If you view the contents of an audio CD from Windows, you’ll see that it contains a number of .CDA files each corresponding to a song track. (CDA stands for Compact Disk Audio)
I regularly get letters from Computer Era magazine readers asking why can’t they just copy these files to their PC rather than first having to rip them to .WAV files.
It’s a good question with a simple answer: there are no .CDA files on a CD. In fact, from a Windows perspective, there are no “files” at all.
An audio CD differs greatly from your hard drive or floppy disk drive in the way information is stored.
Hard drives and floppy disks store data in concentric rings called tracks. In contrast, audio CDs store data in a continuous spiral starting from the inside of the CD and ending at the outer edge of the CD. Kind of like a vinyl LP in reverse.
The format of the data stored on CDs is also quite different; it’s a continuous stream of raw digital data rather than individual files.
So what are .CDA files that you see on an audio CD?
These files are created by the Windows CD driver. They are simply representations of the CD audio tracks and are not actually on the CD.
Each .CDA file is a kind of a pointer to the location of a specific track on the CD and contains no musical information. CDA files are all 44 bytes in length and each contain track times plus a special Windows shortcut that allows users to access the specific audio tracks…
Watch this video for more details..