement.

CDFS was developed by Simson Garfinkel and J. Spencer Love at the MIT Media Lab between 1985 and 1986. CDFS was developed from the write-once CD-ROM simulator. They are designed to store any data and information on read-only and write-once media. A great setback for CDFS was that it never gets sold. The File System source code was published on the internet.
Disk Images can be saved using the CDFS standard, which may be used to burn ISO 9660 discs. ISO 9660 also referred to as CDFS by some hardware and software providers, is a file system published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) for optical disc media.

A file system is a systematic organized way in which files have to get organized in a hard disk. The file system is initiated when a user opens a hard disk to access files. Here are some applications of the Compact Disk File System:

  1. CDFS creates a way in which the system first sets up the root directory and then automatically creates all the subsequent folders for it.
  2. The system also provides a wide range of services for all users. You can create new files or folders which are added to the main root file or we can say the “file tree” of the system.
  3. There was also a problem of transferring data or files from CDs to a laptop or computer. But CDFS shows us a great solution to solve this problem. It is useful for burning discs that can be exchanged between different devices.
  4. CDFS is not specific to a single Operating System, it means that a disc burned on Macintosh using CDFS can be read on a Windows or Linux based computer.
  5. It can operate over numerous Operating System. It means if a user started shifting files from Macintosh using Compact Disk File System, he can also operate the files in Windows Operating System.
  6. Disc Pictures are also saved using proper system standards. All files have a typical.ISO name extension.

There are different versions of Compact Disk File System:

  1. Clustered operated system. (can be Global or Grid)
  2. Flash operated
  3. Object file system
  4. Semantic
  5. Steganographic process
  6. Versioning
  7. Synthetic operated system

How It Works?
The answer can very simple and concrete. The idea was to store multiple files and perform certain actions like insertion or deletion using the file system.
ISO 9660 or we can say that Compact Disk File System starts to trace its roots to the High Sierra file system. It arranges files in a well orderly manner to minimize non-sequential access by using hierarchical (eight-level of directories deep) tree file system. To support cross-platform compatibility, it defines a minimal common set of files attributes and name attributes.


  1. Very easy to transfer files from CDs to PC and vice versa.
  2. CDFS supports cross-platform compatibility.
  3. The CDs are very cheap to produce and so is the system.
  4. The system uses a very fast means to transfer data.
  5. Most computers read CDs so It is a huge success for Compact Disk File System.


  1. The great setback is that they support smaller storage capacity.
  2. CDFS offers slower access.

Compact Disk File System was indeed a very great invention by developers at MIT Media Lab. It changed and solved many problems like cross-platform compatibility, faster access to data.


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