dvd+rw-format - Man Page

formatting and blanking DVD and BD media program.


dvd+rw-format [-force[=full]] [-lead-out|-blank[=full]] [-ssa[=none|default|max|XXXm]] /dev/dvd


dvd+rw-format is a part of dvd+rw-tools suite and allows to format virgin DVD+RW or BD-RE media for the first use or blank already written DVD-RW. Typical use cases of using dvd+rw-format is formatting DVD-RW to make them over-writable, blanking used DVD-RW to make them sequentially writable from scratch, formatting BD-RE and DVD-RAM with custom spare area sizes or re-formatting BD-RE and DVD-RAM to change their spare size. It is not possible to format CD-RW by dvd+rw-format, you can use cdrskin, xorriso or wodim utilities to blank them or cdrwtool to format them instead, see section Examples.

A DVD-RW accepts two disc modes: the Sequential Recording and the Restricted Overwrite. If a DVD-RW medium is in the latter one, it will behave much like DVD+RW. By default DVD-RW discs are in Sequential Recording mode, but can be put into Restricted Overwrite mode using dvd+rw-format when no options given. Be aware, that only -blank=full, which lasts as long as full writing, makes a used sequential DVD-RW capable of performing multi-session, while fast blanked DVD-RW can only do Disk-At-Once.

Virgin DVD-RW can be directly written without the need of a formatting operation, however a non-virgin DVD-RW in Sequential Recording mode needs to be blanked before writing a new initial session. Since a DVD-RW medium in the Restricted Overwrite mode behaves much like DVD+RW, it  can be written again without prior formatting the media.

Virgin BD-RE and DVD+RW media may be initially formatted prior usage. Any-time later, growisofs program will take care of formatting it automatically whenever appropriate, while further formatting is not recommended, however it is possible.



Perform formatting even if the medium is formatted already. This is not recommended for BD-RE and DVD+RW media, since they need to be formatted only once. Use -format=full to perform full (lengthy) reformat in case of DVD-RAM or (lengthy) Full Certification in case of BD-RE.


Relocates the lead-out next to outermost written sector as well as makes sure there is no virgin surface before it. This can make the medium more compatible with some DVD players. Previously written data is not affected by this operation.


Wipe data from DVD-RW media. Data on BD-RE and DVD+RW will we overwritten automatically, so there is no need to blank them explicitly. Use -blank=full to change DVD-RW back to Sequential Recording mode.


Grow, eliminate, reset to default or maximize Supplementary Spare Area.


Actual device names vary from one operating system to another. We use /dev/dvd as a collective name or as symbolic link to the actual device if you wish. Under Linux it will most likely be a device such as "/dev/sr0" or "/dev/hda" for older Linux 2.6.

To blank a CD-RW, you have to use another utility, e.g. wodim:

       wodim blank=fast -immed dev=/dev/cdrom
       cdrskin blank=all|fast|as_needed -immed dev=/dev/cdrom
       xorriso -outdev /dev/cdrom -blank all|fast|as_needed
        To format CD-RW, you can use cdrwtool:

       cdrwtool -d /dev/cdrom -q

To blank a DVD-RW and put in the incremental sequential mode, run:

       dvd+rw-format -blank=full /dev/dvd

To blank a DVD-RW and put in the Restricted Overwrite mode, run:

       dvd+rw-format -force /dev/dvd

To overwrite data of BD-RE, DVD+RW, DVD-RW or DVD-RAM run:

       growisofs -Z /dev/dvd=/dev/zero

To blank a DVD-RAM, you can use:

       dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/dvd

To relocate lead-out sector, run:

       dvd+rw-format -lead-out /dev/dvd


Note that DVD+RW re-formatting procedure does not substitute for blanking. If you want to nullify the media, e.g. for privacy reasons, do it explicitly with 'growisofs -Z /dev/dvd=/dev/zero'.

When growisofs "runs into" blank Blu-ray Disc media or BD-RE, it gets pre-formatted with minimal spare area size of 256MB.

See Also

Most up-to-date information on dvd+rw-tools is available at http://fy.chalmers.se/~appro/linux/DVD+RW/.

growisofs(1), cdrskin(1), xorriso(1), wodim(1), cdrwtool(1)


Andy Polyakov <appro@fy.chalmers.se> stands for programming and on-line information.

This manpage was created by Honza Horak <hhorak@redhat.com> and consulted by Thomas Schmitt <scdbackup@gmx.net>.


dvd+rw-format is distributed under GNU GPL.

Referenced By

cdw(1), growisofs(1).

24 Aug 2012 dvd+rw-tools 7.1