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CD-Burning Question (Massive Backup?)

This is slightly off-topic, I guess, but it's probably something that most software developers have faced from time to time, so I'm posting it anyway.

I want to back up several hundred GB of junk from my hard drive onto CDRs. Which CD-burning software will make this easiest?

Here's the feature I'm looking for: I want something that will allow me to drag the entire load of files into the CD-burning software. Now, instead of crapping out with a fatalistic error message informing me that this data can't fit on a single CD, I want it to be smart enough to BURN THIS LOAD OF FILES ONTO AS MANY DISCS AS IS NECESSARY.  You know, like... fill up the first disc, eject it, tell me to insert the second disk, etc...

It's amazing how poorly-designed most CD-burning software is. 

John Rose
Saturday, January 3, 2004

Suggestion: Use WinZip to create a huge zip file that is split into CDROM size chunks.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

I use WinRAR ( to make backups.

I have a batch file that archives all my stuff (including work files, documents, e-mail, etc) using 700 MB volumes.

After everything is archived, I burn the archives to CDs.

The advantage of WinRAR is that the archive can contain recovery info - even if the archive is a little damaged, WinRAR can still extract all files correctly!

The amount of recovery info that is added can be controlled from the command line.

I like the fact that all of the settings can be controlled from the command line.

You also get a great compression rate (compresses a lot more than WinZip)

Also, WinRAR is a widely used archiver, and it is known that it doesn't contain major bugs. The only bugs ever found in non-beta versions are very minor bugs.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Or get a 200G hard drive and copy to it.

Tom Hathaway
Saturday, January 3, 2004

I forgot some things!

WinRAR is a complete solution - it also decompresses and can compress to ZIP.

Also, it decompresses GZ, TAR, ISO, etc.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Thanks for the responses.  The WinZip/WinRAR suggestions are good for a lot of scenarios, but not quite what I'm looking for.  Let me clarify a bit more...  I'm backing up my media files from my hard drive- mostly mp3's and videos.

I'd like something that will simply copy the files onto the CDs for me, ~700MB at a time.  I'd like the files on the CD's to be in an easily-usable format so I can pop them into another computer later and watch the movie, or listen to the music, etc.

Since they're media files, compression won't be effective and will just make the files more of a hassle to retrieve later.... (Although you guys were sensible to suggest compression in the first place, since I didn't mention that they were media files)

John Rose
Saturday, January 3, 2004

WinZip/WinRar do break the files up for you and restore them later even if you don't need compression it's still a good solution.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Wellllll I don't want the files compressed because I (ideally) don't want to have to decompress them, worry about having all discs of the backup set present, etc.

I'd like to be able to just pop a disc of videos into my "media" computer that's hooked up to the TV, or pop a disc of mp3's into my portable mp3 player or my mp3 car stereo...  :-)

John Rose
Saturday, January 3, 2004

...I realize this sacrifices some efficiency in storage space (not every disc will be totally filled) in favor of ease-of-use

John Rose
Saturday, January 3, 2004

Back in the late 80's or early 90's there was a program called "fill" that I used all the time to copy files from hard drive to floppies.  You would just tell it:

fill c:\somefiles\*.* a:\

and based on file sizes it would copy the files so that you got as many files as possible onto each floppy.

When the disk was full, the program would stop and prompt you to insert a new disk, and continue until all files has been copied.

I find it absolutely amazing that nobody has created a similar program for copying files onto a CD.

Programmers are so stupid
Saturday, January 3, 2004

"I find it absolutely amazing that nobody has created a similar program for copying files onto a CD."

I agree!  Seems like basic functionality, to me...

I downloaded the demo of the latest version of Nero Burning ROM, and it has a nifty backup feature that uses as many blank CD's as necessary.

But it wants to split files between discs.  I don't want any files split up; I just want as many complete files as possible on each disc.

My friend's got a copy of Roxio's latest monstrosity; he's sending that to me now...

John Rose
Saturday, January 3, 2004

I have no friends :(

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Fill.exe is still available. You might want to check with its author how you could write a batch file to do what you'd like to do (maybe connecting fill.exe to a basic CLI CD burner)

Frederic Faure
Saturday, January 3, 2004

I did something just like this recently except on to DVD-R's. I used a combination of a command line app I wrote and the mkisofs utility from the Open Source CD-Record package.

The end result was a bunch of batch files that I could run in turn to create .ISO images. Then, I used Easy CD Creator to burn the ISOs.

Worked very well. If Fill.EXE doesn't work out, send me e-mail and I'll cobble the stuff together for you.

Mark Smith
Saturday, January 3, 2004

John, a program that does exactly what you want is BurnQuick, located at

I hope this helps you.

Excerpt from the FAQ located at :

Q: Can BurnQuick let me burn to multiple disks? For example: Can I fill one disk and have BurnQuick automatically tell me to insert another disk to continue burning?

A: Yes. Starting with version 4.0, BurnQuick will allow you to select a set of files or folders that is larger than will fit on a single disc and it will burn those files to as many discs as are required.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Get an external hard drive(s), or one of those removable hard drive kits.  The cost of 1000 CDs and the time spent to burn them will dwarf the cost of the hard drives.

T. Norman
Saturday, January 3, 2004

"My friend's got a copy of Roxio's latest monstrosity; he's sending that to me now..."

This can not possibly be the same John Rose speaking that is concerned in other threads about the effect of open source software on programmers careers.

Tony Chang
Saturday, January 3, 2004

No, it's not the same John.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Well, if you've got a copy of Easy CD Creator, you've got a copy of DirectCD. This makes recordable CD's look like a normal writable disk. You could use DirectCD disks and a batch file or whatnot.

The disks are normally only readable on a machine with DirectCD installed, but you can go through and "close" the CD so that anybody can read them.

Chris Tavares
Saturday, January 3, 2004

"This can not possibly be the same John Rose speaking that is concerned in other threads about the effect of open source software on programmers careers."
Wow, there's another John Rose on here?  Haha.... wow.  Or maybe there's just another John.  I'm definitely not anti-Open Source, that's for sure. 

I'm not going to get into debates about Open Source and/or piracy here, but the reason I needed my friend to send me a copy of EZ CD Creator is because they didn't appear to have a legal evaluation version available for download on their site.  If they had, I would haven't gladly downloaded it, like I did minutes earlier with Nero's demo version...

Anyway, Nero and EZ CD Creator both allow you to span multiple disks, but they SPLIT UP some of the files (so that half of file ABC will be on Disc 1 and the other half will be on Disc 2) which is not what I want at all for a variety of reasons (although it would definitely be ideal in some cases).

John Rose
Saturday, January 3, 2004

BurnQuick sounds like it's exactly what I need- but I downloaded the demo and it tells me my CD burner isn't supported.

I have a generic CD drive, it just shows up as "ATAPI CD-RW 52x" in Device Manager; not sure who makes it... never had a compatibility problem until now.  Grrr.  The search continues.  Thanks for the feedback so far.  :)

John Rose
Saturday, January 3, 2004

Nero contains Nero InCD.

Nero InCD allows you to write to CDs exactly like writing to hard-disks.

Also: You can download InCD separately (search the Nero site a bit) and it never expires!

Also check out the "Burn to the brim" program, available at

They claim that:

"Burn To The Brim is a utility which selects the group of files or directories (documents, mp3 files, whatever you like to burn) which optimally fills a cdr or other medium (or multiple CDRs/media)."

Saturday, January 3, 2004

I have just tested "Burn to the brim", as I need such an utility myself.

It appears to work well - just make sure to read the docs.

Sunday, January 4, 2004

CD/RW's are not the answer; they take ages (like half-an-hour each)  to format, and you are down to 535MB. so forget the suggestion of Direct CD.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 4, 2004

I think the best idea is T.Norman "Get an external hard drive(s), or one of those removable hard drive kits.  The cost of 1000 CDs and the time spent to burn them will dwarf the cost of the hard drives. "

waiting CDR times is frustrating for backup purpouses.

I have add an second 80GB IDE drive and replicates (backup) the changed files every day at 23:00 automatically, using a nice and free vb program from KarenWare:

While this program runs I'm doing other nice things, not waiting to change another CD.

Sure, this backup scheme can have some troubles is all the pc is burn or stolen, but you can do other replicator tasks at 01:15 AM to other PC in your network or other external drive.

Sunday, January 4, 2004

The hard drive suggestions, while ideal for some (many?  most?) backup scenarios, are really utterly missing the point for *this* scenario.

MX, thanks for the Burn to the Brim suggestion, that's a neat utility.

John Rose
Sunday, January 4, 2004

Ghost will do it and the majority of its competitors, some are picky about drives.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, January 4, 2004

Talk to us again in 2006 after you've finally finished burning those 1000+ CDs, verifying them for correctness, and reburning the ones that didn't burn properly the first time.

T. Norman
Sunday, January 4, 2004

Ghosting data files, let alone music files, is a really bad idea. You just want to play or copy a few files, not have to reinstall a whole disk with 100GB of data to get at one. And if any one of the Ghost disks is bad then the clone doesn't work.

Of the mainstream ideas Winzip is the best, particularly as you can put the spanning information on each disk, so that if one in the set goes bad it doesn't affect your access to the rest. And XP reads Zip files natively I think.

However the specialized CD burner programs recommended are the best ideas.

After all Simon, the guy is talking about putting music on CD's. Not an entirely new concept.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 4, 2004

T. Norman, let me know in 2006 when my CAR STEREO SUPPORTS A HARD DRIVE.

Thanks.  :-)

(I know you listen to your clients/bosses better than you listen to me, because otherwise there's no way you could afford electricity or a computer with which to completely ignore the problem requirements)

John Rose
Sunday, January 4, 2004

"T. Norman, let me know in 2006 when my CAR STEREO SUPPORTS A HARD DRIVE."

Huh? You've had that for a couple of years now. Google for "Kenwood Music Keg". Removable hard drive that hooks up to your PC via USB. Mount it in the car and go.

There's even specialized versions for certain botique car brands (I can get one that works with the changer interface in my Audi, and keep the same head-unit).

Brad Wilson (
Sunday, January 4, 2004

Perhaps I should have capitalized the word "my" in that sentence, instead.  :D

John Rose
Sunday, January 4, 2004

>verifying them for correctness
Most CD writing software does his automatically after the burn is finished.

>reburning the ones that didn't burn properly the first time
Does this really happen to you?  If so you're either:
- using a shitty-quality CD writer
- using shitty-quality blanks
- burning at too high of a speed
- running intensive background tasks while burning
- all of the above

My CDs Burn Perfectly
Sunday, January 4, 2004

Ah, well the original question talked about back up, not playing or using files from the CD, hence Ghost.

Simon Lucy
Monday, January 5, 2004


A few dozen random CD's with completely random media (because my cd burning program chose which ended up in which CD's) doesn't sound like the ideal solution to me. Also I guess you'd want to catalogue these things so you know that AHA's Take On Me was located on CD 586.

I would've recommended Burn to the Brim but someone beat me to it.

How much of this media is actually MP3's? Maybe an iPod / Archos / Music Keg would serve you well.

The rest, get a spare hard drive for. If you're really paranoid, get a 2nd computer somewhere, like your best friend's house, and hook it up to the internet.

Lastly, I'd like to mention DVD burners... They've come down in price to around $125, and DVD-R/+R's are around a dollar a piece now, probably cheaper if you're willing to accept lower quality. Considering each one is about 5 - 6 CD's worth of data, it might be worth it for you, if for nothing else, conserving shelf space.
Monday, January 5, 2004

Simon, Ghost is a lousy data back up medium. It's a mighratiion and deployment tool.

Stephen Jones
Monday, January 5, 2004

Ximeta NetDisk 160.0GB External USB 2.0 Network Hard Drive Model: NDU10-160

This compact, portable drive connects directly to a network or a PC, letting you easily store and share data.

Up to 160.0GB maximum storage capacity

High-speed USB 2.0 interface for PC (backward compatible with USB 1.1)

Fast Ethernet connectivity to link directly to a wired network or wireless router; data is always available to the network

@Best Buy for $200

Monday, January 5, 2004

For critical data its best to have a diversity of storage options used together.

1: short term (realtime)storage/redundancy you would use a RAID configuration. (Most businesses/ servers making way to the home use though)

2: Instant Recovery (OS recovery ONLY) is to use a product that i use in my server called the "MagicCard" ( ) its not cheep @ ~$300 CAD but alows you to recover an axed "primary/master" drive instantly on a re-boot, even after a dos "format c:" command !

3: To keep backups of all the dayly work (every ~5-10 min) you would have an off site FTP (storage clustering) for back-up. (Typical for Medium/Large businesses)

4: For off site dayly storage you would have a removable HDD because its fast and convienent for mishaps.
(typical for medium/large businesses and power users)

5: The for archival purpose you would have your tape/cd/dvd storage. (typical for home/small office)

With all of these options used together your data is safe.
The software you have mentioned to create and burn works fine.  Using using a compression program like "winace" with the "recovery record" option (NOTE: be sure to disable "Make Solid archive" option as this will slow down compression of large files ALOT and also makes handling and recovering damaged files harder, the BIG problem with this option is that in Solid archives all files stored "behind" the first corrupt file will be lost as well!) is a good archival procedure and always make 2 copys preferably on different cd/dvd medium. I know alot of this seams over kill but if you have a website / business / clients or just alot of valuable data this can save you the heartache of trying to use file recovery software like "Restoration" (works good and its FREE!) to recover the file if it hasn't been left un-noticed to long and over writen by windows.

The Archival problem, have you ever wanted to find just a file on a multiple gig backup ? not to fun is it. soloution is to use a few handy programs one is DIR2HTML ( ) (FREE program). Not enough power for you then you can shell out a few bucks and get a search engine builder like "Search Engine Builder Professional V1.65" $99 ( ) this will index all the content within your text, html, pdf files. then you can find a file and know what CD/DVD its on and were at on the CD/DVD that it is located.

This is the backup strategies that i use on my small server. hope that these can be of some help/guidance to you.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

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