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Burnable Folders

Imagine that you have a bunch of files scattered all over your Home folder that you want to copy to a CD. In pre-Tiger days, you might pop in a CD, give the CD a name when prompted, and drag the icons for the files you want to copy to the CD icon. Then, when you wanted to burn the CD, you’d use the Burn Disc command. When the CD was finished, you’d pop it back out and do whatever you needed to do with it.

But what if you wanted to make multiple copies of the CD? Or you wanted to copy the same files the following week, after some of the files had been updated? Or maybe you wanted to add or remove a few of the files on the new CD?

Sure, you could use Disk Utility to create a modifiable disk image, and burn a CD off that. But that’s adding steps and requires a certain amount of expertise that not everyone has.

Tiger offers a better solution: burnable folders. Here’s how it works. Use the Finder’s New Burn Folder command on the File menu (see Figure 6) to create a new burn folder, which looks and works a lot like a regular folder. You can even rename it; the name you give the folder becomes the name of the CD that’s burned.

Figure 6

Figure 6 The New Burn Folder command is on the File menu.

Now drag the items you want to burn to CD onto the folder’s icon. When you open the folder icon, you’ll see that the Finder created aliases for the items you dragged (see Figure 7). The original items remain right where they are. Nothing has been copied.

Figure 7

Figure 7 A typical burn folder is full of aliases.

When the contents of the burn folder are ready to burn to CD, click the Burn button (it’s near the top of the burn folder’s window in Figure 7). Follow the prompts to burn the CD. Mac OS X doesn’t burn a CD full of aliases; it automatically looks for the originals of each alias and burns them onto the CD.

Now here’s where this feature’s usefulness really shows. Leave the burn folder on your computer. Let time go by. Need another CD based on the same files? Just click the Burn button again in the burn folder’s window. Don’t worry about whether the files in the folder were updated. Mac OS X burns the current version of each file onto the CD. Need to add and remove files? Drag new files in; new aliases are created. Drag aliases out; the corresponding originals will not be included on the CD.

Obviously, this feature is incredibly useful for backing up important, constantly changing files to CD.

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