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Using Vista's Mastered optical disc format

Vista allows you to use your CDs or DVDs as you would a floppy disk or a USB flash drive in a format called Mastered, which older versions of Windows and other operating systems can read. Greg Shultz shows how to find and use the Mastered optical disc format.

Vista's new Live File System optical disc format allows you to use your CDs or DVDs as you would a floppy disk or a USB flash drive. By default, the Live File System is only readable by Windows Vista and Windows XP systems.

Vista provides access to a more universal format called Mastered, which older versions of Windows and other operating systems can read. Mastered is as easy to use as burning a CD in Windows XP, where you would copy a file or a group of files to the disc all at once. Once you do, the disc is closed, and you cannot copy more files to the disc nor can you delete the existing files.

In this issue of the Windows Vista Report, I'll show you how to find and use the Mastered optical disc format. (For my examples, I'll use a DVD-RW drive and CD-R optical discs.)

Creating a Mastered optical disc

When you insert a blank optical disc into an RW drive in Vista, you'll see the AutoPlay dialog box (Figure A). Vista assumes that you will be formatting a data disc. To continue, press [Enter] or click the Burn Files To Disc button.

Figure A

Figure A

The default option in the AutoPlay dialog box is set to format a data disc.
When you see the Burn A Disc dialog box (Figure B), you'll need to click Show Formatting Options. (Leave the default title as is; Vista will ignore any change you make here, but it will prompt you for a name in the Burn To Disc wizard.)

Figure B

Figure B

To see more options, click Show Formatting Options.
Once the dialog box expands, select the Mastered option (Figure C). Click the Next button to continue.

Figure C

Figure C

When you expand the Burn A Disc dialog box, select the Mastered option.
A drive window will appear with the Drag Files To This Folder To Add Them To The Disc message at the top of the file pane (Figure D). At this point, you can begin dragging and dropping files to the drive.

Figure D

Figure D

When the folder window appears, you'll see a message that informs you that the disc is ready for use as media storage.
After you drag a group of files to the drive and get a message in the notification area telling you that you have files waiting to be burned to the disc, begin the burn operation by clicking the Burn To Disc button on the toolbar (Figure E).

Figure E

Figure E

Click the Burn To Disc button to start the actual copy operation.
When you see the Burn To Disc wizard (Figure F), fill in the Disc Title text box. If this will be a one-time burn operation, select the Close The Wizard After The Files Have Been Written check box. To continue, click the Next button.

Figure F

Figure F

The Burn To Disc wizard will finish out the operation.
You'll see a progress bar as the files write to the disc (Figure G).

Figure G

Figure G

The progress bar lets you know the status of the burn operation.
When the burn is done, the disc will eject, and the entire operation is complete. If you do not select the Close The Wizard After The Files Have Been Written check box (Figure F), you will see the last screen in the wizard (Figure H). To complete the operation, click the Finish button.

Figure H

Figure H

The final screen in the wizard notifies you that the operation is complete.

What do you think of the Mastered format?

Have you used the Mastered format for optical discs? If not, will you begin to use it? Post your thoughts in this article's discussion.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

16 comments
frankmr
frankmr

Mine worked beautifully until one of my recent Windows updates and now all I get is a live cd (UDF format). I am frustrated because when I follow the procedure and check "mastered", my CD is incomplete. Help.

NICHOLSINGHENT
NICHOLSINGHENT

Why is it that everytime I go through the mastered process to download information to a disk and the system says complete there is nothing on the disk when I check it?

chaoscreater
chaoscreater

how do i get the live file system for XP? I have Vista but my XP runs better cuz it's tweaked and Vista is too resource consuming so i dont wanna use my Vista, but the Live File System is so useful as i can use my discs that hasn't been filled up and the discs that i don't wanna use anymore, but how do i get this for XP?

JRL21
JRL21

I haven't used it yet, but no doubt will use one if not bot features. I have one Vista PC with my other two running XP. I now completely understand both Mastered and the Live File System as you explained it very well.It's cool technology and it leaves you with a tough decision: Do ya risk it with Masterred(my choice) not being able to format or edit the dics content while being able to port the disk to different OSs. Or go with LFS not bein' able to port anything. Very cool, thanks for letting me in on it man.

Hal's Web Shop
Hal's Web Shop

After the disc is closed can it be opened again later to add more files?

leelord
leelord

I'm a little confused as to whether or not if you use Mastered and you don't choose "close the disk" are you able to treat that disk as you would in "Windows Live File System Optical Disk Format" where the CD-R can be used like a floppy in adding more data incrementally and deleting files? The heading for this page states: "Vista allows you to use your CDs or DVDs for storage as you would a floppy disk or a USB flash drive in a format called Mastered" .... but I see no indication in the instructions that in using "Mastered" that the CD can be reused to add or delete more files. So other than being able to play these disk on older OS's what exactly is the difference between "Windows Live File System" and "Mastered"?

simon_mackay
simon_mackay

Hi all! I make a habit of using this format when copying digital images to CD to give to other people. From my experience, this has allowed for the discs to be viewed not just on MacOS or UNIX (Linux) boxes but on DVD players that can show JPEG images (which covers most units made since model-year 2004). This means that a person who receives the pictures can view them not just on their computer but on the big-screen TV in the living room. I am also sure that they can go to a digital-image printing facility, whether a "self-service" kiosk or a digital photolab who will make prints from every image on the CD you hand them, and have the images printed. This is of importance when supplying copies of your digital pictures to those of us who don't own or aren't comfortable wiht using computers. With regards, Simon Mackay

Brent Stevenson
Brent Stevenson

I would actually like to know how to disable the useless live format altogether, or to be able to set the Mastered format to be the default for burning discs.

leelord
leelord

No, once closed you can't add more files.

jlaw1
jlaw1

It reads: "Vista?s new Live File System optical disc format allows you to use your CDs or DVDs as you would a floppy disk or a USB flash drive. By default, the Live File System is only readable by Windows Vista and Windows XP systems." The article then goes on to say that using the "Mastered" format to copy a group of files but in using this format you would not be able copy more files to the disc nor could you delete those files, from the disk of course.

bruceslog
bruceslog

Read the Article... figure C answers your question. --Live File works like InCD and allows you to rewrite and erase, but only works on Vista and XP. --Mastered is single session only and closes the disc... no rewriting or deleting. BUT, that disc will be readable by all computers and some CD and DVD Players. Information taken from Figure C in the article.

armchairmusician
armchairmusician

Ditto - In a mixed environment, this is definitely needed.

vinceplaza
vinceplaza

I understand Lee's confusion. The article body and the summary description are out of sync. That aside, I was hoping the Live File format would work similar to Roxio's product, where I could drag and drop on multiple occasions and "finalize" the disc only at the point in time when it was full or I needed to share with other user's systems. This makes more sense for digital image archiving. Maybe in SP1...

philip.humphries
philip.humphries

So - can it be made the default? Someone please tell me how!!!!

leelord
leelord

Yes that's what was confusing me, the difference in the summary description and the article body. It was contradicting itself and I just wanted a clarifaction. Thank you!