These next two sections deal with File Storage. In this first section I will show you how to manually Burn (Copy) files onto a Blank Disc (CD or DVD) using OS X (Mountain Lion) only. I am therefore assuming you don't have any Disc Burning (CD or DVD Copying) software installed, and if you do you don't know how to use it. In the next section I will teach you how to create a DMG (Disk Image) File, that you could also burn (copy) onto a Disc (CD or DVD). A DMG file is similar to a ZIP file whereby multiple folders/files can be compressed into one main folder before being distributed (on a CD/DVD for example) or kept for safe keeping as a backup.

Using the built-in burning function of OS X (Mountain Lion) only, begin by putting all the folders and files you want to burn (copy) onto a disc (cd or dvd) into a separate folder. So if you want to copy a few Microsoft WORD 2011 Documents, a couple of Photograph Files and a folder containing Video Files for example create a copy of them and put them inside a newly created folder called Various Files for example. In this example I am keeping things even simpler than that - I have a folder on my desktop called Holidays which contains copies of photos taken around Europe. To burn (copy) it onto a disc (dvd in this case) all I need to do is right click over it and then select the BURN "Holidays" TO DISC menu-item. You would do the same. It's worth noting here that at this point I have purposely not put a Blank Disc into the Disc (CD/DVD) Drive.....for good reason (explained later).

Fig 1.0  Right click on the folder you want to burn and then select the BURN TO DISC menu-item

Now that you have told OS X (Mountain Lion) you want to burn (copy) the contents of your folder onto a disc (cd/dvd) it naturally expects a blank disc to be in the disc (cd/dvd) drive. If there no blank disc inside the disc drive at this point OS X (Mountain Lion) will bring up the following message requester asking you to insert a blank disc. And it will not remove the message requester until either it is satisfied that the inserted disc is completely blank or until you click on the message requester's CANCEL button.

Fig 1.1  Insert a blank disc (cd or dvd) into the disc (cd/dvd) drive to begin the actual burning process

With a completely blank disc now inserted you are then asked to give your blank disc a name, inside the DISC NAME edit box, which in this example I have kept as Holidays - OS X (Mountain Lion), by default, always uses the name of the folder you want burning as the name for the blank disc unless you have selected more than one folder to burn; in which case the default name used for the blank disc will be UNTITLED DISC.

When you have given the blank disc a, new/preferred, name click on the BURN button to begin the actual burning (copying) process. Don't worry about the Burn Speed option (drop-down menu). It is normally set to the highest burn speed - The fastest speed the disc drive can record (burn/copy) your data (folders and files) onto the disc.

Fig 1.2  Click on the BURN button to begin the actual burning (copying) process

Fig 1.3  The burning process (recording session) has begun

At this point a recording (burning/copying) session has been opened, just like a recording session in a music recording studio. This means that whatever is recorded (burnt/copied) onto the disc now (i.e. the contents of my Holidays folder) will be classed as one recording (burning/copying) session. Unfortunately, using this manual (raw) method of burning (copying/recording) folders and files onto the disc means only one recording (burning/copying) session is possible whereas using software for example would give you the ability to burn (copy) different folders and files onto the same disc more than once. This is known as Multi-Session recording. So although this one and only recording session is limited to using the inserted blank disc once it is ideal for important, one-off, data backups such as backing up photos and documents.

If you need to stop the burning process (recording session), for whatever reason(s), just click on the grey X button to the right of the progress bar (gauge). This will not make the burning process stop straight away because you will need to click on the STOP button (Fig 1.5 below) of the message requester that follows your clicking of the grey X button in order to confirm your Stop request. And even then you will have to wait for the burning process to finish off what it was doing before you stop it.

Fig 1.4  Click on the grey X if you want to stop the burning process

Fig 1.5  Click on the STOP button to confirm that you want to stop the burning process

Assuming you have not stopped the burning process; When your folders and files have been copied (burnt) onto the disc the burning process then finishes by finalising the disc. This means it makes the disc and its contents (your burnt folders and files) accessible/usable/readable to other devices - such as another computer, another operating system and digital video recorders - by adding extra information on the disc, alongside your burnt folders and files. This in turn means those devices could view the photos, playback the videos and read the documents stored (burnt) on the disc if they have the correct software installed on them.

Even if you did stop the burning process, the burning process would still finalise the disc as 'containing no data' or 'containing unreadable data'; therefore making the disc useless.

Fig 1.6  The burning process is finalising the disc so that its contents can be read by other devices

When a disc has been finalised its contents (your burnt folders and files) then gets verified. This means the burning process checks the contents of the burnt disc with the original contents (i.e. with the contents of my Holidays folder) to double check that they both match.

Fig 1.7  The burning process is verifying the disc contents with the original contents to make sure they match

If all goes well with the verifying process the disc will be ejected automatically from the disc drive; Otherwise you will receive an error message (not exampled here). Assuming all did go well; You will need to reinsert the disc before you can view its contents of course. This time when the disc is inserted into the disc drive you will see a DISC icon appear on the desktop, named after the disc name entered in Fig 1.2 above, whereby you just need to double click on the desktop icon to view the disc's contents.

Fig 1.8  Insert the disc and then double click on its desktop icon to view the disc's contents

In the example below I have already opened the disc (double clicked on its desktop icon) and navigated to the ITALY >> COLLOSEO_VATICAN folder, just to verify with my own eyes that the burning process worked. In other words, always check a burnt disc's contents to make sure it's there and not corrupted in any way before using it or putting it away for safe keeping; especially if it has been burnt as a Backup Copy of something.

Fig 1.9  The contents of the burnt disc is exactly the same as my original contents

Finally. If you see a file called Thumbs.db in one or more of your folders, don't worry about it. It just means the contents you burnt was from a Windows computer. For example, you copied a Windows photo folder onto your apple mac computer and then burnt that folder onto a disc; thereby burning the hidden Thumbnails Database file too (Thumbs.db).