Newbie - start me batman

First things first -
Great to find this forum and -
thanks in advance.

I’m a (unemployed) s/w engineer and pretty knowledgable on systems, and I am willing and able to do the homework and rtfm for any and all products discussed here. Yet, as everyone, I too have a life so I seek to minimize time spent running down info and trouble shoot hardware. I’m willing to buy software, I just want to know it works first. I’m willing to accept a piece of hardware sucks, I’d just like reasonable proof. Obviously once I get a real job again things will get easier, but for now - cost counts more than ever. I’d like to share info, and ask some questions as I’m pretty new to the burner world. That said -


  • WIN 2000 Prof. w/latest SP’s
  • Abit KT-7 RAID, VIA (KT133?) chipset. Athlon TBird 850Mhz. RAID disabled, occasionallly enabled for hard/mirror backup.
  • 256MB RAM, 1GB virtual.
  • 7200 rpm hard drives, should be running with ATA100 on their own IDE channel. 30GB System drive, 80GB data drive.
  • Buslink DVDRW/8X DVD ±R/±RW (new) IDE0 Master (secondary IDE channel, ATA/33 I believe)
  • TDK Velocd CDRW 40/12/48B IDE0 Slave
  • As best I can tell DMA is enabled (VIA - has auto setting) for all disk devices.
  • USB printer and joystick/wheel, thumb drive - all work, but USB is early VIA v1.0 and its VERY flaky. Printer often goes wacko.
  • Adaptec 2940 UW SCSI, currently unused, but occasionally external SCSI devices (ie: Jazz) connected. I don’t believe I’m running their ASPI, but I may be. I think WIN2K likes to use its own (How to check/confirm?)
  • Creative SB Live Platinum w/ live drive
  • ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon graphics (AGP)
  • Firewire PCI interface card.
  • 3Com 10/100 PCI Ethernet card.

That’s about it. Everything is working pretty well (knock on wood). No overclocking currently.

My questions are these:

  1. New DVD burner. Which DVD copy tools do you recommend?
    (see my list below)

VSO’s CopyToDVD is problematic - got it to burn once I backed off the write speed to 2.4x (DVDRW), and 4x on DVD+R media. My main question here (# 2 below) revolves around creating a backup of a few games - even just the play cd’s. I may want to use the DVD drive to read these game cd’s because my TDK might be too old (1-2 years?) to support some of the tweak utilities’ parameters discussed here.

  1. Games backups:
    Again - what tools do you recommend?
  • Epic/Atari’s UT2004. I understand the Play CD uses Securom technology. The copy I made using BlindWrite5 was rejected. Conversations with vso basically said to use BW tweaker. I’d like to try it with my new DVD burner, but the trial period has expired. I’d like to see this program work before paying for it - any suggestions?

  • EA’s Need for Speed Underground -
    Same issues essentially.

Lucasarts’ Armed and Dangerous -
Same issues.

Final points -
I have the following CD/RW tools installed:

  • ClonyXXL v2.0.1.5
  • Alcoholer v4.1
  • BW5Tweaker v1.5.6
  • CloneDB v2.0.0.2
  • Nero v5.5.10.0 (for my TDK drive only)
  • Roxio CD Creator
    (I’d like to have BlindWrite5, see above)

Many of these tools are pretty useless without BlindWrite5…

DVD tools installed:

  • vso CopyToDVD v3.0.4.12 (problematic but moderately functional tool, not yet registered and soon to expire)
  • Sonic MyDVD
  • CloneDVD v1.3.11.2 (seems like a decent tool, not yet registered and soon to expire)
  • DVD Shrink v3.1

Finally - which of these do you recommend keeping - is BlindWrite5 reliable and worth buying?

I’d like a good set of procedures for doing these backups with a reliable set of tools - obviously so I can minimize the coasters and not waste money on redundant or nonfunctional software.

In closing - I’ll keep future posts brief - just wanted to list the essentials and get it out of the way…


Hi deraeler and welcome to the forums :slight_smile:

To answer your questions:

  1. There’s lots of software out there that can do the job for you. My personal choice is CloneDVD due to its ease of use and straightforwardness, not that other tools are more difficult. DVD Shrink is great also, not to mention free and people praise its quality.

My personal opinion is that up to a certain compression ratio ie 60-70% you will probably see no difference between the two and probably most other software available. For less than 60% DVD Shrink will probably do a better job.

The equipment you will use to watch the backups also plays an important role ; playing on high-end systems will make artifacts more visible.

  1. As far as making backups of protected games, the most up to date software currently is Alcohol 120% and the BlindWrite Suite. Both will do the job for you, if you spent some time to get familiarized with them. I’d suggest trying both before making your choice, you might find one to be less difficult than the other.

The hardware used is also important - you might find emulation to be the only way to go when you come against the latest protection versions. Your TDK might be a rebadged lite-on which is a good thing (dont exactly remember now and dont have the txt file i make note of these things available now). I am not aware of the capabilities of the Buslink drive unfortunately. Untill someone that knows drops in, your best chance lies with trying them out yourself. Using cdrws might save you a few coasters before making a successful backup.

Hope i was of some help, dont hesitate to ask whatever else might trouble you.

Thanks for the insights. nfurtunately, BW5 trial period is expired and cant test w/my new drive.

Do you feel the relative lack of speed on my system will significantly affect my results, esp. (if I understand what BWA’s are - which Iprobably dont) using BWA tools?

Whats your feeling on ClonyXXL - I believe this is designed to be used w/Alcohol. corect?

DVDShrink and CloneDVD worked admirably, I’m inclined o buy CloneDVD unless you can give me a compleeing reason to go with another
(CopytoDVD, or other).