Thursday, February 12, 2004

Alcohol 120%

Back up your copy-protected CDs

When I purchased my first CD-R drive (1X speed), the standard for burning CD-Rs was Easy CD Creator. Somewhere between the launch of Windows 2000 and the launch of Windows XP, Easy CD's market share started to give way to Nero's market share.

Today, Nero is my CD-burning software of choice. It's rock-solid, it's easy-to-use, and it works great for burning and backing up data and music CDs. But it can't handling copy-protected data CDs such as games.

Most new games released in the United States have some form of copy protection. If you stick a new game in your CD-ROM drive, put a blank in your CD-R, and click copy, you'll likely get errors and the copied disc won't work. The solution: Alcohol 120%.

Copy protection

There are several CD copy protection solutions, including SafeDisc, StarForce, and SecuRom. Most of these solutions work by duplicating errors. When it's created, a copy-protected data disc is burned with unique errors or physical flaws. Under normal usage these errors are ignored. But when you try to copy the disc, the CD-burning software tries to correct these errors. After receiving the first few errors, the burning software decides the disc is damaged and aborts the burn.

Alcohol 120% can duplicate these errors on new CD-Rs using a different backup method for each type of copy protection. Backing up your games is a two-step process:

You must identify the type of copy protection used on your games. But how? Use the Internet.
Fire up Alcohol 120% and select Copy Wizard.
Under Datatype choose the copy protection of your game.
Click Next and begin your burn.

Hard-drive backup

With Alcohol 120% you can also back up and run your games on your hard drive.

Choose the Image Making Wizard in Alcohol 120%.
Choose Datatype.
Select the copy protection of your game.
Click Backup. This will create a duplicate CD image on your hard drive.

Once you have the image on the hard drive, you can mount it as a virtual CD drive and run the game directly from your hard disk. Not only does this save you from swapping out CDs, but it also runs the game up to 200 times faster than a standard CD-ROM drive.

Learn more about Alcohol 120% and download a free trial copy.

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