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

To make a perfect scan for preservation purposes you need to fill these requirements:

  • Clean your surfaces. I want only the scan of the software materials, not your DNA test, fingerprints or recent food samples. Be sure to clean all surfaces (including scanner cover) thoroughly with a microfiber cloth or damp cleaning cloth. Avoid oil based cleaning agents as they leave a residue. Clean your discs from hand written notes.
  • Paper scans only. Remove any covers from their plastic enclosures and scan only the paper sheets. Remove any discs before scanning the disc sleeves.
  • Minimum 600dpi. To be able to properly edit and adjust the scan I need a high resolution scan to work with. Many discs and floppies also have small details in their artwork which is lost when you use low resolution.
  • Save as PNG or TIF. Saving the scan as JPG only destroys the scan, even at high resolution. JPG is a lossy compression, PNG and TIF is not.
  • No post-editing. Do not attempt to edit the scan after you scanned it. You may lose vital information or change the colors beyond repair. I will do any needed adjustments to the scans after they are uploaded.
  • Use wide margins. Many scans have their edges cut off, or the edges of the discs cut off. This only cheapens the scan and makes it look unprofessional and bad. Use wide margins so I can easily rotate and move around the scan without cutting off vital data. Don't use auto-margins in your scanning software.
  • Align your media. Many discs and floppies have reflective surfaces, if you don't properly align the disc the reflections will be wrong and it will look awful once it's been properly aligned by me. The less I need to adjust the scan the better.
  • White background. Use a white background if possible, if your scanner has a different background color then please put a white sheet of paper between the scanner lid and media. The more neutral background you use the better. This is of course not possible with packaging etc, but with floppies and discs it is.
  • Individual scans. If you got multiple discs or floppies to scan then scan them individually, or make sure there is more than enough space between and around each item.
  • Scan everything. Try to scan all the content you got. All the sides of boxes and covers, all documentation (front and back is required, all pages are optional), additional ads, offers, maps etc. The more you include the more complete the preservation will be.
  • Review your results! Be sure that all your scans are up to above specifications before you pack it up for upload. Make sure all scans are aligned, clean, complete and sharp in quality.

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 preserved.

Here are some examples of good and bad scans with descriptions:


Rotation is wrong, so reflection on the blank surface will be wrong. Align properly before scan.


Make sure you got wide white margins around the scanned object. Do not crop, alter or adjust in any way.

These also applies to floppies and any other material you scan.


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 the following guidelines:

  • Clean all surfaces. Clean all the media and cover surfaces as well as your background surface. Grime, hair and dust is of no use.
  • Use the highest resolution of the camera. We're not interested in grainy low quality facebook-esque pictures. All the text on the media should be easily readable.
  • Take out any paper covers from the casings. No plastic casings in the photo unless the artwork is printed directly on it.
  • Use a clean white background. Use a white flat sheet of printer paper. Any completely white background works but be sure it's flat and without a glossy surface to reduce reflections from the photos.
  • Use proper light. Using a regular ceiling lamp creates a lot of reflections and glare, if possible take your photos in natural daylight or use an indirectional light source.
  • Center your artwork. Put the disc and covers in the center of the white background and photo directly from above to reduce any angles. Don't cut off any sides.
  • Photograph everything. Take photos of all covers (front and back), front manuals etc. The more the better.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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