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Backing up a protected CD - an Alcohol 120% guide

Alcohol 120% is a very powerful backup tool, with a simple wizard based user interface, that allows the user to select the proper settings for various types of protected CDs easily. The software includes also the possibility to 'mount' images as virtual drives, to allow, for instance, direct install from images or protection scanning. More, Alcohol has some 'emulation' capabilities, similar to Daemon Tools, to allow running of 'non-perfect' backups (emulation of copy protections).

First detect the protection

This guide assumes that the user knows the type of protection that is present on the CD that he/she wants to backup. Remember that this info must be provided before attempting any backup of a protected CD. There are many pieces of software that can provide the information (Our recommendation is ClonyXXL) and can be used either to scan the original CD or a CD image file 'mounted' as a virtual drive, in case the used protection is unknown.

The Image Making Wizard

To start the Image Making Wizard just click on the first button on the left.

Read settings

The first screen will show you some basic info about the CD that is located in your default CD/DVD Device (D: in this example): CD Type, Volume Label, CD Layout and so on. On the left-bottom of the screen there is a very important drop-down menu: Datatype (see figure). Select 'Datatype' matching the protection on the CD.

In this example, where we have a Libcrypt protected CD, you will notice that the setting will automatically check a read option (read Sub-Channel Data) that was previously unchecked.

Define the destination for the image file

Select the destination for the image and the image format. MDS is the default format for Alcohol 120%, but you can choose among a range of available formats. Under Datatype = Playsation, for instance, you can also choose the CloneCD image type, but you can't choose CDRWin .BIN/.CUE image type, because this format does not support Sub-Channel data extraction, which is needed in order to backup a protected PSX CDs.

Click Start to start data extraction.

After the extraction has been completed, the window will close (if the proper option is checked) and the resulting image will be automatically loaded on Alcohol's main screen. Now you have an image of the CD you want to backup on your hard drive!

The Image Making Wizard

To start the Image Making Wizard just click on the second button on the left.

Choose the image file to be burned

Click on the 'Browse' button to load the proper image file. The image information screen will show info on the loaded image

Write settings

On the next screen check that, on the CD/DVD Recorder drop-down menu, your recorder is correctly shown. Then look again at the 'Datatype' drop-down menu. As for the read settings, you have to choose the Datatype setting according to the protection of the image you're burning (Playstation in this example). Change the write speed, if you wish (lower write speeds are recommended for example for game console CDs and VideoCDs), then click 'Start' to proceed with the burning.

Again, Datatype = Playstation has unchecked the 'Repair Sub-Channel Data' checkbox, in order to copy the Lybcrypt protection.

It's done - stick a fork in it!

A popup will inform you at the ending of the burning. The Backup CD has been completed!

Final words

More information about Alcohol 120% is on their homepage. If you need your help in using Alcohol, or wish to discuss CD-R related issues, then be sure to visit our forums.

This guide is originally written by our great forum moderator Aldaco12 - many thanks for the job well done!

Created: 5 April 2003   Last updated: 18 August 2005

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