This mini-FAQ was created, because simple I did not found any reliable resource on the Internet, which describes the mastering of error-free and long-lasting discs.
Although the FAQ was made with fully non-profit purpose, in case if you found useful it, please consider of 'supporting' it. Info: tarjan(a)uw.hu
|Which brands to use?|
Separate our data into two main groups. The first group should contain the important, personal files (documents, photos etc.). The second one is the less important files, such as music, films and so on.
For archiving the first group, use Ricoh DVD+R, JVC DVD+R Archival Grade, as well Verbatim DVD-R Archival Grade discs, two-two pieces from each. All of these discs were made in Japan. Ricoh and JVC are manufacturing them in their own factory, Verbatim buying his top quality discs from Mitsubishi.
Beside the Japanese manufacturing, pluses for these discs:
For archiving the second group, use the discs of the well-known brands (for example Fuji, Maxell). These mostly made by Ritek in Taiwan, and their price/quality rate is quite fair.
|Which software to choose?|
If we have serious backup-jobs, not only film or music archiving, it is impossible to bypass Nero Burning ROM, which is regarded a too complex application by most people. But it handles all file systems, can make multi-session discs, able to make mirrored backups, writing speed is adjustable and it is verifying the written data.
If our possibilities limited only for choosing from freeware programs, I recommend CDBurnerXP. Opposite of its name, not only runs on XP, and not only capable of writing CDs. This is also supports the UDF file-system, mirrored-backup as well verifying.
Otherwise, any commercial or freeware program is suits as well, if fulfils the above mentioned three main criteria.
|Which file-system to use?|
The 1.02 version of UDF. The Universal Disk Format was developed directly for DVDs (although works fine with CDs too). It has more 'advanced' versions, such as 1.5, 2.0, 2.01, 2.5 and 2.6. The last two is used for BlueRay disks. 1.5, 2.0 and 2.01 has no remarkable advantages from the viewpoint of data backup.
1.02 supports the very long file-names, possible of using of very large files, able to make mirrored-backup on both DVD-R(W) and DVD+R(W) disks. In addition, it is compatible even with Windows 98, as it is a 1996 standard. It is also the default file-system of standalone DVD-players.
|What about the file-names?|
We can use quite long file-names with the UDF file-system. File-names maximum can be 255 bits long, pathnames up to 1023 bits. This means, that if we are using the basic ASCII char-set (it is the English alphabet in a way), file-names can be 255 characters long, pathnames up to 1023 chars. In case of special characters (for example, national characters), the appropriate values are 127 chars and 511 characters.
I strongly recommend the use of lower-case ASCII characters, connected the separate words with underscore. With this method, we can create quite informative and the same time 'all operating systems' compatible file-names.
Just an example: 'example_picture_from budapest_hungary_2010_08_07_001.jpg'. This means: a photo from Hungary, Budapest, which was made in 2010. August 07. This is the first photo, which was made there and then ('001').
|Which file-extensions should we use for data archiving?|
It is really recommended to stored compressed our longer files. At this point, we can divide into two parts the compressed data. First bunch is the already compressed files, which are automatically uncompressed by the application, when we open or edit it (and of course, re-compressed when saved). The another group is made with special compressing utilies, such as the .ZIP and .RAR files.
The file-types and their suggested file-formats from the viewpoint of archiving: