[Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive
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Author:  mrpijey [ Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:05 pm ]
Post subject:  [Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive

This thread contains all the guides you will ever need whenever you want to prepare, make and upload a release etc. Before you put your socks on, brush your teeth, go to bed or do anything at all you need to read, understand and remember these guides. If you decide to ignore any steps in these guides your release will not be accepted and it will be ignored and your post may be removed from the forum. Don't say we didn't warn you.

These guides are currently work in progress and will be updated.

If you got any comments, ideas, want to report a problem with any of the guides etc then please make a post in the Site Feedback and Support forum.

Please review our FTP Fair Use Policy before you continue.

Important: If you are a new member and want to apply for FTP access you need to read this first. Applying for FTP access without it will result in a deleted application.

  • How to archive a floppy disk with a Kryoflux device
  • How to archive a floppy disk with WinImage


Author:  mrpijey [ Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 120%

How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 120%

This is a guide on how to properly dump a disc using Alcohol 120%. Any contributions to BetaArchive should be made following this guide.

This guide is for Windows users only.

  1. Download our portable version of Alcohol120% Free Edition from here. This is a freeware version which has the capabilities needed for a proper dump. Unpack it to a folder of your choice.
  2. To quickly enable the required logging option import the reg file called "EnableLogging.reg" into your system. This will enable the dump log that goes with the disc dump, and also disable the Alcohol 120% general logging for privacy concerns. You can also enable these options within the application in "View" > "Options" > "Log files".
  3. Start the application by running "Alcohol.exe". Ignore the error that pops up since we don't need virtual drives.
  4. Once it's loaded up it will look like this. Click on the top left option saying "Image Making Wizard".


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


  6. 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 "Image format" is set to "Media Descriptor Image file (*.mds)".

    Please note that not all options will be available when dumping a DVD-ROM.

    Once all options are verified press Start to initiate the reading of the disc.

    1. 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.


    2. If you get reading errors go back to step 5 and also enable the checkbox called "Data Position Measurement". This will increase the dumping time significantly but will improve the quality of the dump. It will then analyze the disc before the dump.

  7. Once the reading is finished you will be presented with three files: one .MDS, one .MDF file and one .LOG file. This is a complete dump of your disc.


    The log file will contain the full dump log of the session. This log file will be trimmed down by me to remove confidential info and to only retail the important information about the dump.

If you intend to upload this to BetaArchive be sure to pack these three up in a single archive (rar, 7z) with any additional material you wish to add (scanned artwork etc) and upload it. 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.

Author:  mrpijey [ Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:52 pm ]
Post subject:  How to make proper scans of covers, media and documentation

Making proper scans of the media, artwork and documentation

This is a guide on how to make proper scans of your material for submission to BetaArchive FTP. You need to follow these steps properly to get your material accepted, if you choose to ignore any parts of this guide your submission will be ignored and rejected. This step of the preservation process is not optional!

This guide is a general one fit for all operating systems and platforms.

The general rule is to scan everything you can. Media, booklets, pamphlets, covers etc. If you don't want to scan an entire booklet scan only the front and back covers. Scan all sides of any boxes.


  • Clean all surfaces.
  • Clean your scanner glass surface.
  • Take out any paper covers from their plastic enclosures, and flatten them out completely.

Scanning procedures:

  • Put the item the scanner. Make sure it's properly aligned. This goes for any manuals, box covers etc too.


    It does not need to be 100% aligned as above, but as closely as possible.

    Make sure there's plenty of empty area around the scanned objects, especially if you scan multiple items at the same time. No edges are to be cut off, all of the surfaces must be visible in the scan.


  • When you scan a disc scan also the inner ring located on the data side of the disc. In this case it's not necessary to scan the entire disc surface. Make sure all numbers are readable.


  • Scan the items at 600dpi or higher.
  • Do not do any post-processing on the scan afterwards. No rotation, adjusting of colors etc.
  • Save the scan as a PNG-file or TIF-file. Label the scan properly, like Disc01.png and so on.
  • Review your results and make sure everything looks good.

If you don't follow these guidelines there's no guarantee that I will process your scans and your time scanning your media and covers will be wasted. Do it right from the start and it will be approved.


If you do not own a scanner you need to take reference pictures with a digital camera or good cellphone. To make these pictures acceptable you need to follow all the above guidelines with these additional instructions:

  • Use the highest resolution of the camera.
  • Use a clean white background, printer paper is recommended.
  • Use proper light such as daylight or white light. Make sure there are no reflections or glare.
  • Review your result!. Make sure your photos are not blurry, smudgy or in any way bad quality wise.

Author:  mrpijey [ Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive

Unacceptable software on BetaArchive

The basic understanding on BetaArchive is that we are only interested in complete and full retail software. But there are exceptions to this as we don't want all retail software.

This is a blacklist of what we don't want uploaded or offered on the forums or FTP.

What we don't want:

  • Abandonware console games. We do accept betas of console games, but for the time being not abandonware ones. If you still want to contribute with these you can dump and upload them to the FTP, but they will be archived for the future when we can afford the drive space for them.
  • Abandonware ROM sets. We do not accept any legal, or illegal, ROM sets from groups such as NoIntro, Redump, TOSEC, Passigar etc. We do preserve them but do not distribute them in any way.
  • Drivers. These are plentiful, and just as useless as they require hardware we can't provide.
  • Freeware games and applications. These can often be found on shareware sites or authors websites.
  • Shareware discs. Same as above, and these usually holds little value. If there is an occasional beta or valuable abandonware title on it save it and include the source in a readme file.
  • Demo discs. Only exception are demo discs with verified beta versions.
  • Open source software. These are often found on github, SourceForge and other open source dist sites. Only exception to this rule is retail open source software such as certain Linux distributions etc. Scans and MDF dumps are required for these titles.
  • Custom compilation discs. Only retail software is allowed. If you think your title should be an exception PM me and I will consider it.
  • OEM recovery sets. These take up too much space and as with drivers are plentiful and quite useless unless you own the matching hardware.
  • OEM bundled software. These are usually bundles that come for free with hardware purchases and usually has an OEM brand stamped on the media. There are exceptions, such as vintage Microsoft titles. PM me if you think your title is a valid exception.
  • Generic web abandonware. Microsoft MSDN/TechNet and Apple ADC are general exceptions. We want originals, not something you found in a torrent or some other beta or abandonware site. If you think you got something that should be archived then PM me and I will consider it.
  • Magazine discs. These are not archived by us as they are much like the freeware and shareware discs filled with demos and freeware. If you think you got something worth preserving make an offer in the Downloads Requests/Offers forum.
  • Source code. Source code is especially sensitive for exploit detection and it may carry confidential information about the software. Neither closed or open source is permitted.
  • Firmwares. These serve little to no purpose as they require very specific hardware to be used. This includes Apple iOS, Android, Cisco IOS, console firmware updates and (smart)phone firmware updates. This also includes BIOS ROM sets for any systems that are not public domain.
  • Microsoft UUP ISOs or sets. Any UUP ISOs or sets prior to build 10.0.16241.1001 are still acceptable, anything newer is not. Ask if you think you have an ISO that should be uploaded.
  • Microsoft MSDN (web) or VLSC (web) titles. We already have access to these and they will be available in due time. MSDN and other physical disc dumps are acceptable.
  • Mods or map packs. Unless they come on an official retail disc these are not usable by their own.
  • Apple App Store, Google Play and other commercial e-store software. We don't archive any of that as there's so much junk and so often updated that it's not worth it. Exceptions: Major retail titles. Ask if you're unsure.

Special notice: Although we accept beta software on our FTP it's not acceptable as a FTP contribution title, for this only a copy of a retail title is acceptable.

Author:  mrpijey [ Sun May 07, 2017 12:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive

Properly prepare, archive and upload a release to BetaArchive FTP

There are certain steps involved to properly make a release for BetaArchive. It's important you follow these steps to make sure your release gets processed quickly without any need of reuploads, rescans or redumps.

  • Read first our guides on how to scan, dump and upload your releases. Everything you need can be found here in this Definitive Guide.
  • Check if we already have this release. Search in the BetaArchive Database.
    Even if we have the title in our lists you may have a better copy so always double check or ask us if you are unsure. Titles of any age can be contributed, even those not considered being "Abandonware".
  • Make sure your contribution is allowed on the FTP. You can find a list of acceptable and unacceptable software here.
  • Dump the media using proper software and hardware.
    1. For optical media only Alcohol120% or CloneCD (Windows) or Daemon Tools or Disk Utility (OS X) are allowed.
    2. For floppy media use dd, WinImage, rawread (Windows) or dd, ddrescue (OS X, *nix). Hardware dumpers such as Kryoflux, SuperCard Pro, Copy II PC etc. are also allowed, but please provide a standard IMG dump along with it.
  • Scan all the artwork. With your release you need to provide properly made scans of the media, box/cover art and documentation and save it into an unaltered and acceptable file format. See this guide for instructions.
  • Each release must have a proper filename. If you can't provide such then add a readme file with any info you can provide with the release. Any releases with filenames like "", "" or "Office97.7z" will automatically be discarded. Full release name with title, version, build, year of release, language and media is required. Example: Microsoft Office 95 Standard (7.00.1911) (1995-07) [English] (3.5''-1.44MB).7z. See this guide for further information.
  • Each release must be compressed into an archive. RAR, 7z, ZIP is acceptable. Single archive or split archive is fine depending on size and stability of your connection. If possible use archive recovery option, or include a par2-set with the release in case the upload goes bad.
  • Check your files before upload. Make sure your scans are proper, that all required files are included and that the archive itself is proper. Otherwise you waste both our times with redumps, rescans and reuploads. Guides for scanning and dumping can be found in this very same Definitive Guide.
  • Connect and upload to the proper server. Details can be found on the FTP Servers page.
    1. If you are a new member you can only use the upload server.
    2. If you are a full FTP member then use your personal FTP account.
  • When using the upload account upload to a folder labeled with your nickname. FTP members ignore. Releases uploaded directly to the root will be treated as anonymous, and will be automatically discarded if incomplete or broken. For anonymous users you can also make an "from anon" folder.
  • Uploaded releases can not be renamed or deleted. Make sure your release is properly named and that you upload it to the right folder. If you can't resume then rename your release or upload to a new subfolder indicating a new retry. Renames and deletion has been disabled for security reasons.
  • Complete your upload with a note. Once you finished uploading your release or batch make a "Completed" or "Finished" folder indicating it's ready for processing.
  • Apply for FTP membership. Apply for membership only after you completed your upload. Any applications prior to upload will automatically be rejected without any notice.

Author:  mrpijey [ Sun May 07, 2017 1:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive

Common member questions with answers.

If there's something not covered in these guides you can post us a question in the forums, or PM a moderator or admin. Any repeating questions or important notes will be posted below for everyone to see.

  • Q: Can I use Daemon Tools or [insert any other tool supporting the format] to make MDF dumps instead of Alcohol 120%?
  • A: No. Since we provide as portable version of Alcohol 120% that works without installation there's no reason to. However, if you are using a different operating system you may use a different tool, but you can also use Alcohol 120% in a virtualized Windows environment if available. Alcohol 120% is our main disc dumping tool and is preferred.

  • Q: Do we allow other languages other than English in the forums?
  • A: No. BetaArchive is first and foremost an English speaking community. We don't have enough moderators to cover several languages and both moderators and administrators must be able to understand and communicate with all members and be able to read and moderate all posts throughout the forum.

  • Q: As a new member, how do I know what's in your archives?
  • A: We have the BetaArchive Database which lists all items available on the FTP.

Author:  mrpijey [ Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive

How to properly name an archived release

This is a guide on how to label a prepared and archived release for upload to the FTP.

To make it easier for me to name your uploads you will have to help me provide the most information about your release. To do this you need to name your archived releases with the proper filename.

To best illustrate it, here's an example:

Microsoft Excel 4.0a (''Crunchy'' 4.00.1234) (1992-09-29) (3.5''-1.44MB) (beta) [English] [DEC OEM].rar

To break it down:

  • Microsoft Excel 4.0a: The full product name with official version number. Required.
  • (''Crunchy'' 4.00.1234): Codename followed by full and expanded version number. For abandonware titles the codename can be omitted. Expanded version number is optional if available.
  • (1992-09-29): The date of the titles release. This is not the same as original release of the product, but the release date of this actual title. Many products gets re-releases and updates so it's important to tag it with the proper date. Year is required, month-day is optional if available.
  • (3.5''-1.44MB): The media the title was released on followed by the size of the media. Use "-DMF" for Microsoft DMF floppy formats. Required for floppies, optional for other media.
  • (beta): Development stage of the title, only used for beta titles. Required only for non-abandonware titles.
  • [English]: Main language of the title. If multiple languages are included list them in an included readme file and label this as [Multilanguage]. Required.
  • [DEC OEM] Optional tags. If there are any additional info that needs to be included, like the OEM vendor in the example, add it within brackets. Optional.

As always you can add any additional information such as details, installation instructions, notices etc. in a separate readme file. Any special instructions to install or use the title will be included with the release in a separate text file. The more info you provide the better.

Any uploaded releases that doesn't follow this naming convention will take longer to process and even be discarded as I have no time to identify the release for you. You provided the release, you know most about it so you need to label it properly.

Author:  mrpijey [ Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive

Contribution guidelines for new FTP members

Read this if you are a new member and want access to our FTP.

To become a FTP member you need to contribute one copy of an original retail title we don't have to the archive. To make sure this is done properly please read this guide, it outlines every step you need to take and also provides you with links to all the tools needed.

If you fail to follow these instructions and apply for FTP access before completing all the steps your application will be rejected with or without notice.

Author:  mrpijey [ Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive

FTP file format glossary

Ever wondered why we keep all the different files on the FTP and what they all mean? Here's a quick glossary...

Main binary files:

media_*.rar: Main release file. Suffix indicates type of media:
  • media_iso.rar ISO9660 image format. Contains only a single session, no copy protections. Often distributed originally by Microsoft.
  • media_mdf.rar: Alcohol 120% image format. Supports all kind of tracks, even some copy protections. Also created and supported by Daemon Tools and DiscImageChef. Preferred optical disc format on BetaArchive!
  • media_dic: DiscImageCreator fileset. Contains several formats (cue, bin, ccd) along with subchannel and metadata files. Requires specific optical drive brands and models to use. Preferred optical disc format on BetaArchive!
  • media_mdx.rar: Same as media_mdf, but both .mdf and .mds file merged into single image file. Created by Daemon Tools, supported by Alcohol 120%.
  • media_ccd.rar: CloneCD image format.
  • media_bincue.rar: Multisession image file, originally created by CDRWin but supported by many tools. Supports multiple tracks.

  • media_img.rar: Raw floppy images. Supported by many tools like Winimage, Rawread, dd etc. Doesn't support custom sectors or copy protections.
  • media_kryoflux.rar: Kryoflux stream files. Contains track per track magnetic flux information for the entire floppy. Preferred floppy disk format on BetaArchive!

Main artwork files:

artwork.rar: Contains all the scanned artwork for the release. Discs, floppies, boxcovers, media covers etc. All artwork is required to be scanned at 600dpi (or better) and saved as PNG or TIF format.

Main documentation files:

documentation.rar: Contains all the scanned documentation for the release. As above, 600dpi (or better) and saved as PNG or TIF.
documentation_fix.rar: Contains scanned but unprocessed documentation.

Release support files:

extras_*.rar: Contains all kind of bonus materials and additional content and files:
  • extras_patches.rar: Contains official patches for the release.
  • extras_fixes.rar: Minor fixes and unofficial patches for the release.
  • extras_bonus.rar: Bonus material for the release.
release_readme.txt: Contains extra information about the release, custom info by the leaker or special instructions.
release_license.txt: Contains license information about the release. Available only for freeware and beta releases, not for abandonware!
release_error.txt: Contains information about missing discs, corrupt data or missing content.

This list will updated whenever there are changes to the FTP layout or additional information becomes available.

Author:  mrpijey [ Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Guide] The definitive guide to BetaArchive

How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using DiscImageCreator

This is a guide on how to properly dump a disc using DiscImageCreator. Any contributions to BetaArchive should be made following this guide.

To dump a CD-ROM with DiscImageCreator you need a compatible drive, check the compatibility list at the DiscImageCreator GitHub page. Dumping DVDs should work fine with any drive, and DiscImageCreator is the preferred tool for dumping DVD-ROMs.

This guide is for Windows users only, but using the commands in the batch files it can be run on Linux as well. Check the GitHub page for a Linux version.

  1. Download the DiscImageCreator ZIP-file we've prepared. This is a pre-packaged version with batch-files to simplify the dumping process.
  2. Unpack the ZIP-file to a folder.
  3. Included are several batch-files:
    • Dump CD.bat (works only with compatible drives, see the compatibility list at the DiscImageCreator GitHub page).
    • Dump CD (Safedisc Protected).bat
    • Dump CD (Securom Protected).bat
    • Dump DVD.bat
    These should be pretty self-explanatory.

    Included with the ZIP-file is a tool called ProtectionID which can help you identify what kind of copy protection your CD-ROM has. This tool only applies to CD-ROMs and can be ignored if you're dumping a DVD-ROM.
  4. Run the appropriate batch file, enter the drive letter (ex. H) for your drive and wait until the dumping finishes. Follow all the instructions and be sure there are no errors reported.
  5. Pack up the entire media_dic folder and upload to BetaArchive according to our upload guidelines.

This guide is a work in progress and will be subjected to changes.

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