How the Mac Does Disks

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How the Mac Does Disks

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Chapter 11. CDs, DVDs, and iTunes How the Mac Does Disks Burning CDs and DVDs iTunes: The Digital Jukebox DVD Movies 11.1. How the Mac Does Disks Apple shocked the world when

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  1. Chapter 11. CDs, DVDs, and iTunes How the Mac Does Disks Burning CDs and DVDs iTunes: The Digital Jukebox DVD Movies 11.1. How the Mac Does Disks Apple shocked the world when, in 1998, it introduced the iMac without a floppy disk drive—and proceeded to eliminate the floppy drive from all subsequent Mac models in the following years. Apple argued that the floppy disk was dead: It was too small to serve as a backup disk, and, in the Internet age, it was a redundant method of exchanging files with other computers. These days, even Windows PC manufacturers have left the floppy drive for dead. Joining it in the great CompUSA in the sky: Zip disks, Jaz disks, SyQuest disks, SuperDisks, Peerless disks… 11.1.1. Disks Today So what's springing up to take the floppy's place? Let us count the disks: 11.1.1.1. Hard drives and the iPod Thanks to the Mac's FireWire or USB jacks, it's easier than ever to attach an external hard drive for extra storage. It would be hard to imagine a more convenient second hard drive than, for example, Apple's iPod. Most models are not only outstanding MP3 music players but also double as self-powered, extremely compact, bootable hard drives. 11.1.1.2. CDs, DVDs You wouldn't get far in today's computer world without a CD/DVD drive. Most commercial software comes on a CD or DVD—not to mention the music CDs that the Mac can play so expertly. CD-ROM stands for "compact disc, read-only memory"—in other words, you can't freely add and delete files from one, as you can from a hard drive.
  2. But your Mac can also record onto blank CDs, of course, and probably blank DVDs too, thanks to a built-in CD/DVD burner. A burner can record onto either of two kinds of blank discs: • CD-R (or DVD-R). You can fill this type of disc with your own files—once. (The R stands for recordable.) The disc can't be erased, although you can add to it (see Section 10.30.9). • CD-RW (or DVD-RW).The initials stand for rewritable; using Disk Utility (Section 10.23.1.4), you can erase one of these discs and rerecord it, over and over again. Of course, CD-RW and DVD-RW blank discs are somewhat more expensive than the one-shot kind. The standard Mac CD/DVD drive can also play DVD movies that you've rented or bought, but you may also occasionally use it for data DVDs—that is, DVDs that contain Mac files or software installers. Most Leopard-capable Macs contain what Apple calls the Super Drive: a drive, actually made by a company like Pioneer or Matsushita, that can play and record DVDs (and CDs, too). A SuperDrive means that you can use blank DVDs as massive backup disks that hold 4.7 GB or 8.5 GB each. (That's 4.7 gigs for regular blank DVDs, and 8.5 gigs on the newer, more expensive dual-layer blanks. Not all Macs recognize dual-layer DVDs, though. Check your copy of System Profiler, as described on Section 10.30.19.) If you've used iMovie to edit your home camcorder footage, you can also save them onto one of these DVDs for playback in standard home DVD players—the perfect way to distribute your masterpiece to friends and family with spectacular quality. The first generations of SuperDrive could record only onto so-called DVD-R and DVD- RW blank discs (note the hyphen).The latest SuperDrives, found in, for example, the Power Mac G5, can also record your files onto DVD+R and DVD+RW discs (note the plus sign), which have dangerously similar names but very different formatting. 11.1.1.3. Flash drives The most recent invention is among the most convenient: tiny, keychain-sized flash drives or thumb drives, which plug directly into your USB jack and serve as low-capacity hard drives with no moving parts. Inside, they contain nothing but RAM—pure memory. Flash drives are fantastic, inexpensive gadgets that typically hold between 128 megabytes and 64 gigabytes. They work on any Mac or Windows PC, and don't require any drivers or special software installation. Ask for one for your birthday. 11.1.2. Disks In, Disks Out
  3. When you insert a disk, its icon shows up in three places (unless you've changed your Finder preferences): on the right side of the screen, in the Computer window, and in the Sidebar (Section 1.2). To see what's on a disk you've inserted, double-click its icon. Note: You can make the Mac work like Windows, if you choose. For example, to open a single window containing icons of all currently inserted disks, choose Go Computer (which produces the rough equivalent of the My Computer window).To complete the illusion that you're running Windows, you can even tell Mac OS X not to put disk icons on the desktop at all. Just choose Finder Preferences, click General, and turn off the four top checkboxes—"Hard disks," "External disks," "CDs, DVDs, and iPods," and "Connected servers." They'll no longer appear on the desktop—only in your Computer window. (You can stop them from appearing in the Sidebar, too, by clicking the Sidebar button in the Finder preferences and turning off the same checkboxes.) Figure 11-1. You may see all kinds of disks on the Mac OS X desktop (shown here:hard drive, CD, iPod, iDisk)—or none at all, if you've chosen to hide them using the Finder Preferences command. But chances are pretty good you won't be seeing many floppy disk icons. To remove a disk from your Mac, use one of these methods: • Hold down the Eject key on your keyboard. Mac keyboards, both on laptops and desktops, have a special Eject key ( ), usually in the upper-right corner. Hold it down for a moment to make a CD or DVD pop out. (If you don't have an Eject key, hold down F12 instead.) • Drag its icon onto the Trash icon. For years, this technique has confused and frightened first-time Mac users. Their typical reaction: Doesn't the Trash mean "delete"? Yes, but only when you drag file or folder icons there—not disk icons. Dragging a disk icon into the Trash (at the end of the Dock) makes the Mac spit the disk out. (If you've dragged a disk image icon or the icon of a networked disk, this maneuver unmounts them—that is, gets them off your screen.) The instant you begin dragging a disk icon, the Trash icon on the Dock changes form, as though to reassure the novice that dragging a disk icon there will only
  4. eject the disk. As you drag, the wastebasket icon morphs into a giant-sized logo. • Highlight the disk icon, and then choose File Eject (or press -E). The disk pops out. • Control-click (or right-click) the disk icon. Choose Eject from the shortcut menu. • Use the Sidebar. Click the button next to a disk's name in the Sidebar. Tip: Any of these techniques also work to get network disks and disk images off your screen. 11.1.3. Startup Disks When you turn the Mac on, it hunts for a startup disk—that is, a disk containing a System folder. If you've ever seen the dispiriting blinking folder icon on a Mac's screen, you know what happens when the Mac can't find a startup disk. It blinks like that forever, or until you find and insert a disk with a viable System folder on it. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION The Eject Button That Doesn't When I push the key on my keyboard (or the Eject button on my CD-ROM drawer), howcome the CD doesn't come out? There might be three things going on. First of all, some file on the disc might be open—that is, in use by one of your programs. You're not allowed to eject the disc until that file is closed. Second, to prevent accidental pushings, the Eject key on the modern Mac keyboard is designed to work only when you hold it down steadily for a second or two. Just tapping it doesn't work. Third, remember that once you've inserted a disk, the Mac won't let go unless you eject it in one of the official ways. On Mac models with a CD tray (drawer), pushing the button on the CD-ROM
  5. door opens the drawer only when it's empty. If there's a disc in it, you can push that button till doomsday, but the Mac will simply ignore you. That behavior especially confuses people who are used to working with Windows. (On a Windows PC, pushing the CD button does indeed eject the disc.) But on the Mac, pushing the CD-door button ejects an inserted disc only when the disc wasn't seated properly, or the Mac couldn't read the disc for some other reason, and the disc's icon never appeared onscreen. The Eject key on the modern Mac keyboard, however, isn't so fussy. It pops out whatever CD or DVD is in the drive. Oh—and if a CD or DVD won't come out at all (and its icon doesn't show up on the desktop), restart the Mac. Keep the mouse button pressed as the Mac restarts to make the disc pop out. And if even that technique doesn't work, look for a tiny pinhole in or around the slot. Inserting a straightened paper clip, slowly and firmly, will also make the disc pop out. 11.1.3.1. Creating a startup disk By installing the Mac OS onto a disk—be it a hard drive or a DVD—you can create a startup disk. Not all disks are capable of starting up the Mac, but any Leopard Mac can start up from an external FireWire hard drive. 11.1.3.2. Selecting a startup disk It's perfectly possible to have more than one startup disk simultaneously attached to your Mac. That's the deal, for example, whenever you've inserted the Mac OS X DVD into your Mac: Both your main hard drive and the DVD contain a System folder, and each is a startup disk. Some veteran Mac fans deliberately create other startup disks— using iPods, for example—so that they can easily start the Mac up from a backup disk, or from a different version of the OS. Only one System folder can be operational at a time. So how does the Mac know which to use as its startup disk? You make your selection in the Startup Disk pane of System Preferences (Figure 11-2).
  6. Tip: If you're in a hurry to start the machine up from a different disk, just click the disk icon and then click Restart in the System Preferences window. You don't have to close the System Preferences window first. Figure 11-2. In the Startup Disk pane of System Preferences, the currently selected disk—the one that will be "in force" the next time the machine starts up—is always highlighted. You also see the System folder's version, the name of the drive it's on, and its actual name. 11.1.4. Erasing a Disk Mac OS X doesn't have an Erase Disk command at the desktop. When you want to erase a disk (such as a DVD-RW disc), the only tool Apple gives you is Disk Utility, which sits in your Applications Utilities folder. This is the same program you use to erase, repair, or subdivide (partition) a hard drive. Once you've opened Disk Utility, click the name of the disk (in the left-side list), click the Erase tab, and then click the Erase button. You won't be able to do so, though, if: • The disk is a standard CD-ROM, DVD, a previously recorded CD-R disc, or a disk elsewhere on the network. • You're trying to erase the startup disk. You can't wipe out the disk that contains the currently running System folder any more than you can paint the floor directly beneath your feet. (To erase your built-in hard drive, for example, you must start up from the Mac OS X DVD.)
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