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What Does DVD-RAM Drive Mean?

A digital versatile disk random access memory (DVD-RAM) drive is a rewritable and erasable optical disc drive specified by the DVD Forum in 1996. It is a media storage device used in computers, camcorders and personal video recorders.


The original DVD-RAM disks had an enclosed cartridge, which made it difficult to fit them into DVD-ROM drives and DVD players. As such, a DVD-RAM drive was required in order to use a DVD-RAM disk. Modern DVD-RAM disks can be used without a cartridge in any DVD device that supports a DVD-RAM format.

Techopedia Explains DVD-RAM Drive

DVD-RAM is a DVD optical disk storage technology on which data can be continually read, erased and written. It provides exceptional data integrity, data retention and damage protection and can be used for basic data storage, archiving data and data backup.

Most operating systems, such as Windows XP, Linux and Mac OS 8.6, support DVD-RAM directly. However, earlier Windows versions required a device driver or InCD software. Several stand-alone DVD systems do not support DVD-RAM but there are many DVD device manufacturers within the DVD-RAM Promotion Group (RAMPRG) that do support this format. The newer DVD-RAM2 is not backward compatible with DVD drives that do not support DVD-RAM2 disks specifically.

The DVD-RAM has several features:

  • Small files are quickly accessible
  • Users cannot manipulate the data
  • Data is retained for approximately 30 years
  • Disk defect management architecture protects data
  • Some devices can be written to and read at the same time
  • Confirmation by software is not needed for post-write hardware
  • Device cartridges have write-protect tabs to prevent unintended deletion
  • Can be rewritten more than 100,000 times

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.