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BuildOrBuy Group Network
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  1. bootcdspec.pdf - Phoenix Bootable CD-ROM Spec, El Torito Bootable CD-ROM (1995).
  2. DAE
  3. Disk Management
  4. File Systems
  5. joliet.pdf - Joliet Specification - CD-ROM Recording Spec ISO 9660 (1988).
  6. UDF - Universal Disk Format
CDFS = Compact Disc File System:

Although the following may be confusing @ first glance, after thoroughly reading through this material, Users hopefully will better understand these slight Technological changes.

WinXP Pro:

The Windows XP Professional Compact Disc File System (CDFS) can read Compact Discs (CDs) formatted according to the ISO 9660 file system standard. The ISO 9660 specification defines three methods, or interchange levels, for recording and naming files on a CD. Windows XP Professional supports up to interchange level 3.

Windows XP Professional also supports Joliet, an extension to ISO 9660, which supports CDs that are recorded using file names containing Unicode characters. Joliet supports file and folder names on CDs as follows:

A.) File and folder names can contain up to 64 Unicode characters.
B.) Folder names can contain file name extensions.
C.) Folder hierarchy can be recorded deeper than 8 levels.

CDFS does not support the Rock Ridge Interchange Protocol extensions to ISO 9660 and reads only the ISO 9660 structures on such discs.

If the computer uses a compatible CD-ROM drive, Windows XP Professional can also read CDs recorded by using the following standards:

1.) Red Book (CD-Audio), including Enhanced CD (Music CD's)
2.) Yellow Book (CD-ROM)
3.) CD-XA
4.) White Book (Video CD)
5.) Photo CD
6.) Orange Book Part II (CD-recordable, including multisession) and Part III (CD-Rewritable)
7.) Blue Book (CD Extra)


Users may require a special Program or Player to interpret the information on CD-XA, White Book, and Photo CDs. And... Windows XP Professional cannot read CD-R or CD-RW discs that have not been closed by the writing software.

Windows XP Professional provides integrated support for writing data to CD-R and CD-RW. When writing data to CD, Windows XP Professional automatically uses the Joliet and ISO 9660 formats. When writing audio files to CD, Windows XP Professional uses the Red Book format. See: CD Recording.


CDFS, or CD-ROM File System, is a relatively simple format defined in 1988 as the read-only formatting standard for CD-ROM media. Windows 2000 implements ISO 9660-compliant CDFS in \Winnt\System32\Drivers\Cdfs.sys, with long file name support defined by Level 2 of the ISO 9660 standard. Because of its simplicity, the CDFS format has a number of restrictions:

  1. Directory and file names must be fewer than 32 characters long.

  2. Directory trees can be no more than eight levels deep.

  3. CDFS is considered a legacy format since the industry has adopted the Universal Disk Format (UDF) as the standard for read-only Media.

  1. msdn.microsoft.com - CDFS:

  2. www.microsoft.com/technet - Compact Disc File System:



  1. CDFS (CD-ROM File System) - The Win9x 32-bit protected mode File System Driver (FSD) handles CD-ROM Drives in Win95/98. CDFS.vxd uses the Windows Vcache disk cache to buffer data from CD-ROM in memory to speed up data retrieval. CDFS.vxd replaced the earlier 16-bit real mode MSCDEX.EXE used in DOS/Windows 3.1.

    Remember, Windows MUST correctly identify the Controller to correctly identify CD Devices on said Controller.

    1. msdn.microsoft.com - Types of Windows Drivers: Types of Kernel-Mode Drivers - CDFS File System Drivers (FSDs). File System Drivers include FAT, NTFS & CDFS.
  2. An alternate CDFS.VXD CD Driver on Win9x to show Audio CD's as WAV files IN THE FILE SYSTEM! This replacement driver shows WAV files in a variety of qualities. It works on any CD drive that Win9X supports. Rename the old CDFS.VXD to CDFS.old for archive purposes. From cyber7.
  3. UDF: (Universal Disk Format) - A File System for Optical Media Storage developed by the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA).


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Web Development, Gill Boyd & Team - Posted 10/23/2003; Updated 12/06/2003