Note: This tip originally ran in our Kibbles & Bytes newsletter as Kibbles & Bytes Mac Treat #5.
OS 10.4’s Disk Utility makes it easy to make an exact copy of a CD or DVD that can be stored on a hard drive as a disk image, or burned to a CD or DVD for future use. First, insert the CD or DVD you want to backup into your Mac. Next, drag the icon of the CD or DVD to the Disc Utility application (which is usually stored in the Applications Folder > Utilities Folder.) In other words, drag and drop the CD or DVD icon on top of the Disk Utility icon.
Disk Utility will launch, and then it will immediately open a window asking you to name the new disk image, and where to save it. Go ahead and save the image to your desktop.
In the Image Format drop-down menu, choose DVD/CD master. This is especially important if you want to burn a copy of the disk, and have it function as an exact clone of original CD or DVD you hope to backup.
Now click “Save.”
A new disk image will be created on your Desktop, with the extension “.cdr,” It may take a few minutes to create this file.
If you click on the disk image, you’ll see it works just like a CD or DVD. You can store this new disk image on a hard drive. If you want to burn it to CD or DVD, you should again use Disk Utility. Otherwise, you’ll only be burning a copy of the disk image, and not an actual CD or DVD master.
To burn a CD or DVD master, open Disk Utility and look for the disk image of your CD or DVD, on the left side of the window. Usually it’s at the bottom of the list of drives. Now, simply select the image, and then click “Burn.” Follow the directions to burn the disk.
This is a great way to back up expensive software titles and game titles. Many games that require a disk to run will run off of the disk image – great for traveling.