Some FAQs about PCs you wish you knew before you bought it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Q: My 700MB CD-R's after formatting turns out to be about 650MB of capacity. Is there a way to write like 690MB to it?
Yes... But there's a catch.

The normal CD-R's you buy nowadays are 80 min, 700 MB standard version. You can buy extra length versions, but those are VERY hard to find, with advent of DVD burners.

The CD-R, with a bit of overhead, turns out to fit about 648 megs of data, just about. So what happens if you have a file that's like 695MB and you don't have a DVD burner, compression doesn't help, and you don't want to split the file?

The answer: Mode 2 / Form 2 burning!

There's a catch of course... CD-ROM standard includes a LOT of data checking, CRC checksums, and so on internally for error detection and correction. That's the reason for reduced capacity. If you go to Mode 2, you lose 1 of the triple redundant checks, so your data's more vulnerable to damage, scratches, and so on.

Also, the file itself will require a bit of a trick to read. You need a DirectShow filter like this one to help you read these Mode 2 CD's. But that's about the only trick.

So how DO you do it? Here's your requirements.

A CD burner and a blank CD
Mode 2 image writer
A lot of disk space (1 gig preferred, at least 750 MB for sure)
whatever media you're trying to write
Nero or any other program that burns BIN/CUE type image files to CD

The Mode 2 Image Writer is a Command-line program with a GUI component, so run the GUI to select your options and files. Make sure that the largest files (the media files) are "bolded", which means they're written in "mode 2" form (i.e. less CRC checks). When ready, assign a name and write the image (actually it writes a BIN/CUE image, not ISO image).

Now just engage the burner program, load the BIN/CUE image, and write it to the blank CD-R.

Remember, you'll need that DirectShow filter to read the Mode 2 CD's.