Burning CDs for Backups
A visual tutorial to burning CDs on the math cluster.
k3b, the KDE is one of the nicer CD burning utilities
available on Linux, so that's what we'll cover
You can also use Nautilus, the GNOME
file manager, to create CD images that you can burn with
k3b or transfer to another machine.
k3b at a shell prompt or selecting “K3B” from
the “Sound & Video” menu in the system drawer (generally at the
far lower-left corner of your screen). You should see a splash screen
(not shown here), a “tips” dialog, and then the main window.
Starting a Data CD Project
Create a new data CD project by double-clicking on the “New Data CD Project” shortcut icon in the lower pane.
Adding Files and Directories to Your CD Project
Use the directory tree in the leftmost upper pane to navigate to the top of the set of directories that you want to burn to a CD.
Select the files and directories in the upper-right pane, and drag them down to the lower pane.
Click the Burn button in the lower-right corner of the window when you're happy with the contents of your CD project.
The CD Burning Process
When we create a CD, we call it “burning” because the CD writing drive uses a laser to melt tiny pits into the aluminum surface of the disk. (The part of the disk that's modified is actually the top of the disk, not the bottom, so in some ways it's even more important to protect the “label” side of a CD than the part that the drive reads!)
shows you the various options that you can choose when burning a CD.
We're not going to talk about most of them, but of possible interest
to you is the “Only create image” checkbox, which would allow you to
create an ISO-9660
format image file, sometimes called an “iso” (EYE-so) by people who
like to think of themselves as “1337”. You can burn the
.iso file to a CD later (using an option from the Tools
menu) or transfer it to another machine for burning or storage. You
can mount an ISO-9660 image on other machines. In Mac OS X and
Windows XP, you can mount the image by double-clicking on it. In
Linux, you can use a command such as
root# mount -tiso9660 -oloop /path/to/image/file.iso /mount/point
Depending on your desktop environment (GNOME, KDE, etc.) and its specific version, you may be able to mount images just by double-clicking on them in Linux, too.
When you're ready to burn your CD, click on the Burn button.
If you don't already have a black CD-ROM or CD-RW in the drive, you may see this dialog box asking you to insert media.
While your disk is burning (or the ISO file is being created), you'll see this dialog, which gives you an idea of what's happening during the process. It's important that the buffer status stay relatively full while the disk is burning so that the drive always has data being fed to it. If it drops too low, the burn might stall, and you might end up with a bad CD (often called a “coaster”, as that role is about all it's good for).
If all goes well, you'll be rewarded with a dialog box like the one shown, announcing the successful burning of your CD. You might want to try the CD in a couple of different machines before you delete any files, though, just to be sure.
Using Nautilus to Create an Image File
You can use Nautilus, the GNOME file manager, to create ISO-9660 images. Theoretically, Nautilus should be able to call a lower-level program to burn the contents of the image to a CD, but that functionality does not appear to be available with the version of Nautlius included in CentOS 3.
If you insert a blank CD-R or CD-RW disc in the drive. Nautilus should open a blank window.
Drag file or folder icons to that window from another Nautilus window, then click the “Write to CD” icon to create an image.
File picker dialog for saving the ISO image file.
Nautilus's progress and success dialog.