Preamble: If You Have a Mac, Use It
I’m going to be completely straight with you when it comes to backing up your OS X install disks on Windows: If you can avoid it, do it. The fact of the matter is that it’s much more complex and time consuming to do this process on Windows than it is to just burn it on your Mac that you presumably have if you own a copy of Mac OS X.
Also worth noting is that it is illegal to make a copy of OS X if you don’t actually own the install disk yourself. Downloading an ISO or using a friend’s disk to cheat your way through having to pay for one yourself is punishable by law if you are caught. Now, assuming you’re clear on all that and you have your own copy (and you for some reason cannot use a Mac to do this) here’s a guide on how to use a PC to make a Mac OS install DVD back up.
First Things First: Make an ISO
The only way to burn Mac OS X to a DVD using Windows is to turn your install disk into an .ISO file, which is essentially a virtual DVD file that you can boot from and run as if it were a regular DVD. This is risky business, and there’s a lot that can go wrong, but if you follow these steps you should end up doing okay.
To make an ISO, simply download the program MagicDisk and open it up, followed by choosing the “Make CD/DVD Image”. Insert your OS X install disk into your disk drive, drag the disk shortcut into MagicDisk, and follow the on screen instructions. After everything completes, you should have a “.iso” file on your desktop (or wherever you chose to save it; desktop is default), and you’re ready to move onto the actual burning process.
Step 1) Gather Materials
You can’t do good work without good materials, and as we’ll find out in this guide, you’ll need quite a few things in order to make this work!
- Some burnable dual-layered DVDs
- Advanced DVD burner software such as Alcohol 120 or Isobuster
- An advanced DVD burner (hardware)
- A copy of Mac OS X that you want to back up
If you aren’t sure whether or not you can get your hands on all of this stuff, then I do encourage you to try and find a friend with a Mac you can use. The process of doing this will not require anything except the built in software and a dual-layered DVD, making it much simpler.
Step 2) Prepare for Burning
Open up your program of choice (I would recommend Alcohol 120 personally) and select the option of “Burn ISO to a disk”. This should be pretty easily visible on the main screen, but if you do choose to use Alcohol 120, you can find it on the left hand side where it says “Image Burning Wizard”. Click this icon and take a look at the options you have, namely the writing speed and the drive you burn with.
Make sure the correct drive is selected (if you’re unsure which drive is correct, look at the markings on the outside of the drive and try and match them with the labels in the drop down menu) and then choose whichever write speed you prefer. There really isn’t a reason not to pick the fastest write speed, but if you for some reason feel better choosing ones on the slower side, don’t hesitate to upstage my guide.
There are other options to mess with as well, but most of them can be left at default. If you’ve used the program before and know a few things you want to personally change, don’t hesitate to do so, but otherwise you are free to move onto the next step.
Step 3) Burn, Baby, Burn
Now, it’s time to begin the burn process! Select the “begin” or “start” or “burn” or “[synonym for start]” option, likely located on the bottom right of the window and allow your drive time to get itself ready. The burn process should begin within moments, if it doesn’t, your disc drive may not be built for writing so much data onto a dual-layer DVD. You’ll have to either switch to a Mac with a dual-layer DVD writer, or go out and buy one.
Step 4) The Aftermath
After the burn process finishes, take your disk out, check it for scratches and marks, then move it over to your Mac. Insert it into the main disk drive, start it up, and see what happens. Chances are you’ll have a few problems, and you’ll have to be resourceful in trying to get past them, but like I said, burning on a Windows computer has a myriad of things that can go wrong.
Wait a second— if you have a Mac to check the disk, why couldn’t you just burn it from there…