This article was first published on 2008-11-21. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.
It’s one of those things you don’t think about until you need it. And then you wish you thought about it and acted before now. I’m talking about making backup copies of your DVDs.
Now don’t get too excited. I’m not talking about movie DVDs. Just you regular software DVDs that come in a box. For instance, I can’t for the life of me find my iLife ’08 Install DVD. My old laptop has been wiped clean and I need to reinstall the software and it’s not on my shelf anymore. Grrrr…!
I also need to reinstall Leopard so that reminds me that I probably should make a backup copy of that DVD before something happens to it. You would think on the Mac it would be a quick 2 step process that is obvious to all but it’s not. It’s not hard, just not obvious either. Let’s go through the steps. It’s pretty easy.
First of all, make sure you have a DVD burning drive or what Apple calls a SuperDrive. The Combo drive won’t burn DVDs at all. Normally these are found on the low end MacBooks. These days all current Macs (except the low end Mini) have SuperDrives, but an older Mac might not.
So start by putting in your DVD to copy and open Disk Utility from your Utilities folder. You’ll see the DVD show up in the list of drives to the left. Select it and go to the File menu and choose File > New > “Disk Image from [name of disc].” Give the disk a name (probably what it’s called originally). Next you’ll be prompted to save it in a location.
At this point Disk Utility takes quite a while creating a disk image.
A disk image is a file that contains other files and folders that you can mount on your desktop like a hard disk. Basically it’s a software created drive. If you download software online that you install on your Mac, you usually download disk images to start the process. Another way to think about them is that they are the things that get left behind after downloading and installing software and you finally figure out you need to "eject" them to get rid of them.
After Disk Utility is done creating the image, eject the original DVD. Next look in that list of drives to the left and select your new disk image. Then go to the Image menu and select "Burn…" When the little popup dialog box appears, insert a blank DVD and then click Burn. Again it will take a while to actually burn the disk, so you can move on to other things and check back later for the finsihed product.
You may want to keep that disk image around to make more copies. You can make as many duplicates as you like.
Now this process only works for disks that aren’t copy protected. I wish I could easily make backups of my Wii disks as my kids thrash the ones we have. Smart boys and girls make backups of everything valuable. You never know when you’ll need it.
Got any tips of your own to share? I know there are other apps like SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner that make backups. Tell us in the Comments section below!