Monday, December 27, 2010

Creating a Disk Image of Your iLife '11 DVD

Let me begin with a disclaimer. I do not endorse or approve of software piracy. However, I do believe that the legal owner of a software title should be entitled and able to make an archival copy of the original software media for safe-keeping.

After being inconvenienced and financially disadvantaged more than once after misplacing or damaging my original application installation disks, I have made it standard practice to create a copy of any software title that I purchase; especially the expensive ones. These copies are stored in a fire-proof location, separate from the original disks, just in case they are needed at a later date for a fresh installation.

Roxio's Toast has been my go-to application for creating back-up copies. It has never failed to provide an accurate copy of an original application CD or DVD. That is, until now.

I recently acquired the latest version of iLife from Apple. The updates to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand installed without issue and brought many new features that make using our Apple computers even more enjoyable. The problem I encountered was when I tried to create my back-up copy of the iLife '11 DVD. Toast gave a valiant effort, and spun the DVD for quite some time, but it eventually returned error codes and messages that suggested the disk was copy-protected. The same result was obtained whether I tried to duplicate the DVD, or create a disk image. Bummer.

The obvious fall-back was to use the capable, but sometimes intimidating, Mac OS X Disk Utility. The Disk Utility app offers several powerful features for managing your Mac's disk drives; an indispensable utility application! It's also entirely capable of making your computer completely unusable if you are not careful. Hence, the "intimidating" description.

After opening Disk Utility with the iLife '11 DVD in the optical drive, I selected the DVD from the list of mounted disks in the column to the left. Then from the Disk Utility menu, I selected File->New->Disk Image from "iLife '11 Install DVD." Again, error codes and messages that suggested the disk was copy-protected. How could I get around this "feature" from Apple?

Back to the Disk Utility menu, but this time I selected File->New->Disk Image from Folder, and selected the iLife '11 Install DVD as if it were a folder. I chose an image name that's meaningful; usually the default DVD title. I also use the "Read-Only" Image Format to prevent accidental changes to the copy. A compressed format is also read-only, but it takes more time to create and to open the final image. After hitting the Save button, I was happy to watch Disk Utility successfully create a copy of the iLife '11 Install DVD.

With a good disk image having been created, I was able to burn the file to a DVD for safe-keeping. Only time will tell if Apple will allow iLife '12 (or other software titles) to be copied in this way, but for now I am happy. I've got my archived copy of iLife '11 safely put away.