Archiving Installation CDs and DVDs

12 Jan, 2010 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Maintaining backups in case of disaster is a chore, albeit an essential one. Make it easier by storing just the files, not the disks themselves.

I recently experienced a machine crash that made me very glad I had the backup disks I needed to recover. After some thought, however, I've decided that I've been spending way too much time and effort keeping track of disks when I could have digitally archived those backup files. I'd like to share my method of archiving disks with you, in the hopes that you too can clean house and manage all your installation disks this way.

Step 1: Locate the original disk (CD or DVD) and the required product installation key information provided with it.

Step 2: Place disk in drive.

Step 3: Use your CD writing software (I use Roxio CD Creator because it came preinstalled on my machine, but you can use whatever you like) and find the Save/Create Image task similar to what I've shown below.

Step 4: Save the disk to an ISO-formatted image and make the product key part of the name, so you'll never have to track that information down again. Place all your ISO-formatted disk images in a single directory on a network volume, and you're good to go.

Step 5: If disaster ever strikes and you need the disk image, all you have to do is burn the image file to a CD or DVD (as shown below) and you'll be all set. No more disk wallets, no more tracking product keys — nice!

I'm so happy with this approach that I may never store original disks again.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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Re: Archiving Installation CDs and DVDs
by: andrew4096
January 15, 2010 - 5:16pm
You may not want to discard those CDs and DVDs so quickly. Hard drives these days have warranties of 3-5 years, and I regularly read reports of them crashing in considerably less than a year, even those from well-known manufacturers. Many of us don't run RAID-5 systems and have a regular backup method, so a single-drive failure can be disastrous. I recall reading a forum post a few years ago from a fellow who had converted all his music CDs to MP3 files, then realized belatedly that the compressed MP3 files didn't sound as good as the original CDs. Too bad! Moreover, some commercial software can only be installed from the original CD or DVD due to various copy protection schemes. That ISO image may look like it's OK when you save it to your hard drive, but you may be shocked that a disc reproduced from it refuses to install.
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