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ISO..? Apakah Itu..?


Posted: Sun 2005 Oct 23 7:08:02

ISO's Faq


ISOs

Q. What is an ISO?

A. An ISO is an exact copy of an original CD, all the multimedia bits and pieces are uncut and therefore they are extremely large and awkward to download. The best place to find them is on FTP sites and for an ISO to work correctly it must be burnt onto a blank CD (the exception to the rule is when you use a CD emulator such as Virtual Drive - read on to learn more).

Q. I've just burnt a data ISO, but have ended up with a useless audio CD. What am I doing wrong?

A. Did you load the .cue sheet before burning or just the main .bin file? Maybe your ISO didn't come with a cue file at all because someone forgot to include it. Well whatever the reason, if you've bypassed the cue file you've probably confused your CD writing software. Because the cue file lets your software know which mode to use when burning an ISO if you don't open this file to begin with it automatically uses the default setting (usually it assumes you want to make an audio CD).

Another possible explanation is that you have a corrupt cue file, which contains incorrect file location information. If this is the case you can edit your cue file to check which directory it is pointing to. If your bin file is in a directory other than the one referred to in the cue file you have two options, you either move the bin file to match the path in the cue file or you edit the cue file so that it corresponds to the directory in which your bin file is stored. It is often more practical to delete the path reference altogether and just leave the name of the file. This way your burning software will assume that the bin file and cue file are in the same directory.

And finally, some burning software (such as CD-R Win) contains built in anti-piracy protection so that if you have used a blacklisted serial number or a faulty crack the program will only produce blank or audio CDs. The problem here is that you're not likely to get a little animated character (a la the Mcft helper) to pop up and tell you "we know you're trying to use our product without paying for it and so this program will only create duff CDs". Instead the program just carries on as normal as though everything is going according to plan and creates a useless coaster with no hint of an explanation. The only way around this is to use a better crack or a serial number that you definitely know works (you could ask someone on a bulletin board about their experiences with different numbers).

Q. I've downloaded an ISO, but there's no sign of a cue file. What do I do now?

A. If it's an application which doesn't necessarily have to be installed from a CD you can use ISO Buster to extract the .bin file to your hard drive. Once extracted all that remains to be done is to sift through the files until you find the main installation file and run it. Although this method can be used for games which have to be run from a CD-R it is a bit trickier which is why I'd recommend converting the .bin file into another format before burning it. To do this get hold of the "Bin2Iso Converter" (available from http://www.cdrsoft.net) and use it to convert the file to .iso format. Now acquire a copy EZ CD Creator and use it to open the new .iso file. Finally, select the "create from CD image" option from the file menu and simply burn it in the usual way.

Q. I want to use an ISO, but haven't got a CD writer. Is there any way I can run an ISO from my hard drive?

A. Yes, it's possible to do this. First of all you need to get hold of a program that is capable of extracting ISO format files, Win Image will do very nicely. Install the program, run it and select the "file" option from the menu bar. Now choose the open option. Search through your hard drive for the ISO file you wish to decompress and double click on it. The next step is to return to the menu bar. This time select the "image" option and scroll down the list until you come across the word "extract". If you click on this, a dialogue box should appear to ask you where you would like to extract the files to. Pick a suitable directory and press the extract button.

Now if your ISO happens to be an application you can just browse through the extracted files until you find one labeled setup.exe or install.exe and run it. Once the program is installed you will no longer need the extracted files so they can be deleted to conserve hard drive space (remember to keep the ISO file, however, in case you need to re-install at a later date). Now you can congratulate yourself on a job well done and start using your new application immediately.

On the other hand if you are attempting to install a game, your task is going to be a bit more tricky. First of all you will have to choose one of two options. The first is to install the game and overwrite the main executable file in the directory you have installed the game to with a cracked replacement exe. In this case the game would be playable, but because the crack bypasses any CD checks you will probably lose any audio tracks/ and or video sequences which are stored within the CD image. This is the quick and easy route, but really defeats the object of downloading an ISO file, because then, essentially what you have is a rip. If you decide to take this path make sure you select the "full installation" option if there is one when you install the game to ensure that your hard drive can read the maximum amount of data that is available without accessing the CD itself.

If you are a bit more patient, a better option is to use a piece of CD emulation software. This allows you to keep the extracted image file on your hard drive while tricking your computer into thinking that it is really in your CD drive. A good program to start with is Virtual Drive. Once this is installed all you have to do is select the directory where you have extracted the ISO image file to and choose the "mount" function. This will create a new virtual CD icon which can be accessed through Explorer in the same way as any other normal CD. Because Virtual Drive incorporates "on the fly" data compression your CD images will take up minimal space on your hard drive until the moment they are being accessed. Also, because hard drives are many times faster than CD drives your games will run at a lightning fast pace without the need to wait for your drive to start up. To begin using a virtual CD simply double click on its icon as though it were a real CD and wait for the installation menu appear. Now install the game and play as usual with the added bonus that you'll never be able to lose the CD behind the couch because there isn't one.

Q. But I don't like Virtual Drive, are there any other programs which will perform the same function?

A. Yup, have a wander over to Daemon's Home and see what you can find. An even better solution, however, is to stump up the cash for a CD writer. They're very cheap nowadays and really are an essential part of any warezoholic's toolkit. I don't know how I'd live without mine!

Q. What is an SFV file?

A. These are tiny files which can be created using a program called Win SFV. They can be opened in any text editor and serve to verify the CRC status of a set of compressed files to make sure that the files that you have on your hard drive are identical to the ones that were originally uploaded to the net. Apparently, if you want to do it the sexy way you can use Hoopy's PD SFV. Not only will this utility enable you to check your SFV files, it will also allow you to create new ones for your own DIY releases.

Q. I'm trying to burn an ISO image file, but it's much larger than the capacity of my CD-Rs. How do I make it fit?

A. ISO images very often contain more data than you can squeeze onto a 650mb or 700mb CD-R, but this is nothing to worry about. You see these inflated ISO files also contain all the necessary formatting information needed to reproduce the original CD. This can be anywhere in the region of a few to hundreds of megabytes. However, what is important is not the size of the file to begin with, but the estimated time it will occupy on the burnt CD. If in doubt open the "CD Info" dialog box within your CD writing software and look for a reference to how many minutes worth of data your ISO is going to require. If this is less than 74 minutes use a standard CD-R and if it is somewhere between 74 and 80 minutes use an extra length 700mb CD-R.

Q. How can I tell whether or not a CD has been copy protected?

A. You can sometimes guess what method of protection has been used manually by looking at the contents or the physical structure of a CD, but a much more accurate way would be to use CD Protection Scout. This completely free utility will automatically detect the presence of a multitude of different protection systems and report its findings in an easy to understand format. Once you have this vital information at your fingertips you can enter it into Clone CD to produce a perfect copy of whatever it is you wish to duplicate.

Q. I've downloaded an ISO archive containing three files with the extensions CCD, IMG and SUB. What am I supposed to do with them?

A. These files are part of an image created using Clone CD. The CCD file works in a similar fashion to the CUE files mentioned above, which you are probably more familiar with. A CCD file contains information regarding the logical structure of the CD and is the file you would open in Clone CD in order to burn the image to a CD-R. When this file is opened the other two files are automatically processed providing they are stored in the same directory and share the same filename. The IMG, or image file, contains the main channel data of all tracks of the CD and the SUB file contains the sub channel data of all the tracks of the CD. To burn a Clone CD image you would select "write from file" from the "file" menu, browse for the CCD file and select OK.

Q. Which program should I use to extract an ISO in C2D format?

A. The C2D format was originally devised by Cequadrat and is designed to be used with their homegrown CD writing app, Win On CD. However, this is a very bulky and unnecessary download if you only wish to use it to burn one ISO. Instead you might want to try ISO Buster, which is a mere one meg download and is free to boot. As well as offering support for Win On CD file types, ISO Buster can also handle Nero, Clone CD, Blind Read and EZ CD Creator formats without breaking into a sweat so is a good all round burning prog to add to your collection.

Q. If it's so easy to bypass the copy protection of original CDs using Clone CD why don't the release groups use it?

A. That's a very good question and one that's very difficult to answer definitively. Clone CD has been used in the past to produce warez releases, but they tend to be just the older games and applications which most people already have or aren't interested in - this is why they haven't received much attention on warez sites. Quite recently a release group (whose name escapes me at the moment) appeared who specialised in old cloned games, but they seem to have vanished just as quickly as they arrived - I expect they were heralded as impostors and hounded out by the "real" crackers.

Although Clone CD doesn't get on well with all hardware configurations, I don't think the problem lies in incompatibility issues. To use a Clone CD release you don't necessarily have to have a CD writer as you can convert the image files to another format and then extract them to your hard drive to be used with Virtual Drive or a similar CD mounting program. On the other hand if you have got a CD writer, but one which doesn't support Clone CD, you can convert the files to a format which your writer does support and then burn it to a CD afterwards.

I think a lot of it comes down to tradition; cracking an original CD is a fine art form which takes many years to master and I doubt very much that the release groups relish the prospect of being usurped by an automated program. I'm sure that in many cases Clone CD could quite easily put the crackers out of a job, but it's a job they're not willing to give up without a battle.

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