File backup (Students) - Mac CD or DVD Backup

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Before trying to backup any data, you should find out where and what size your files are.

Preparing your Workspace & Finding Your Files for Backup

Mac Finder Window
In the Mac operating system, folders have already been created for simpler organization.

Open a Finder Window to show the contents that you want to back up. On your WSU Mac you will find all your important files in your Home Directory. The Finder Icon looks like a little house and is named with your User Logon ID. Inside your Home Directory are the following folders:

  • Documents-all of your files are likely there
  • Downloads
  • Pictures-all your pictures should be there
  • Music-all your music (iTunes and more) should be there
  • Sites-any web sites you created will be there
  • Desktop-anything on your desktop is there
  • Library
  • Applications
  • Public

The files you will want to backup will be inside of the folders shown in BOLD. You will not need to backup anything else.

Use the procedures described below for Burn Folder or Burning to an Individual Disk.

NOTE: You can position the two Finder Windows to be side by side for dragging, but only one Finder Window can be active or in-front at a time.


Determining File Size

Get Info Window
Because the size of the DVD or CD disk is limited you need to know how much you are copying to it.

You can find the size of a single file in the Finder with the selection of "Details". File size will be shown in one of the columns.

You can find the size of a folder with the "Get Info" command: just highlight the folder and use COMMAND-I or the Finder Menu A new window will appear showing the size of the files in the selected folder (or folders, if multiple are highlighted). The number of files is not important; the size of those files combined is what will determine how much free space is needed.

NOTE: in the example shown the total SIZE of the files in this Music Folder is more than 8.39 gigs; it will require at least 2 normal DVD's or up to 12 CD's to fully copy it.

Media Information

After you've determined the size of your files, you can decide whether to use CDs or DVDs to back up. The following sizes can used on your Mac Superdrive:

  • DVD-R DL (dual layer)---These discs hold about 8.5 GB of information. You can burn files on these disks only once; they are not reusable.
  • CD-R---These discs hold about 700 MB of information. You can burn files on these disks only once; they are not reusable.
  • CD-RW---These discs also hold about 700 MB of information. CD-RW discs are reusable: you can burn files on them, erase them, and then burn again.

Creating and Using A Burn Folder for Backup

You can create a burn folder to collect files you want to burn onto a CD or DVD.

Burn folders are especially handy for burning several copies of a folder, or for regularly backing up a set of files by burning them to discs.

Burn folders also will automatically prompt you to use multiple CD's or DVD's for the files/folders you have selected, if more than one is required.

To create and use a burn folder:

  1. Click the desktop (the background area of your screen) if you want to keep the burn folder on the desktop; otherwise, open the window where you want to keep the burn folder.
  2. Choose FILE --> NEW BURN FOLDER, and type a name for the folder or keep default name, "Burn Folder".
  3. Drag to the burn folder the items you want to burn to a disc.
NOTE: The Finder places aliases to the items in the burn folder; the originals are not moved.

Mac Burn Symbol.pngWhen you’re ready to burn the folder’s contents to a disc, double-click the burn folder and click Burn.

Insert a blank disc into your computer’s optical drive, or into an optical drive connected to your computer, and follow the instructions.

The original files that the aliases point to are burned to the disc. In addition, if any folder in the burn folder contains aliases, the original files for those aliases are burned to the disc as well.

If the Finder cannot find the original file for an alias, it asks whether to cancel burning or to continue without that item. If you cancel, the disc remains empty.

If a burn folder is in the sidebar of a Finder window, you can quickly burn its contents to a disc by clicking the burn icon beside it.

Burning an Individual DVD/CD Disk

The Finder can burn files to a CD or DVD. You can then use that disc as a backup, send it to friends, or copy those files to another computer. Mac OS X burns discs that can also be used on Windows computers and other types of computers. The disc uses an HFS Plus/ISO 9660 hybrid format with these file systems: HFS+, ISO-9660 with Rock Ridge, and Joliet with Rock Ridge.

After you drag items to the disc, the Finder places aliases to them in the disc’s window. When you burn the disc, the original files that the aliases point to are burned to the disc. In addition, if any folder in the burn folder contains aliases, the original files for those aliases are burned to the disc as well.

To burn an individual CD or DVD:

  1. MacBackup3.jpg
    Insert a blank disc into the optical drive. If you see a dialog, you can choose an action from the pop-up menu and select “Make this action the default” if you want the same thing to happen every time you insert a blank disc.
  2. The disc appears on your desktop.
  3. Double-click the disc to open it, and drag the files and folders you want on it to its window.
  4. The Finder places aliases to the files in the disc’s window. The original files are not moved or deleted.
  5. Arrange and rename the files. When burning the disc, the Finder gives the items on the disc the same names and locations as the aliases in the disc window. After the disc is burned, you cannot change them.
  6. Choose File > Burn Disc, and follow the instructions.

Once the disk is finished writing, it will eject itself from your Mac. Always slide the disk back in to verify your files were backed up properly. Once you put the disk back in, open Finder and click on the disk you just burned. If your backed up data is now shown in the Finder window, your files have been saved correctly!

The files that the aliases point to are burned to the disc. In addition, if any folder you copied contains aliases, the original files for those aliases are burned to the disc as well.

If the Finder can’t find the original file for an alias, it asks whether to cancel burning or to continue without that item. If you cancel, the disc remains empty.

If you eject the disc without burning it, the Finder creates a burn folder with the items you copied to the disc, and places that folder on your desktop.

To burn a disc that appears in the sidebar, click the burn icon that appears next to it. You can also hold down the Control key as you click any disc and choose Burn Disc from the shortcut menu.

NOTE: You can also burn discs using applications such as Disk Utility, iTunes, iPhoto, or iDVD. iTunes will specifically make a CD that is playable in a CD player or as MP3 files. iPhoto will make copies of your pictures with thumbnails and any indexing or comments you have created for them.


Duplicating a DVD

Apple's Instructions

Other Resources

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