Microsoft

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.

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