How to do Physical Backup using DVD and CD and Best software

After that little experience of recovering my 4GB Kingston Thumb Drive labeled “STARFIRE” that decided to give me headache on Monday July 15th 2013 and keel over and die as regaled in my fanciful “How to recover Data from your Damaged Thumb Drive or ZIP Archive”, I had gotten a little concerned about the failure of my Backup *.zip Archive. That shouldn’t have happened…and I’m still investigating!

So much so in fact, that after ridding myself of that little bauble and upgrading and gradually recovering my files using the ZIP File Recovery Tool (I’m STILL recovering some Blog Archive files that were de-coherent!! Bummer dude!) I penned an article on freeware to do a Professional Backup in How to Backup you Data using the A List of the Best Free Backup Solutions.

Alas a slight oversight! I mainly covered a Cloud Backup, but overlooked the Physical Backup, assuming the learned reader was more than capable of doing once such using their Computer’s Burner as some of the software listed comes with built in CD and DVD Burning tools. Not to mention heed my advice and just get an External Hard-Drive to store Backups. But you were a tail-ender and merely followed the instructions at the end of the article; you may not realize that a third option is to burn your archive on a CD or DVD.

From my experience in the past with repairing computer and as a Network Administrator myself, CD (Compact Discs) and DVD (Digital Video Discs) are not a favourite of mine. I STRONGLY recommend that you just spend a little under US$199 and use your Scotia VISA Debit or Credit Card and order a decent 1TB SSD (Solid State Drive) Hard-Drive online. But if you’re really up to dealing with the headache of storage of CD and DVD’s after Burning them, then here’s a nice listing of the best CD and DVD Burners to get the job done.

In acknowledgement of the growing power of Apple Mac users (WOOT!), I’ve included a separate listing for CD and DVD burning software for Mac’s in this my first DIY (Do It Yourself) extension:

Windows PC

Apple Mac OS

Using these software is fairly straightforward as you’ll need:

  • Dedicated Non-Networked Standalone PC (Personal Computer) or Laptop with a 64x or faster Writing CD/DVD Burner and at least 2GB DDR3 RAM (Random Access Memory)

  • Packs of DVD-R/CD-R Master CD and DVD’s (usually Gold coloured Writing surface) in the Bigger Jewel Cases encased and sealed in plastic

  • Dedicated Room for Burning CD or DVD Backups i.e. Full Air Conditioned Server Room

  • Disposable Latex Gloves

  • Silica Gel Packs

  • Fireproof Safety Deposit Box

  • Stickers

  • Felt-Tip Permanent Marker

  • Endurance of St. Paul the Apostle

Hint: The Computer used for CD and DVD must be dedicated solely for that purpose only and must NOT be connected to the Internet. This is to prevent Viruses and Malware from being burnt onto the CD and DVD and creating Havoc later.

Hint: In reading CD/DVD burner speeds, the “x” means “times 15kbps”. For a typical CD/DVD Burner say for instance 32x/24x/20x it’s read using the format convention [Read speed]/[Write Speed]/[Re-Write Speed] with Re-write Speed being reserved for Re-Writable CD and DVD’s.

Hint: The Apple Mac is preferred but if you have a PC, you can always install a Linux Distribution i.e. Fedora Linux or Ubuntu Linux. If previously used, format it and reinstall it with new Windows OS or Mac OS.

Hint: When buying the DVD-R/CD-R Master CD and DVD’s, buy them in the Bigger Jewel Cases encased and sealed in plastic; do not buy the thinner Jewel Case even if sealed and encased in plastic. If possible order the DVD-R/CD-R Master CD and DVD’s (usually Gold coloured Writing surface) as these are used for pressing Master Copies for Recording Artiste and thus offer higher fidelity and guaranteed coherence (ability to recover data from saved Archives).

Hint: When Cleaning CD and DVD Drives, best to spend money and get a professional CD/DVD Cleaning Kit from a local PC Store or online and not the ones off the street. Those have been in the Sun too long, denaturing the cleaning fluid and will damage your Burner.

Hint: In holding CD or DVD, always wear Latex Gloves and use your fingers to holds the edges and the mounting hole. Do NOT touch the writing surface; CD and DVD lose their coherence when exposed to free ions in Tap Water or any fluid.

Hint: In Cleaning dirty CD and DVD, do NOT use alcohol. Only used Distilled Water and a Lint Free Cloth and wipe gently in a circular pattern ONLY; alcohol will cause CD and DVD lose their coherence when exposed to free ions in Tap Water or any fluid.

Hint: Do not store CD and DVD’s in Sleeves or Cases. Store them in their original Jewel Cases. These storage apparatus cause the CD and DVD to develop scratches and lose their coherence.

The instructions are as follows:

  1. Develop a schedule for the Manual or Automated Backups as per your needs

  2. Install the CD and DVD Burning Software, whichever is to your liking on a Dedicated Computer or Laptop

  3. Put on the Latex Gloves before handling ANY CD or DVD

  4. Tag the CD or DVD with information on the Date and Time other relevant information using the Stickers and the Felt-Tip Permanent Marker

  5. Burn the CD or DVD. The Endurance of St. Paul the Apostle is required at this point

  6. When finished, hold the CD or DVD with your finger in the hole and gripping the edges. Do NOT touch the writing surface

  7. Do a quick check of the CD or DVD to see if you have coherence i.e. the *.Zip, *.RAR or *TAR Archives open ok and there are no de-coherent files. Place it back into the Bigger Jewel Cases

  8. Place the CD or DVD into the Fireproof Safety Deposit Box which should have Silica Gel Packs inside. Make sure the Air Conditioning is blowing cool Dry Air. If not a visit to the Air Conditioning man is required

  9. Update the Records to indicate the time and Date of the Backup. This record should be both a Manual Register as well a Microsoft Excel or Apple iWorks Spreadsheet Register kept on the Dedicated Computer or Laptop

Remember to do the following always as long as you use CD and DVD’s for your Physical Backup Media:

  • Schedule regular monthly checks of your backups to make sure they are coherent.

  • Schedule Regular Cleaning of the CD/DVD Burner.

  • Make sure all access to Backups is recorded and requests for Files are handled by doing transfers to a Main File Server via a Removable Storage Media.

  • NEVER give outsiders i.e. non IT Staff, access to the Server Room.

  • Be vigilant about the Air Conditioning System and watch for Moisture and Dust buildup around the vents in the room

  • Make sure to eventually request of your Boss a Humidity and Temperature Monitoring System to make sure the Temperature remains at 22 Celcius and Humidity levels at 20%.

May the Endurance of St. Paul the Apostle be with you should you choose to endure this Hard Path set before you if you choose Physical Backup Media. You can always spring for External SSD Hard-Drive later on to back up all those CD and DVD’s.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.