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Packet Writing Vs. ISO

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Packet Writing Vs. ISO

Postby EEG161 on Thu Dec 05, 2002 8:20 pm

I like using Direct CD and Nero's InCD for there packet writing.
I use packet writing for drag&drop/floppy disk type file backups.
My question is, is ISO OK to use for drag&drop type file backups?
Is it a better format than DirectCD/InCD UDF packet writing? Is there an advantage of one over the other?

I've read opinions by CD writing experts state that packet writing is not a good way to go and that ISO is much better, and that packet writing software is not very reliable. Please advise.
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Postby Inertia on Sun Dec 15, 2002 1:42 am

Drag & drop file backup is usually taken to mean an operation using Windows Explorer to transfer files directly to a CDR or CD-RW disc. This is not an ISO data writing operation, which must take place within a ISO data burning program like Easy CD Creator or Nero.

Drag & drop writing is associated with packet writing software like Direct CD or InCD. Packet writing is generally not thought to be the most reliable backup method for critical data files. Using Direct CD to packet write to CDR instead of CD-RW discs should improve the packet writing reliability.

For some general information on packet writing compared to ISO recording, see DirectCD Frequently Asked Questions.
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Postby EEG161 on Sun Dec 15, 2002 8:53 pm

Thanks for that bit of info. I've read that packet writing isn't the most reliable, I'd like to know why and are ISO backups like Nero's option to create ISO/UDF, etc...a better way to go. IOW, should I drop DirectCD?
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Postby Inertia on Sun Dec 15, 2002 10:14 pm

In my opinion, packet writing is not as reliable as ISO data recording because it's just a sideshow or a subset of CD writing. Because it isn't the main event it isn't as well supported or developed by software manufacturers.

The other issue is the media itself, which uses a totally different technology than the dye-based CDR media. CD-RW uses a phase-change technology in which the laser "melts" the pits and lands. Theoretically, this technology allows the disc to be rewritten over 1,000 times.

The same problems face the media as the software. It doesn't get as much attention from a quality assurance or development point of view. Hardware is released with high speed CD-RW capability, but the discs themselves can be hard to find and/or carry a premium price. I have no facts on this, but my gut feeling is that CD-RW is a more difficult media to manufacture in order to realize consistent and reliable results. It isn't uncommon to find quality problems with some of the newest and fastest media when burned at state-of-the-art maximum speeds.

Personally, I have not had major problems with packet writing, and I occasionally use it for utility purpose. I feel that this is its best use. If a backup of critical material is desired using CD media, I would suggest that a ISO 9660 mode 1 data backup be made. CDR media is relatively inexpensive now, so the lack of reuse is not a major concern.

I don't use CDR media for backups any longer, unless it is for copying a program disc. All of my major backups are done to hard drive which is much faster, more convenient, and reliable than any CDR backup. Hard drive storage is also very inexpensive these days, and since it is reusable it doesn't have to be replaced like a CDR backup. I would suggest that you might consider this method for major backups of your system.

I wouldn't get rid of Direct CD. It is handy to have when some utility copies are needed and you don't want to waste a CDR disc on transient copies.
Last edited by Inertia on Mon Dec 23, 2002 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Dec 16, 2002 1:45 am

Inertia wrote:Using Direct CD to packet write to CDR instead of CD-RW discs should improve the packet writing reliability.

why?
do you mean because writing to CDR media is inherently more reliable than to CDRW media (whether packet writing or ISO), or is there some other reason?
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Postby Inertia on Mon Dec 16, 2002 10:21 pm

CDR media seems to be generally more reliable than CD-RW media. In addition, packet written CDR media can be closed to the ISO 9660 format, giving it general ISO compatibility in Windows, DOS, Mac, Unix, and Linux without the need for UDF drivers.

My reliability opinion is not based on any scientific evidence as I have seen none published. It is based on a variety of user complaints and problems with packet written CD-RW, many of which could have been caused by user error.

Personally, I have used used CD-RW packet written discs for years without major problems, but even with my generally favorable experience I would still say that it is a more fickle and finicky combination of writing and media than ISO writing with CDR discs.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 17, 2002 12:18 am

thanks for you reply, Inertia. :D
this is more or less what i've been hearing too...

another question:
Inertia wrote:In addition, packet written CDR media can be closed to the ISO 9660 format, giving it general ISO compatibility in Windows, DOS, Mac, Unix, and Linux without the need for UDF drivers.

can't this be done for a CDRW disc too? as i understand InCD does not have this capability, but DirectCD does, does it work only for packet written CDRs, not CDRWs?
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Postby Inertia on Tue Dec 17, 2002 4:49 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Inertia wrote:In addition, packet written CDR media can be closed to the ISO 9660 format, giving it general ISO compatibility in Windows, DOS, Mac, Unix, and Linux without the need for UDF drivers.

can't this be done for a CDRW disc too? as i understand InCD does not have this capability, but DirectCD does, does it work only for packet written CDRs, not CDRWs?


When using Direct CD or InCD, CD-RW discs are defaulted only to the OSTA UDF 1.5 packet writing format. Of course, a blank CD-RW disc can be written as an ISO 9660 data disc if written in Nero or Easy CD Creator, but this is not a packet writing operation.

The ability to close to ISO 9660 in Direct CD is available only with CDR but not CD-RW.

NTI's FileCD packet writing is somewhat unique, in that it doesn't load drivers that are active at system startup as done by Direct CD and InCD. The system integration of these active drivers enable the drag & drop operations in Windows Explorer. Because FileCD doesn't integrate the drivers, it doesn't do drag & drop in Explorer, and the program must be opened to drag & drop in the program window. Another option is right click on highlighted files in Explorer and use Send To | FileCD. In actual practice, little is given away with these methods compared to the standard drag & drop method. In addition, the operating system is more stable due to the lack of integrated packet writing drivers.

File CD offers the option to format CD-RW discs either for UDF 1.5 or a packet written format which is compatible with ISO 9660. If you are looking for a packet writing program that will close CD-RW to ISO 9660, I would recommend FileCD.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 17, 2002 5:08 am

thanks for the info.

Inertia wrote:The ability to close to ISO 9660 in Direct CD is available only with CDR but not CD-RW.

any idea why this is? i can't think of a reason it should'nt be possible for CDRW discs either.
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Postby Inertia on Tue Dec 17, 2002 5:45 am

It's a software design issue. It goes back to what I said initially about lack of support and development. There isn't much of a clamor for this feature, but there is no reason it couldn't be done if Roxio wanted to do it. FileCD is proof of that.

This lack of support for closing a Direct CD CD-RW disk to ISO 9660 made more sense several years ago when there were more CD-ROM drives that were not multi-read (CD-RW) capable in use. It wouldn't do any good to have a CD-RW closed to ISO if a drive couldn't read CD-RW's. All current drives are now multi-read capable, but this type of consideration is so far back on the back burner, it has turned cold. I doubt that Direct CD will ever do this, but who knows.

The other variation that could be done is to write CD-RW in variable length packets (instead of standard CD-RW fixed length packets) which is the format that the CDR format uses. Files on a CD-RW disc written in this manner can't be deleted and the space reused. The disc can be rewritten, but the entire disc must be erased before it can be reformatted and rewritten. The variable length packet format requires very little overhead because each part of the disc can be written only once without erasing. This allows a much simpler format scheme and a lot more usable space on the disc.

Variable length packet writing with CD-RW was possible with the first versions of Direct CD, but it was dropped and retained only for CDR. This change may have been made in an attempt to keep user confusion to a minimum. Packet writing in general already seems to cause a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. ;)
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 17, 2002 5:54 am

Inertia wrote:Packet writing in general already seems to cause a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. ;)

so true.
it's a shame. i really like packet-writing, and used it quite a bit to transfer stuff form the univ computer to my home computer.
(alas no packet-writing for me at home, InCD BSODs my XP).
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Postby Inertia on Tue Dec 17, 2002 6:10 am

What version of InCD is on your WinXP computer? See What's up with InCD v3.37 ?!!?

Have you tried v3.31? This version has gotten good reports of stability on WinXP.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 17, 2002 10:09 am

Inertia wrote:What version of InCD is on your WinXP computer? See What's up with InCD v3.37 ?!!?

Have you tried v3.31? This version has gotten good reports of stability on WinXP.


i can't even remember.
i tried quite a few versions: 3.23.1, 3.28.0, 3.29.1 in addition to the original one that came on the Nero CD, can't recall what it was (earlier than 3.23), all of them BSODed my XP box. gave up at some point.
InCD problem
(and by the way, that link you gave, believe me i've followed closely all the threads about InCD)

i'll try again when i have the time to back up the whole system and clean install windows. i'll also try DirctCD then, see which one i like better.

what's your opinion? which of the two is better? in terms of performance, stability, ease of use etc.?
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Postby Inertia on Tue Dec 17, 2002 6:34 pm

I would choose Direct CD over InCD. It's a more complete program with additional features such as CDR packet writing and a couple of utilites. ScanDisc is useful for recovering corrupted packet written discs and Undelete can recover files deleted from a packet written CDR.

The user interface and the help files are much better also.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 17, 2002 10:41 pm

glad to hear of it.

i've had for some time Easy CD Creator 5 (Basic) + DirectCD 5, but was reluctant to install, because (so i've been told) it's impossible to install DCD without ECDC, and i didn't want to install ECDC because it is impossible to properly remove completely from the system/registry/etc.

however now, thansk to Han, i got the WinOnCD 5 PE + DirectCD, which reportedly does not have these problems (http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=45117#45117) so i'll try that. see how it works.

i've used DCD 4 in the past and liked it.
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Postby Inertia on Wed Dec 18, 2002 12:37 am

That story about being unable to unistall Easy CD Creator is just an internet myth. The internet is full of stories like this passed along by ignoramuses. :D

Go ahead and install it if you wish. You shouldn't have any problems, but I can help you if you do. This is the most widely used burning software in the world, and a lot of the negative stories you hear have no substance.
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Dec 18, 2002 1:35 am

Inertia wrote:That story about being unable to unistall Easy CD Creator is just an internet myth. The internet is full of stories like this passed along by ignoramuses. :D

Go ahead and install it if you wish. You shouldn't have any problems, but I can help you if you do. This is the most widely used burning software in the world, and a lot of the negative stories you hear have no substance.

okey dokey, thanks.

about being able to uninstall ECDC, i didn't mean it's not possible to uninstall but that when uninstalling it leaves a lot of stuff behind, esp. in the registry, and sometimes this has adverse effects on the system.

as for this being a myth, well maybe so, however this has been mentioned quite a few times on the CDRLabs boards too, so i assumed there is some truth in it.
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Postby Inertia on Wed Dec 18, 2002 1:44 am

I stand by my previous statement, regardless of what was mentioned and where. :wink:
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Postby EEG161 on Mon Dec 23, 2002 2:45 pm

I have Nero5/InCD and a custom install of DCD updated to v5.3(latest) by itself w/o EZCD 5. Both are working. Neither starts with Windows2K.

I do backup to my HDD's. I use a 2nd HDD for Ghost Images, but I also backup to CDr's and CDrw's and Zip 750 disks. I'm a backup demon!
If you have all of your backups on HDD alone, what happens if your sole HD crashes and burns, FUBAR's? I just pop in any of a collection of backup media, and back to normal. I plan on buying another HDD to have as a spare and keep it in a drawer. I'm also going ot check out NTI's packet writing program again. I tried it but didn't like the interface.
It wasn't very sophisticated. (NTI backUp Now.)
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Postby Inertia on Mon Dec 23, 2002 5:01 pm

EEG161 wrote:I have Nero5/InCD and a custom install of DCD updated to v5.3(latest) by itself w/o EZCD 5. Both are working. Neither starts with Windows2K.


Please let us know how your custom packet writing install works.

Some users have disabled the automatic loading of the Direct CD executable file at system startup, thinking that this prevents it from loading. This only prevents the tray icon from loading, but the Direct CD drivers are still loaded and active at system startup. Direct CD can't be disabled by not loading its shell, but only by uninstalling the program.

Likewise, the InCD.exe program shell can be prevented from starting, but the BSUDF.SYS system driver is still loaded and active in Windows unless the program is uninstalled.
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Postby EEG161 on Mon Dec 23, 2002 10:55 pm

Great information, thanks. You really seem to know your stuff.
DCD is working fine w/o any problems. InCD on the other hand, has one minor problem; the tray icon doesn't turn green when a formatted CDRw is loaded and when a CDRw is put in the CDRom tray, InCD doesn't launch and dialog boxes, but other than that, InCD is working. I just have to work around those details. I have another PC with just Nero5/InCD, and sometimes I use it to format all CDRw's.

I know the InCD CDrw is ready to write to when I see the volume label I give them in the CD Icon. InCD formatting seems to work OK as well.
So far, so good.
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Postby Inertia on Tue Dec 24, 2002 12:44 am

You're welcome. :)

I should have been more clear. I was trying to find out what program or method was used to do the custom packet writing installation.

What procedure was followed for the custom installation?
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Postby EEG161 on Tue Dec 24, 2002 3:14 pm

Sorry, clearly I misunderstood your question.
Logged on as Admin in W2K pro Sp3:
First, I installed Nero 5/InCD,(Nero5 retail CD), updated both. I used Custom StartUp v2.0 to keep the tray Icon from starting w/ Windows 2000. Rebooted.
Then I used an EZCD 5 Plat. retail CD to install DCD. I chose custom install and chose only 1 item, DCD. Nothing else was installed. Rebooted, then I installed the latest EZCD v5.3 update, rebooted.
Checked the option in DCD to show tray Icon. Used Custom StartUp 2.0 and unchecked DCD and it's Project selector utility from starting w/ W2K.
Rebooted.

When I need to use one or the other, I just click on the desktop icon or from Start-Program Files. I use Task Manager to close/Exit them.

I can use DCD logged on as any user. With InCD, I have to be Admin or use the (buggy for me) Nero Burning Rights utility, to use it as other than Admin. DCD lets me format CDr's and CDRw's just fine, so I may just dump InCD for now. hth. :-)
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Postby Inertia on Tue Dec 24, 2002 5:17 pm

Thanks for confirming what I suspected.

Basically, you've disabled the startup shells for InCD and Direct CD, but the drivers are still loaded and active in the background. It has been proven recently that these two programs can coexist in WinXP, so it may be why you are having no problems in Win2000.

There is really no advantage to having both programs loaded, and it sounds like you would be better off uninstalling InCD.

I wouldn't recommend using Custom Startup to disable Direct CD's startup shell. It's easy to disable the tray icon if you don't want to see it or toggle it on when you do. :)
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Postby EEG161 on Sat Dec 28, 2002 9:07 pm

I was thinking of doing just that. I can't think of any valid reasons for keeping InCD if DCD is working. I can even use DCD logged on as any user, and use both CDRW and CDr's which I just finished testing.

EZCD 5 Plat. doesn't work installed by itself on my WinME PC.
Even though the recorder, a TDK VeloCD, is on the supported recorders list. Thanks for the info.
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