CD or DVD for Backing up and Copying data, pictures, etc...

CD or DVD for Backing up and Copying data, pictures, etc...

Post by RGFu » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 14:57:00

I have some major copies to make of all my photo and mail files ..... My
question is can I do the job on CD or DVD disks ? And what is the
difference in the procedure ?

Thank you,


CD or DVD for Backing up and Copying data, pictures, etc...

Post by Paul » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 17:42:28

an wrote:

DVD can hold more data than CD. CD burning may be a built-in feature
of the OS. But more normally, people use a separate burning program,
as there are more options available that way.

One thing you should be aware of, is CDs and DVDs are inherently unreliable.
Some people lose their data, soon after preparing their optical media.
And there is nothing worse, than coming back here and asking "how
do you recover data from a bad DVD" :-) That implies you didn't have
a backup stored somewhere. It helps to have two copies of everything,
ideally on different storage device types.

A typical procedure would be -

1) Buy a CD or DVD burner. If you purchase one with bundled burning
software, so much the better. My CD burner, came with an old copy of Nero.
Due to the low price of drives now, you're not likely to get a
freebie, but it pays to shop around anyway. There might also be
free burning software, such as DeepBurner.

2) Look on the Internet, for information on firmware updates for the
drive. Don't waste any time on burning, until the firmware is up to
date. Many drives are released with immature firmware, and later
firmware versions handle a wider range of media tags. In the past,
some firmware updates were a bit tricky, but the industry is better
at it now.

3) Once the firmware is upgraded, the burner software is installed,
comes the "dial-in process". Buy samples of media, like a three-pack
sample of a couple different brands. To get some idea of what to
buy, look at drive reviews on cdfreaks or cdrinfo or similar sites.
They burn different brands of discs, and show their results. With
the low price of drives, you'll spend more money on media samples,
than on the drive itself.

4) For each sample burned, run an error scan. Nero has a tool for
scanning the burned disk, and looking for errors. I've had discs
that were so bad, that they jammed up the drive, when you attempted
to read more than half the disc. You never get zero errors on a
disc, and because the drive has error correction on read, there is
a tolerance to small numbers of background errors (none of your data
is lost). But if the graph of errors heads into the thousands,
generally the disc is crap. The purpose of scanning, is to identify
a disc that is already compromised. It might only be a matter of months,
before a disc with thousands of errors, is a coaster. If the whole
sample pack is bad, then you know the drive doesn't know how to burn
them, or they are really dreadful.

5) Once you identify a brand that is consistent on several burns, you
might consider buying a spindle for serious work. Also, during the
"dial-in", you may notice that burning at a certain speed is necessary.
The CDs I've got currently, are only reliably burned at 4X, and scan
clean when done that way. They give errors if I burn them near their
"rated" speed. Note that you should match the "burn range" on the
media packaging, to the speed of your burner.

6) After all this effort, you can still get a surprise. Some media will
fail in a matter of months, with "rot".

To cover the inherent unreliability of all storage media, if you have
multiple copies, there is less chance of losing anything. So, you
can prepare your CD or DVD, but leave the source mat

CD or DVD for Backing up and Copying data, pictures, etc...

Post by Big_A » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 21:12:07

I agree with Paul.

Nero has a 'verify data after burn' setting that allows you to verify
what you burned of course. But I find cdcheck
It just tries reading every byte of data on the CD/DVD. Great for
checking those questionable CDs.

I'll just emphasize that I have found a lot of reference to the 'burn
slower is better' concept. If its a 52X CD, burn at 24x, maybe not 4x
but surely not at 52x. Also not all media works at the rated speed. I
know it should and others will probably yipe at me, but I've bought lots
of media and on a 48x burner, you can't get 48x out of the cd always.
And Visa versa, some 24X cd's will burn at 48x. That also scares me.

As paul said, play a bit. Don't trust it, especially for long term.

I've got 40+ years of photos on my main HD, a USB HD, and DVD's.

CD or DVD for Backing up and Copying data, pictures, etc...

Post by Lil' Dav » Tue, 08 Jul 2008 13:15:30

You can copy any file to CD/DVD as long as they are not open system files
per se.

XP does this natively in ISO 9660 format for standard writable CD media. XP
cannot write data to DVD natively. 3rd party software is required.

You said you had copies. Where are the originals? Where are the copies?
(media type)

Speculation on a product or material that is
an obvious need, is not speculation per se
as there is no risk to the speculator.
Common were those selling food and other
supplies in the gold rush days.
In this case, its oil and its everyone who
bites the bullet. And most everyone has no gold
to be made, just business as usual.

CD or DVD for Backing up and Copying data, pictures, etc...

Post by ggul » Tue, 08 Jul 2008 22:10:07

Hi Dan,
The other guys have given some nicely detailed and technical replies. But
let me ask some meta-questions that might help you think what you want to do

0) You didn't mention what kind of computer you're using and what it already
has in the way of a DVD/CD burner (drive) and software.

1) What is the purpose of these "major copies"? Long term archival (for
your grandchildren)? Shorter term backups (in case youre laptop gets
stolen)? To send to Uncle Elmo? (and what do you mean by "major"? "a

2) How much space do the files take on your hard drive? Copying 100 GB or
500 GB of files to CDs would be a pain in the neck, at least.

3) How crucial is it that you always have copies of the files? Will the
IRS audit you, the Mafia break your legs, and your business go under? Or
will you just have to call your friends and contacts for their email addies
and never again see that great picture of Elmo snorting beer at the family
picnic? There's no such thing as absolute security, but if the consequences
are serious enough there are many levels of increasing security and effort,
such as multiple copies on different media, off-site storage, re-copying and
verifying (and possibly migrating to a different file format and/or medium)
on a schedule, etc.

4) Remember, for the photos at least, the best backup may be good qualilty
prints on paper. And whether paper or digital, a great way to "backup" is
to send copies .. on CD/DVD, via email, uploaded to a sharing site, whatever
... to friends and family, if they'd be interested.