Monday, March 3, 2008

Make an ISO from your CD/DVD on your Mac, for FREE

I am a relatively new Mac user, and I am still learning the ropes. One of the things that I used to be bale to do very easily on the PC was to create an ISO (CD Image file) from a CD. On the Mac, I attempted to do it using DiskUtility, which is a native tool that comes with OS X, but it does not really do the job. So, after a little bit of research, I found a cool way to do it, which is fairly easy. For this to work, you probably have to be a little comfortable using your "Terminal"application. I will try to put the steps in as much detail as possible, so that you can follow along:
Disclaimer: Please note  that the tool used in this article (dd) can be dangerous, and, if used incorrectly, can end up wiping your whole hard drive, so, consider yourself warned!!
- Open "Terminal" : Applications / Utilities / Terminal
- With your CD mounted. (You should be able to see the CD on your desktop, type: 
df -h
The important line is
This is the device reference to your CDROM drive.This number may vary, and in order to be sure that your CD device reference is the correct one, you can run the following command, and that should give you at lease the first part of the device without the reference to the volume:
drutil status
This /dev/disk1 is the CD Drive.
- Unmount your CD:
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1
Disk /dev/disk1 unmounted.
- Now create the ISO
dd if=/dev/disk1s1s3 of=mynewcd.iso bs=2048
- When the process finishes, you should be able to mount that image using this command:
hdid mynewcd.iso
Or you can mount it by double clicking on the iso file, and it should show up on your desktop.
- The main problem that I had with doing this process was to refer to the CD device, instead of the volume that I need to rip. (i.e: /dev/disk1, as opposed to /dev/disk1s1s3). If you use dd and get the final file, it'll look fine, but when you try to mount it, you will get an error. So make sure you refer to the correct volume.
- Make sure that you are writing the ISO file somewhere within the filesystem that you have WRITE access. The safest place would probably be your home directory, so your dd line would be best that way:
dd if=/dev/disk1s1s3 of=~/Desktop/mynewcd.iso bs=2048
This will actually write the file straight on your desktop, and you won't have to go looking for it after the process is done.
This ISO can then be burned at a later time.

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