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"Introduction to Binary Newsgroups: CD Burning Software" 
  02/15/2002

In the last tutorial, we looked at how you can repair damaged downloads using PAR files or various decompression packages. We’ll now look at the types of files you are likely to encounter after you extract your downloads and how to deal with them. For starters, you’ll need a CD-RW drive if you plan to make a CD from the files you download. You’ll also need 3rd party software to burn the CD’s. If you wish to extract the files to your hard drive only, we’ll go over an option on how you can do that as well.

There are several common types of “image files" you will find in the binary Newsgroups. These image files are not pictures. Instead, they are files that were created in a 3rd party software package. Common files include CDI, ISO, NRG, CCD, and BIN/CUE. Many of these files can be handled by more than one application, and although we won’t have the opportunity to list every program, we’ll deal with several of the most common.

The following list will help you to quickly identify the file type that you are dealing with and the applications that can be used to make a CD:

  • ISO: Widely used format. DiscJuggler, Nero, Fireburner, Roxio EZ CD Creator
  • CDI: DiscJuggler
  • NRG: Nero
  • CCD: CloneCD
  • BIN/CUE: CDRWIN, Nero, Fireburner

By just glancing at the list, you can see that many of the programs work for different file types. With this in mind, you will probably want to wait to see the file type you will most often encounter so that you can purchase it from the respective vendors. Unfortunately, there can be problems when trying to burn these types of files. For example, although CDRWIN, Fireburner and Nero are all listed to handle BIN/CUE files, they don’t always handle the files equally. You are sure to find times when one of them will burn a CD correctly while the others will not. There is probably no way around this problem.

These packages can be found at the following web sites:

The applications all work a little bit differently but the ideas are the same. Suppose you have a BIN/CUE image you wish to burn to a CD. You see on the list that CDRWIN and Fireburner both handle these files. If you open CDRWIN, you will find a series of icons, one of which will say “Write from image file" when you point your mouse at it. If you click this button, you will be presented with a screen where you can choose your CD-RW drive and the image file you are burning (in this case a CUE file). You click the image, and off you go. If you were to need to burn the same CD with Fireburner, you can simply double-click the CUE file to open Fireburner and then right-click on the window that appears to display a menu. From the menu, you can choose Burn/Test Burn and you’ll be on your way. The formats that work with only a single tool (such as Nero’s NRG) are often the easiest to use as they can often be opened by simply opening them from the file menu like any Windows file.

If you don’t have a CD-RW drive or do not want to burn a CD, you can still access the files inside some of the images. First, you’ll need to get yourself a program called ISOBuster. You can find this file at www.isobuster.com where it can be freely downloaded. Although it is free, there is also a link on the site on how you can make a donation. I’d strongly encourage you to do so. It can work with many common formats including *.DAO (Duplicator), *.TAO (Duplicator), *.ISO (Nero, BlindRead, Creator), *.BIN (CDRWin), *.IMG (CloneCD), *.CIF (Creator), *.FCD (Uncompressed), *.NRG (Nero), *.GCD (Prassi), *.P01 (Toast), *.C2D (WinOnCD), *.CUE (CDRWin), *.CIF (DiscJuggler). You simply open the files in ISOBuster and are presented with a list of files and folders that can be extracted from the image file. You can extract all of the files this way or just the ones that you need.

This is probably the final tutorial in this series. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future tutorials, please feel free to post messages. Good luck with your downloading.

 - by Clayton Crooks

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