CD/DVD burning : Java Glossary

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CD/DVD burning

Creating a CD (Compact Disc) or DVD (Digital Video Disc) by writing to a one-time recordable disc, or an erasable re-writable disc. To do this from Java, you need software that makes the CD look like a hard disk, e.g. Roxio DirectCD. However, this creates CDs (Compact Discs) that can only be read with Roxio software. Alternatively you can exec some utility to do the work. The catch is most utilities are GUIs (Graphic User Interfaces) that require human interaction to make them work. There are a few however, you can control from the command line, most notably Cdrtools.

Compressing and Archiving

To pack the most files onto a DVD, and to burn as quickly as possible, you want to pre-compress the files (using BackUptoZip, WinZip, or compression built-into the backup/burn utility). BackupToZip is particularly efficient at this since it only compresses files that have recently changed. Further, it clever enough to drop recently deleted files from the compressed archives, something WinZip cannot do.

You also want to archive the files, so that large collections of small files are combined into one big one. The same utilities that handle compression usually also handle archiving.

The disadvantage of compressing/archiving is you must unpack the files on the DVD before you can use them. That means anyone using the DVD must have suitable unpacking software installed, e.g. WinZip or the corresponding restore utility to a backup.

Types of CD/DVD Filesystem Formats

You chose the file system for your burn based on the type of computer that will read the CD/DVD.

Types of CD/DVD File Systems
Type Max
Filename Length
In Bytes
Filename Encoding mkisofs
ISO-9660 180 8 upper case only -iso-level 4 The original Spartan format. Universally supported
Joliet 64 no limit Unicode -J Microsoft’s extension to ISO-9660. Do not use in combination with -iso-level
RockRidge 128 no limit Unicode -R Popular in Unix/Linux. Extension to ISO-9660. 255-bytes of UTF-8 and Unix file meta information such as permissions and extended timestamps.
HFS (Hierarchical File System) 31 no limit Mac OS Roman -hfs Was popular on Apple. No longer supported.
HFS+ (Hierarchical File System Plus) 255 no limit Unicode n/a Popular on Apple OS 8.1+, iPod.

Free CD/DVD (Compact Disc/Digital Video Disc) Burning Utilities

Ordered Alphabetically:

Commercial CD/DVD Burning Utilities

Select the currency you would like prices in: $0.00 USD

Commercial utilities you might use to burn a CD or DVD include (ordered by increasing cost):

The following tools are sometimes recommended for the purpose, but I found them unsuitable: IsoBuster and WinImage.

Windows Burn a CD/DVD without Additional Software

Windows has two built-in techniques for burning CDs and DVD s, albeit slowly. UDF discs are only readable on XP and Vista. You can write a file at a time to them. With disc at once, you save up the files to be written, then write them all at once in one continuous stream usually using a utility like Nero. You can’t later add more files. These discs can be read anywhere. Further, they pack more information on a disc and write it faster (if you use Nero software), though they are slower to create with just Vista. With Vista, after you have finished dragging your files to the DVD (actually to a hard disk buffer), you must select burn to disc to actually burn them on the DVD.

There are other incremental recording schemes, similar to UDF, but they are obsolete.

Windows Burn a UDF CD/DVD without Additional Software

To burn a UDF CD/DVD, aka Live File System:
  1. insert a blank CD/DVD.
  2. Select burn files to disc using Windows.
  3. Drag files to the CD/DVD drive or copy them with a BAT (Batch) file or at the command prompt. This is a very slow process since it writes to DVD as you go. It is best to select several directories at once to drag.
  4. When it is done, right click properties then eject to eject the disc.

Windows Burn a Disc-at-once CD/DVD without Additional Software

To burn a disc-at-once CD/DVD aka Mastered:
  1. insert a blank CD/DVD.
  2. Select burn files to disc using Windows.
  3. Select show formatting options.
  4. Select Mastered.
  5. Drag files to the CD/DVD drive. Copying them with a BAT file or at the command prompt won’t work. This is a very slow process even thought it is just caching the files to write to disc at this point. It is best to select several directories at once to drag.
  6. Select Burn Files to Disc.
  7. When it is done, click Finish to eject the disc.
Beware. Make sure you remember to click burn files to disc for each CD/DVD,(or click erase temporary files) otherwise you will batch them up and be puzzled why you can’t burn the files you expect.

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