by May 11, 2002 0 comments

The popularity of CD-R/RW has also increased the choices in CD-burning software. Different vendors are shipping different CD-burning software with their drives. However, one of the most widely used and feature-rich CD-burning software shipping with drives these days is Nero. It lets you do pretty much everything you may want with your CD-Writer. It can create data CDs, audio CDs on the fly, bootable CDs that can be used to boot into your system if it ever happens to crash, copy data from one CD to another. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more complex and exciting things you can do with it. 

Over burning
Many times it happens that you want to burn more data than your CD-R media can technically support. For example, you may want to burn a DivX movie file which is 720 MB in size, whereas your CD-R is rated to support only 700 MB. So what do you do? Look for the Over Burning option in your CD-burning software. But, do note that what happens in over burning is that you try to write additional data on the edges of the CD-R, which can sometimes be dangerous, both for your CD-R media and your CD-Writer. So be careful not to go over board. 

You can test your CD-R beforehand in NeroWith Nero you can test your CD-R beforehand to see how much extra data it can handle, before you actually go ahead and over burn. To do this, click on Nero CD Speed, under the Ahead Nero tab in your programs menu. Now place your CD-R in your CD-Writer and under the Extra menu click on Overburning test. Select the speed at which you’ll burn and click on Start. After testing, it’ll give you the amount of extra data that particular CD-R can handle. 

Create Video CDs
Video CD is the most popular medium for storing and watching movies–be it a great Hollywood hit or even your wedding footage. The good news is that Nero can automatically create Video CDs for you, provided you give it an AVI file. This AVI file will then be encoded to MPEG format before it’s burnt. To create Video CDs, simply choose Video CD as your new compilation when you click on New under the file menu. You can also add things like a background picture, text and also choose between PAL and NTSC. However, you must remember that converting one format to another will take time, and you will also need a lot of free disk space to work with. Once you have created this CD you can see it using any VCD player.

Multi-session CDs
A normal CD-R can store up to 700 MB of data. So let’s say if you wanted to burn only 300 MB of data, what happens to the rest of the space? Is it wasted right? Well, the answer is no, if you opt for a multi-session CD. In a multi-session you can burn data on multiple occasions, until you reach the CD-R’s limit. However, some older CD drives might have a problem reading multi-session CDs. 

To create a multi-session CD, you need to select Start MultiSession disk when you choose your new compilation. The next time you put the same CD-R in, you’ll have to choose Continue MultiSession CD from the same menu. 

Restore CDs 
Every time your system crashes, you have no other choice than to go through the tedious process of installing the OS and the drivers for each device on your machines, not to mention the data that you have lost! For such bad days, there is a facility for backing up your hard drive by creating restore CDs. Once created, these CDs can then restore your PC in the condition it was before the crash, and that too quickly. Nero currently supports the FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, Linux Ext2fs, and HPFS (High Performance File System) file systems.

You can burn a multi-session CD if you don’t want to waste spaceTo create a restore CD choose Burn HD Backup from your File Menu and select the partition you want to backup. Now simply select the speed at which you want to burn and the procedure starts. However, keep in mind that the bigger your partition the more number of CD-R you would require. For example, to back up a 4 GB partition we had to use some 7 CD-R disks. 

To restore your hard drive at a later time, you’ll need to boot into DOS using a bootable floppy and then run the NRESTORE utility, which Nero had burnt on the first CD-R of the backup set. This means that your bootable floppy must also contain the correct DOS drivers for your CD-ROM. A good way to ensure this is to use a Win 98 boot disk Some of the limitations of the Nero Backup is that it doesn’t compress the hard-drive image, and also it backups the entire partition on your hard drive and not just the space which is actually occupied by the data. 

You can back up your hard drive by creating a restore CDHybrid CDs
Another feature provided by Nero, is something called hybrid CDs. These are CDs, which can be read on the Mac as well as a PC. This is made possible because a hybrid CD contains the ISO 9660 as well the Apple Macintosh HFS file system. To create a hybrid CD you’ll need to connect your PC with a SCSI hard disk containing the HFS partition to be written on the hybrid CD. The HFS partition can be created and edited using any Mac system. 

Design your own jewel case
One feature that mostly goes unnoticed is Cover Designer for CD jewel cases. You can access this by clicking the Nero Cover Designer under the Ahead Nero tab in your start menu. This application offers various pre-defined templates you can use. It also offers different templates for different kinds of covers. For example, it has different templates for standard covers, Multi-Box covers, Slim Packs, Mini-CD covers, Biz cards, etc. And, of course, you also have the option of creating your own template. 

Once you choose a template, you add different fields to it, such as Title, Artist name, Year and number of tracks, insert images, draw on it, insert your text and much more. Similarly, you can create different designs for the rear, the inlay and even for the CD itself. Once you’re done, all you have to do is print and insert the designs into their proper locations. 

Sachin Makhija

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