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 PostPost subject: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 120%        Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:13 pm 
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This is a guide on how to properly dump a disc using Alcohol 120%. Any contributions to BetaArchive should be made following this guide. If you prefer using Daemon Tools instead there's a guide for it here.

This guide is for Windows users only.
--------

  1. Download Alcohol120% from http://www.alcohol-soft.com/designzoo/d ... 120fe.html . This is a freeware version which has the capabilities needed for a proper dump. Install it and run it.
  2. Once it's loaded up it will look like this. Click on the top left option saying "Image Making Wizard".

    Image

  3. A new window will popup. At the bottom pulldown bar named "Datatype" select "General Protected CD". This will enable most options needed.

    Image
  4. If you choose a different datatype profile be sure to have the following options checked: [X] Read Sub-Channel Data from current disc, [X]Skip reading errors. Be sure to report if any reading errors occurs. Be sure "Image format" is set to "Media Descriptor Image file (*.mds)". Press Start to initiate the reading of the disc.

    Image

  5. Alcohol 120% will start dumping the disc, this may take a while depending on the size of the disc, speed of your drive and condition of the disc.

    Image

  6. Once the reading is finished you will be presented with two files. one .MDS and one .MDF file. This is a dump of your disc.

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If you intend to upload this to BetaArchive, be sure to pack these two up in a single archive (rar, 7z), add any additional material you wish (scanned artwork etc) and pack it up. For safety be sure to add a recovery record to the archive in case the upload fails in some manner.

Be sure to check my scanning guide as well as abandonware guide for proper preservation.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:37 pm 
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Nice guide but may I ask what information is saved in the MDS file?


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:59 pm 
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Jensvde wrote:
Nice guide but may I ask what information is saved in the MDS file?


This optional binary file contains metadata about an imaged optical disc, including a delineation of where disc layers begin and end, and which portions of the MDF belong in which disc layer.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:49 pm 
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What's the advantage of Alcohol120% over a standard ISO that I dumped with ImgBurn?


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:57 pm 
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trifle wrote:
What's the advantage of Alcohol120% over a standard ISO that I dumped with ImgBurn?

It dumps all layers, which is especially important for older games with security mechanisms or audio tracks on a separate layer.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:12 pm 
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trifle wrote:
What's the advantage of Alcohol120% over a standard ISO that I dumped with ImgBurn?
ISO is a single session, no multisession, no multitracks, no layer breaks or breach bits, no subchannel data, no saving of physical disc parameters... basically everything to store a full disc that isn't just an ISO9660 data track.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:25 am 
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I hate alcohol 120%. Don't ask why. Are there other programs out there with comparable/similar performance? FYI I use PowerIso, which doesn't (as said by someone else) copy multiple, important layers.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:50 am 
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Would it be OK if I used Daemon-Tools to create the MDF/MDS images? I prefer using that as my disc image mounting software.


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:22 am 
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yourepicfailure wrote:
I hate alcohol 120%. Don't ask why. Are there other programs out there with comparable/similar performance? FYI I use PowerIso, which doesn't (as said by someone else) copy multiple, important layers.
I am not looking for performance, but for a proper copy of a disc. PowerISO won't do that. And the only other software I can see that does similiar to A120 is CloneCD, and that one hasn't been supported for many years.

mkbea1985 wrote:
Would it be OK if I used Daemon-Tools to create the MDF/MDS images? I prefer using that as my disc image mounting software.
Never made any images with it, so I don't know how well it works. But if it works I guess it should suffice.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:43 pm 
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Thanks for the guide! Do you think it's also gonna work with old PSX games?

I mean, would it handle the protection issues? Or I should look for another software for ripping PSX CDs?


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:28 pm 
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It should work with PSX games as it doesn't use any special sector-based protection. I have not personally tested it though, but the biggest issue with PSX games is usually when it you want to put it back onto disc (i.e don't burn with too high speed, 4X or lower is better), but not when you want to extract it from disc.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:52 am 
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Just a tip for people who started dumping recently.
Some games have a weird type of "copy-protection."
It makes Alcohol 120% think that the disc is full of bad sectors.
You should just fast-skip errors and you will be fine :D


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:16 am 
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mrpijey wrote:
[*]A new window will popup. At the bottom pulldown bar named "Datatype" select "General Protected CD". This will enable most options needed.

This option isn't available (for me) in version 2.0.3 (6951) or the stand-alone version 2.0.2 (5830) jagotu created.

The "Read Sub-Channel Data from current disc" option isn't available either.

EDIT:
These options seem to appear for CDs. A different subset of options appears for DVDs.

EDIT:
One aspect of Alcohol 120% I don't like is that the .MDF files are different every time a disc is ripped. At first I thought my reader was bad. Finally, I used MDF to ISO converters to verify each MDF for some disc produces an identical ISO.


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:32 am 
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Hello. I'm just wondering if anyone knows a way to raw dump MDF CD images on Mac OS X? I have a "Burning Monkey Casino" disc I have never seen before and doesn't seem to be sold anywhere anymore. There were links to it on MacUpdate but those links point to Freeverse's website which isn't up anymore. I am too lazy to reinstall Windows XP on a VBox VM as the VM crapped out on me and got stuck on mup.dll during safe boot. I also can't use Boot Camp as I have no free disk space for it. So how can I make a raw dump of a CD image on a Mac (not ISO, as those are not accepted by BA's modern standards) without using Toast or a VM? I can't use Toast because it costs money and I am poor.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:21 pm 
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DiskingRound wrote:
Hello. I'm just wondering if anyone knows a way to raw dump MDF CD images on Mac OS X? I have a "Burning Monkey Casino" disc I have never seen before and doesn't seem to be sold anywhere anymore. There were links to it on MacUpdate but those links point to Freeverse's website which isn't up anymore. I am too lazy to reinstall Windows XP on a VBox VM as the VM crapped out on me and got stuck on mup.dll during safe boot. I also can't use Boot Camp as I have no free disk space for it. So how can I make a raw dump of a CD image on a Mac (not ISO, as those are not accepted by BA's modern standards) without using Toast or a VM? I can't use Toast because it costs money and I am poor.


If common sense was allowed, a BIN/CUE image would be perfect for archival/preservation purposes. BIN/CUE images can be made by most free cd image programs. Then money wouldn't be an issue.

But since common sense isn't allowed in this case, we the poor can't donate because it requires PAID software that supports MDF/MDS.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:21 am 
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If you had the common sense required you would have done a 60 second research and come up with at least one of the following:

  1. The MDF format allows for a better preservation as it stores information about the layout and contents BIN/CUE can't.
  2. There are at least two software titles that can create and mount MDF files. Both have free editions which works just fine.

But since you didn't bother doing any research I guess you just assumed things because it was more convenient.

Enjoy your newfound wealth of information and the power of doing a simple Google search (or Bing search if that's your fancy).

:D

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:10 am 
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mrpijey wrote:
If you had the common sense required you would have done a 60 second research and come up with at least one of the following:

  1. The MDF format allows for a better preservation as it stores information about the layout and contents BIN/CUE can't.
  2. There are at least two software titles that can create and mount MDF files. Both have free editions which works just fine.

But since you didn't bother doing any research I guess you just assumed things because it was more convenient.

Enjoy your newfound wealth of information and the power of doing a simple Google search (or Bing search if that's your fancy).

:D


Response to number 1: MDF really only has an advantage if you are using Alcohol 120%!
Response to number 2: those "free" editions install malware. nice try though.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:28 am 
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mrpijey wrote:
If you had the common sense required you would have done a 60 second research and come up with at least one of the following:

  1. The MDF format allows for a better preservation as it stores information about the layout and contents BIN/CUE can't.
  2. There are at least two software titles that can create and mount MDF files. Both have free editions which works just fine.

But since you didn't bother doing any research I guess you just assumed things because it was more convenient.

Enjoy your newfound wealth of information and the power of doing a simple Google search (or Bing search if that's your fancy).

:D
Is it possible that the site could provide an automated utility and script for people to use to easily convert MDF files back into .IMG or .ISO files? That way, the site might be able to provide it freely and easily available for its users so that people wouldn't get the wrong idea.

Also, if I remember it correctly, one of the issues that remember hearing people talk about with the .ISO format for CD-ROMs is that the .ISO format doesn't save audio tracks, which is extremely important for games, though even some very early beta CD-ROMs of Microsoft Windows 95 had audio tracks back in in the day which were distributed to testers (you could even play them using the CD Player in Windows 95 at the time, but I'm getting off-topic here...).

Is there anything else specifically that MDF also saves, such as the correct CD-ROM serial number (which is displayed when you remove a CD-ROM in Windows 95 or Windows 98 while it is still in use)? I'm asking because I'm also interested in software preservation (as well as preservation of old personal computer magazines also), and I would be interested in knowing more about it, since it really looks like you know a lot more about it than others do.

On that note, I have lot's of CD-ROM titles which I would like to save, and which I will archive properly using all of your instructions once I finally have the time to do it. :)
MrFreeman wrote:
Response to number 1: MDF really only has an advantage if you are using Alcohol 120%!
Even if you may not see or understand the difference, other people might, which is also why I asked mrpijey about the advantages above.

Also, .ISO is limited only to a single session, which as I pointed out above is especially bad for games which often have audio tracks even during the gameplay itself, whereas the goal with MDF is to save as much data as possible, including the audio tracks, since it is not limited to a single session, among other things.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:50 am 
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MrFreeman wrote:
mrpijey wrote:
If you had the common sense required you would have done a 60 second research and come up with at least one of the following:

  1. The MDF format allows for a better preservation as it stores information about the layout and contents BIN/CUE can't.
  2. There are at least two software titles that can create and mount MDF files. Both have free editions which works just fine.

But since you didn't bother doing any research I guess you just assumed things because it was more convenient.

Enjoy your newfound wealth of information and the power of doing a simple Google search (or Bing search if that's your fancy).

:D


Response to number 1: MDF really only has an advantage if you are using Alcohol 120%!
Response to number 2: those "free" editions install malware. nice try though.

  1. Well yes. You need the proper tools to use it. But some titles will require you to use something better than bin/cue. How else will you deal with some copy protections? Also, the MDF format stores more info about the disc = better preservation. Or else we could have just saved everything as an ISO. Deal with it, everyone else has. The only viable alternative is a cancelled product, everything else is vastly inferior.
  2. Not if you choose not to install malware. I got the free edition and I don't have any malware installed. Jagotu also made a portable version without the emulation stuff, but also without the installed malware if all you need is to dump discs.


SoftPCMuseum wrote:
Is it possible that the site could provide an automated utility and script for people to use to easily convert MDF files back into .IMG or .ISO files? That way, the site might be able to provide it freely and easily available for its users so that people wouldn't get the wrong idea.

It is a bit difficult since it would require you to have a tool that mounts it, i.e Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools, installed. If it's installed then it's easy to make a conversion script yes.

SoftPCMuseum wrote:
Is there anything else specifically that MDF also saves, such as the correct CD-ROM serial number (which is displayed when you remove a CD-ROM in Windows 95 or Windows 98 while it is still in use)? I'm asking because I'm also interested in software preservation (as well as preservation of old personal computer magazines also), and I would be interested in knowing more about it, since it really looks like you know a lot more about it than others do.

Windows detects the disc based on volume label if I remember correctly and not a serial number. However anything that's actually printed as data on the disc can be saved with A120, but so can many other tools. A120 however saves a lot of metadata as well to aid in recreating the disc when burned back to a physical media or emulated, such as proper layer breaks, custom sector mappings and it can even detect common copy protections and properly replicate that.

I agree that A120 isn't the very best tool in its original installer format, but it's the best software to make the best copy of a disc. And with both A120 and Daemon Tools you get virtual drive support automatically which is an advantage too if you're using VMs etc to test software, since you can mount any disc format (not just ISO which VMWare, Virtualbox etc only supports) and with retained copy protections etc etc. Personally I've never had any issues with A120 and I've used it for years, whereas I had issues with ImgBurn, CDRWin and other bin/cue dumpers where the copies stopped working (especially those with copy protections). Since we're in the habit of preserving stuff we need to save as much information as possible about the disc, and from what I know today Alcohol120% is the only tool that can do it properly. If you don't like it then it's your choice, but that's what we use here. If a better tool comes around we'll evaluate it and perhaps change it if needed. But when weighing in advantages vs disadvantages (from the preservation point of view) the advantages with A120/Daemon Tools outweight the disadvantages, which is not the case with ImgBurn or other tools that make bin/cue's (and let's not even speak about ISO).

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:55 pm 
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mrpijey wrote:
  1. Well yes. You need the proper tools to use it. But some titles will require you to use something better than bin/cue. How else will you deal with some copy protections? Also, the MDF format stores more info about the disc = better preservation. Or else we could have just saved everything as an ISO. Deal with it, everyone else has. The only viable alternative is a cancelled product, everything else is vastly inferior.


I know ISO sucks, but BIN/CUE preserves things perfectly and it is more accessible.

mrpijey wrote:
  • Not if you choose not to install malware. I got the free edition and I don't have any malware installed. Jagotu also made a portable version without the emulation stuff, but also without the installed malware if all you need is to dump discs.


  • you don't have a choice to install the malware. Again, I am a linux user and I can't use either tool anyways.

    SoftPCMuseum wrote:
    Is there anything else specifically that MDF also saves, such as the correct CD-ROM serial number (which is displayed when you remove a CD-ROM in Windows 95 or Windows 98 while it is still in use)? I'm asking because I'm also interested in software preservation (as well as preservation of old personal computer magazines also), and I would be interested in knowing more about it, since it really looks like you know a lot more about it than others do.


    BIN/CUE save audio tracks. BIN/CUE is also more consistent.

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     PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:59 am 
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    MrFreeman wrote:
    I know ISO sucks, but BIN/CUE preserves things perfectly and it is more accessible.

    Not perfectly, otherwise there wouldn't be a need for a better format. It's more accessible yes, but our primary concern was to save as much data as possible. Find us a better universal format and we'll consider it.


    MrFreeman wrote:
    you don't have a choice to install the malware. Again, I am a linux user and I can't use either tool anyways.

    I had a choice to install the malware. And either way, Jagotu made a portable version without it. Problem solved. And you using Linux isn't really our concern. Our main userbase uses Windows, which is also by far the most widely used end user OS, which is what we focus on. It's impossible to conform to every OS if the software doesn't exist for all platforms and is good enough. And you can always run a VM in Linux with the needed tools, I do the opposite without issues.

    MrFreeman wrote:
    BIN/CUE save audio tracks. BIN/CUE is also more consistent.

    Consistent in what way? As I said before, we focus on saving as much data as correctly as possible, BIN/CUE can't do that. The format hasn't evolved for many years and the MDF/MDX format was designed because other formats were inadequate. Correct me if I am wrong.

    I understand you prefer BIN/CUE since you use an OS that doesn't support MDF directly nor has the software, we understand that. But unless there's a better format around that covers all bases (and even works with OSX and Linux natively) then we have little choice. It's a lot easier to store stuff in a format that is more detailed and convert it to a less detailed format, than the opposite. Data can always be discarded during conversion, but not created accurately from thin air.

    But as I said, we're always open for suggestions, give us a viable alternative and we'll consider it.

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     PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:13 am 
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    It is not MDF/MDS that is doing the magic you claim it does, it is Alcohol 120% that is doing the magic. There is no formal specification for MDF anywhere - which is part of what makes it a bad format for preservation.

    Quote:
    Anything else that makes use of the MDF format or converts to it.... well, imagine creating a Kryofux or Transcopy image from a raw WinImage file. Perhaps not that drastic of a difference, but you can miss potentially important bits.

    I'm aware that floppy disk copiers like TransCopy or CopyIIPC often have special code to deal with specific kinds of copy protection. They can't always read or directly recreate that information, so they must instead recognize those specific instances and artificially recreate a compatible pattern. - I suspect "Alcohol %120" does similar, but there is no way to know since it is closed source.

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     PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:01 am 
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    MrFreeman wrote:
    It is not MDF/MDS that is doing the magic you claim it does, it is Alcohol 120% that is doing the magic. There is no formal specification for MDF anywhere - which is part of what makes it a bad format for preservation.

    MDS/MDF seems to be the only format that supports the level of data and metadata preservation that we need. It might be overkill for the majority of discs, but it's better to over-preserve the trivial discs than to under-preserve the complex ones.

    It's hard to see any standards body willing to endorse a format that is designed to circumvent protections, much as the torrent file specification is specified (albeit somewhat more openly) by BitTorrent.

    A120 may well be using a proprietary format, but there seem to be several alternatives that readily work with the format. That suggests that the spec has either been informally shared with Alcohol's competitors, or the spec is trivially easy to reverse engineer. I found this "specification" in exactly one google search. I haven't tested it, but it would seem to be a reasonable starting point.


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     PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:56 am 
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    You're right MrFreeman, it's Alcohol120% itself that does the "magic", but from what I've seen the MDF format also has enhanced ways of storing certain kinds of data (layer breaks etc), something that bin/cue doesn't. And since we still need A120% to do its "magic" we are still stuck with it, since it's the best way today to, as RubyTuesday explained, over-preserve the data. Once a better alternative comes around we can always consider that. I am not against other formats or change the "defacto" format on BA, but it has to be one that preserves as much as possible. If BIN/CUE had been able to do it then I would have preferred that format myself since it's easy to use and well supported, but it just doesn't support everything needed. And even with BIN/CUE there's not a proper standard as many tools insert their own CUE tags which aren't supported in others etc.

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     PostPost subject: Re: [Guide] How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 12        Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:00 am 
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    rhobariii wrote:
    Just a tip for people who started dumping recently.
    Some games have a weird type of "copy-protection."
    It makes Alcohol 120% think that the disc is full of bad sectors.
    You should just fast-skip errors and you will be fine :D


    OK I saw what you said. I'm just dumping my old games, some were dumped with no issues, some had those "Disc Read Error".
    I enabled all kind of options possible regarding read error retry. Sometimes the number of read errors decreases from dump to dump, then they become all consistent at the same sectors every dump retry.

    Is this really OK to just ignore? The game works without problems, and no issues with audio tracks too.

    Is there any way to know if a true read error occurred besides a 'copy protection' sector?
    This is because my CDs are very old, and earlier CD Readers scratched most of the CDs, so there may be times a read retry would be necessary to bypass some scratches.


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