When you think of making CD/DVD backups on your harddrive, you usually think of ISO files. ISO is the most common disc image format, but it’s far from being the most advanced. Today I’ll describe some advanced features and disc backup formats you didn’t know about (probably).
Useful when you don’t want anyone else to be able to use your CD/DVD backups. It’s possible to encrypt them with specialized encryption software, but some disc image file formats support this feature natively. For example, DAA files can be password-protected.
Hmm, isn’t this the same as password protection? Not always. The simplest password protection schemes don’t actually encrypt anything, so with some effort it would still be possible to extract information from the “protected” files. ISO files don’t support encryption, but you can use the UIF files format to really protect your backups. DAA files can also be encrypted, but inmy opinion the .uif format offers better security.
There are lots of file archivers available to compress your CD/DVD backups, but some disc image formats have the compression built in. For example, .daa files and .uif files will both take up less space than the original disc because they are compressed. This is also one of the reasons why you sometimes see these formats used in file downloads (smaller files = faster download).
Storing Multisession Images
This doesn’t come up often, but as to my knowledge, if a disc contains multiple sessions, you can’t store them all in a single ISO file. Only UIF files support this feature.
Splitting Into Smaller Files
Again, this is more common in download sites and peer-to-peer networks. Typically WinRAR is used to split a large file into many smaller chunks, but sometimes other formats, like the .daa extension, are employed. The downside of this is that the DAA format is proprietary and most CD/DVD software can’t handle it.
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