Linux Formatting a CDRW / DVD Media ( blank media ) Commands

Q. How do I blank / format my CDRW / DVD media under Linux using a shell prompt?

A. You can use wodim (cdrecord) to record data or audio Compact Discs on an Orange Book CD-Recorder or to write DVD media on a DVD-Recorder


Task: Find out device name

Find find out your CDRW drive name by entering following command:
$ cdrecord -scanbus
$ wodim -scanbus

        1,0,0   100) 'TSSTcorp' 'CD/DVDW SH-S182D' 'SB04' Removable CD-ROM
        1,1,0   101) *
        1,2,0   102) *
        1,3,0   103) *
        1,4,0   104) *
        1,5,0   105) *
        1,6,0   106) *
        1,7,0   107) *

Note that 1,0,0 is the device name you need to use.

Task: Formatting a cd rw on Linux

Insert CD and enter following command to format CDRW (note for formatting DVD use dvd+rw-format command, see below):
$ cdrecord blank=fast dev=1,0,0
$ sudo cdrecord blank=fast dev=1,0,0
Above command will blank a CD-RW and exit or blank a CD-RW before writing. The blanking type is fast, but it may be one of the following:

  • all : Blank the entire disk. This may take a long time.
  • fast: Minimally blank the disk. This results in erasing the PMA, the TOC and the pregap.
  • track Blank a track.
  • unreserve Unreserve a reserved track.
  • trtail Blank the tail of a track.
  • unclose Unclose last session.
  • session Blank the last session.

Task: Formatting a dvd rw on Linux

Use dvd+rw-format command to formats dvd disk in the specified dvd drive such as /dev/dvd:
$ dvd+rw-format -force /dev/dvd
$ sudo dvd+rw-format -force /dev/dvd

Task: Using GUI tool – k3b

k3b is a CD/DVD burning tool. It can format CD/DVD RW. First install k3b:
$ sudo apt-get install k3b
Start k3b from menus or just type
$ k3b &
Now click on Tools menu > Erase CDRW to format CDRW
Now click on Tools menu > Format DVD to format DVD
Linux blanking / formatting CDRW CD / DVD Media  using K3B

See also:

Updated for accuracy!

🥺 Was this helpful? Please add a comment to show your appreciation or feedback.

nixCrat Tux Pixel Penguin
Hi! 🤠
I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

13 comments… add one
  • Paul Sheridan Oct 11, 2013 @ 4:14

    This article is still very helpful – just used K3b for the first time today for a quick format, and impressed. :)

  • Samuel Peters Oct 27, 2013 @ 6:18

    Thanks! You saved me a lot of time trying to find formatting software on an online store!

  • Reedych Jun 20, 2015 @ 13:41


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use HTML <pre>...</pre> for code samples. Your comment will appear only after approval by the site admin.