Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Biting the Apple: How Do I Back Up Files to a DVD?

How Do I Burn Files to a DVD?

I might be more computer literate than your average bear, but I sometimes look upon new tasks with trepidation. It wasn't so hard to use my CD Burner -- I guess you would call that a CD Writer-ReWriter if you even still remember such things associated with computers. At least it wasn't so hard to use the CD Burner to create disks that I could essentially use as small removable hard drives or like very large "floppy disks".

Just a little Aside:

Now if CD Burners are alien to you, floppy disks will even be more so. Floppy disks were the medium of choice for transporting files from computer to computer long before Internet connection even by dial-up was common. While many offices had networks, smaller ones often had what was referred to as "sneaker-net" which basically meant you copied the files to a "floppy" and carried it to the other computer physically -- "sneaker" referring to your common ordinary running shoe. They started out being flimsy plastic discs permanently contained in slightly less flimsly plastic (vinyl?) envelopes with windows and notches cut into them. The first ones were around 8 inches across. Later they shrunk to 5 1/4 inches square or the 5 1/4" floppies. Tandys, Apples, Commodores, Ataris, and even the original XT's and all the way up to the 386's of the PCs had them. The Classic Mac went away from them as did the Amiga, though the Amiga I know had an available external one. The Macs and Amigas went to the more robust, faster, more powerful, bionic... well not bionic... 3 1/2 inch floppy. A lot of people don't realize that these 3 1/2" disks were still floppy disks because they came encased in a protective hard plastic shell with a sliding window that protected the disk inside. That disk inside was still very much like what was in the 8" and 5 1/4" floppy disks. Eventually they held typically a whole 1.44 Mb of data and that is what everyone got their software to install on their computer on. Windows 3.1 came on floppy disks for instance.

That worked well until I tried to take disks I created to other people's computers only to discover they didn't work as the system I was using was "proprietary" -- meaning does not play well with others -- and this was an issue. It was possible for me to create disks nearly anyone else could use, but it took more learning to do and for some reason I just never made many disks other than necessary backups.

The CD's were also limited to around 700MB and while at one time that was "HUGE", huge has a tendency to shrink very quickly in the computer world.

Well, one of the reasons I was upgrading to a newer system was to be able to work with DVDs. DVDs could hold more than the 700 MB that the CDs could. I am not sure how much the original DVD recordable media could hold, but the current DVD-R discs can now hold 4.7GB of Data. Considering that 700MB is not even 3/4 of 1GB, that is a large jump in size. I discovered actually that DVD players came way down in price and started saving for that. I wasn't sure how my cobbled together system -- I don't think it really has a "Powered by Frankenstein" sticker on it -- would handle a DVD player or Writer. But I realized when saving my birthday and Christmas money that I might consider saving for an actual new computer... That is how I got the cobbled together desktop computer in the first place really. My income did improve and rather than the low end notebook computer I was aiming for I realized I could aim for an Apple notebook. So I did.

The bottom of the end of the 13" MacBooks still had the CD Writer DVD Player combo -- I think that was called the Super Drive? -- and I wanted to be able to back things up in larger chunks than 700MB. Currently people buy multi-GB memory cards and card readers for some sorts of storage or memory sticks of multiple GB size. GB is Gigabyte or a thousand million bytes using binary numbers which means the actual numbers come out weird. MB is Megabyte or million bytes and KB is Kilobyte or thousand bytes.

So I got the middle of the line MacBook which I am fairly pleased with still after 7 months.

Getting back to backing up files to a DVD. Now I still don't know all the ins and outs, but one very simple way is to create a folder and give it the name you want the DVD to eventually have. Then copy all the files you want to go onto the DVD onto that folder. If you had already opened an Info window on that folder you could watch as the file size increased. I don't think you want to go much over 4.3GB though I am not 100% sure on the exact value. DVD recording material is not very expensive so I think that perhaps organization is more important than ramming every last byte you can onto the disc. Also I am not sure what happens if you go over. Also this is for DVD-R discs. I think DVD+R disks are the same and am not sure that there are other sizes or not?

Once you have the files in that folder you created and you have named and renamed them to your satisfaction and I figure if you have an obsessive nature you might want to sort the folders the way you want -- not sure it makes a difference -- then place a blank DVD into the drive. The Mac will spin up the drive and look to see what sort of disc it is. When it discovers that it is recordable and blank it will ask you what you want to do. In this case I click on "Ignore". There are other ways to do things, but this is how "I" am doing things at the moment and not an all inclusive manual. Once you have done that, Open up the folder you have created with the name you want on the DVD. It now has all the files you want to put on the DVD as well. If you have this folder open and it is the active folder, the "Finder" menu will be at the top of the screen. Click on "File" and when the menu drops down, towards the bottom will be a choice: Burn "DVDTitle" to disc

"DVDTitle" of course will be the title you gave to the folder you want to turn into a DVD. Conversely the computer is telling you that it is preparing to turn "DVDTitle" into a DVD. I left things as they were, It selected 8x for speed though I think my discs are rated for 16x. I think that is the maximum speed for the burner in the notebook. I clicked okay and the computer started creating my DVD. There was a progress indicator which showed how much had been done so far. Once the DVD had been written onto the DVD it then verified the data went on okay... I am not sure what would happen if it didn't -- would it be able to correct the error or just say "Sorry we have to try again, please insert another disc."

Simple -- the next thing I did was to eject the disc and use my permanent marker to label the disk. I do that right away now... I don't know how many of those darned floppy disks I have without labels...

~ Darrell


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1 comment:

Darrell Wade said...

BTW Making a CD was just as easy as making a DVD and it is readable by Windows PC as well as by Apple Mac.