June 2
The 58-Second Tutorial
Making a Boot CD
The simple solution to mankind's greatest challenge

by David Nagel
Executive Producer

In case you hadn't noticed, our 58-Second Tutorials have been running more like 58 days of late. This week we're going to take it down a notch and keep it a bit shorter—albeit no less significant—than previous weeks and work on a problem that has been plaguing mankind since the advent of Mac OS 9: the making of a bootable CD. The problem usually goes a little something like this:

The scenario
"Hey Ted, can you burn me a copy of my OS 9 install disc so I can have a backup?"

"Oh, you mean like you needed that backup of Brood War? And that backup of Carmageddon 2? And Pod Racer? And Barbie Dress-Up Slumber Party?"

"I'm not certain what you're implying, but my license agreement clearly states that I'm allowed to make one copy of my CD for back-up purposes. And that Barbie CD was for my niece."

"Whatever, dude. Just give me your retarded OS 9 CD. I don't know why you don't just switch to a PC anyway."

"You shut your filthy little mouth and burn me my CD."

"Fine. Jerk."

The next day, Ted comes back with your CD. He even put it in a jewel case and made you a little label—both at his expense. But something's amiss. Terribly amiss. You take your new CD home and try to use it, but it won't boot. It'll mount. You can read the data on it. But, try as you might, you just can't get it to boot.

Is it because your friend Ted is stupid? Yes. But that's what you get for being friends with a PC user. And even if Ted were using a Mac to copy your CD, chances are he still wouldn't make it bootable. Using a Mac can't make you any less stupid than you already were. So it's time to buy yourself a burner and do it right. For this tutorial, we'll assume that you have now gone out and bought one. In my case, I went and bought a ZipCD from Iomega. It's way too expensive for a 4x CD burner, but at least it came with Adaptec Toast. And it works great. Don't buy anything that doesn't come with Toast.

The actual tutorial
So, now you've gone and done it. You lost your original CD. It was a good thing you made a backup. But your backup won't boot. Here's what you do.

1. Insert the non-bootable CD into your CD-ROM drive and a blank CD into your CD recorder.

2. Launch Toast and select Files and Folders from the little pull-down menu on the main screen.

3. Click the Data button. A dialog box will pop up that says, "Drag files and folders to this area." Don't do that. Instead, click "New CD." Then name your CD whatever you want. Remember, the name will be permanent.

4. Now click the button called "Add...." Another dialog box appears asking you to pick your file or folder. Select the whole CD and click Add and then Done. This will create a subfolder on your new CD with the name of the CD you're copying.

5. Now move the System Folder out of the subfolder and onto the root level of your new CD.

6. Now the most important step: Create a new folder at the root level of your new CD called "Desktop Folder." You can't boot from a CD without adding this folder manually. Just click "New Folder" and change the name of the new folder that's created from "Untitled Folder" to "Desktop Folder."

Now just click Done and write your CD. To start up off this new CD, just place it into your internal CD-ROM drive and restart the computer. Press and hold down the "C" key on your keyboard right after you hear the start-up sound.

But remember: Your license only allows you to create one copy for backup. So you'll need to destroy that non-bootable one. Might I suggest taking it back to Ted and cramming it down his PC-using throat? Of course, keep the jewel case. You'll need that.

HomeNewsMore Tutorials