Dennis from Racine, WI writes:
I have many program disks/CDs. Is there a way to copy them to a hard drive and have them archived there?
Backing up your program disks is a very smart idea, especially since manufacturers will require you to pay for another CD if you happen to lose or break your copy. There is a very simple solution for backing up CDs and DVDs; it’s called an ISO file. An ISO file is an exact image of a CD or DVD which can be used to make an exact duplicate later.
There are many different ISO burning programs out there, but for the purposes of this article, I’ll speak about CDBurnerXP which includes the ability to make ISO files. You can download CDBurnerXP free by clicking here. Once you’ve completed the installation of CDBurnerXP and launched the program, the main program interface will appear. Click on Copy or grab a disc and press OK.
From the Copy Disc interface start by making sure your CD-DVD drive is selected from the Device drop-down menu. If you only have one CD/DVD it will be selected by default. Click on the radial selector next to Hard Disk as the target for your copy and then click the three periods next to the File Name to select where you want to save the file. Name the file something specific to your disc and press OK. The file location will then appear in the File name box. Make sure the File type is selected as ISO (Single Track) and press Copy disc to begin the creating the ISO file.
Once the process is complete, you will see an ISO file equal to the size of the used space on the disc in the directory you selected. Should you need to make a copy of this disc later, you can use the Burn ISO Image option from the main menu to burn your ISO file to a blank CD or DVD.
In the Burn ISO Image interface, click on Browse and then select the ISO file you saved. Press OK. The path to the file should now appear next to the Browse button. Verify your CD/DVD drive is selected under the target device and a blank CD or DVD is inserted. The CD or DVD must be at least the size of the ISO file, so if you created the ISO from a DVD you must use a blank DVD not a CD. Click on Burn disc to burn the disc.
Windows 7 and Windows 8 include native support for burning ISO files to disc, and while it works well I prefer CDBurnerXP for a one stop solution to all your CD creation needs.
P.S. Want a really neat trick? With Windows 8 or third party software such as Demon Tools, you can mount an ISO file as a virtual CD/DVD drive. With the right software, when you right click on an ISO file and choose Mount ,a new CD/DVD drive will appear with the contents of the ISO file loaded. This is great for people who do not have a CD/DVD drive but still need to install programs from an ISO file. You can read more about daemon tools by clicking here.