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Backing up data to an optical disc on a Mac


This method uses built in tools for Mac OS X 10.5 and earlier and requires an optical burner drive also known as an R or RW drive.  Some other software can create a multi-session disc and is not covered in this document.

Note: Not all computers can burn discs.  If you have a computer that has a slot loading drive or does not have a disc tray then DO NOT USE mini or business card sized discs in this drive or the disc may cause harm to your optical drive.  Consult your user's manual for compatible discs and speeds.

How to Use:

  1. Insert an appropriate blank disc in your Mac's CD or DVD drive (see note above). If you see a message appear asking what you want to do with a blank optical disc, choose Open Finder, enable Make this action the default, and click OK. Blank Disc
  2. Open the disc on the desktop by double clicking it the icon. Disc Icon
  3. Locate your documents you wish to add. Then, click and drag those items to the disc's window or icon just like moving or copying any other files. Drag and Drop Notice that the bottom of the window shows how much space is available on the disc. If you go over the capacity of the disc, you will see an error window or an overflow message at the bottom. Remove enough files to fit in the disc's space. Problem
  4. When you are ready to write the disc, return to the disc's window, and click one of the Burn buttons or select the File menu and choose Burn Button Burn Menu
  5. Rename the disc to something descriptive such as "Backup" and the current date. Pick a Burn Speed that matches or is less than the disc's advertised speed. Choosing a lower number may result in better reliability at the cost of taking more time. Click Burn. Name Disc Pick Speed
  6. Wait for the burning and verification process to finish. Burn progress 1Burn Progress 2Burn Progress 3Burn Progress 4 Notice the disc changes to a Burn Folder icon while the write is in progress. Folder Icon If you get an error in one of these stages and the disc does not burn properly, return to step 4 and reduce the Burn Speed in step 5 If you continue to have errors and failed discs, then contact the Help Desk for assistance.
  7. If everything has completed then you may use or eject the newly created disc. Be sure to store this disc somewhere dry and cool. In case something physically happens to your computer such as water or fire damage, make another copy and keep it in another secure location.