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Use disk images for CD-free game playing Apps
Here's something I found out when playing my new Spiderman game under OS X. The game, like many others, requires you to have the CD in the tray to play the game. This is a pain, and it's a tad slower.

So, to override this, I opened up Disk Copy. Disk Copy allows you to copy a disk and make it into an image file. First select Image -> New Image from Device within Disk Copy. Next, and this is the tricky part, find the CD-ROM drive in the list of "disk..." entries in the dialog box. You're looking for something like "CD_ROM_mode_1" under one of the disclosure triangles. Click the name once you find it, and then click the "Image" button. Choose a destination drive for the image and then wait.

Once the image creation is complete, you can just mount the disk and open the game! Spiderman (and other games) think that it is the actual CD. This is handy if you have another CD in the tray and have enough disk space.

[Editor's note: It's also handy if you travel with a PowerBook and don't wish to carry around a number of CDs during your travels!]
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Use disk images for CD-free game playing | 26 comments | Create New Account
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Old Trick
Authored by: saint.duo on Feb 17, '02 11:10:41AM

This trick worked with most games in Mac OS 9 and earlier, as well. I used to do it to speed up games on my old PowerBook. Or, I would use it at the store I work at to make certain titles demoable without having the chance of a CD being stolen from a machine.

The only games I ever found that this doesn't work with is anything from Blizzard. (Starcraft, BroodWar, Diablo, Diablo II)

I'm glad to see that it still works in X.

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Re: Old Trick
Authored by: Paul Burney on Feb 17, '02 09:57:34PM

I've used it forever too. The difference between the OSX .dmg format and the old .img formats is that the .dmg contains all the data on the disc, not just that on the mac partition. I think the reason that the Blizzard games wouldn't work under OS 9 was because they were Hybrid discs.

With OSX, I can now play my carbonized Brood War without needing to lug around (and possibly damage), my game CD collection. Now if I could only find an OS 9 program that would mount .dmg files.

I'm pretty sure this has been common knowledge for a while, at least by gamers with laptops. Hopefully, game developers won't restrict this use of their games.

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Re: Old Trick
Authored by: bhines on Feb 18, '02 04:48:25AM

Also, .dmg is a data-fork based format. If you make a compressed DMG (an option in DMG maker), there is no need to stuff or even macbinary it when posting online.

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Re: Old Trick
Authored by: saint.duo on Feb 18, '02 08:49:23AM

Concerning Blizzard games, I have the Mac only (original release) of Starcraft, and it won't work for that. Somehow, Blizzard got their games to check for a physical disk.
That's cool that you can now use dmg files for Blizzard games. I think it has to do with the way Mac OS X uses volumes, now, with it having a UNIX core.

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Re: Old Trick
Authored by: chabig on Feb 18, '02 10:17:59PM

I have tried this with Riven and it wouldn't work for me. As far as I can tell, Riven uses hard coded paths that break when disk images are used.

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Re: Old Trick
Authored by: nordy on Feb 19, '02 03:26:52PM

Just tried this with the Sims and it doesn't work. With the old Unreal engine games there were a couple of files you could copy on the disk images that only amounted to about 500k that accomplished the same thing.

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Old Trick
Authored by: dang on Mar 11, '02 07:55:10PM

Can you get the application(s) installed via the disk copy-ed "virtual CD" to then automount the disk image upon start-up or are you stuck with needing to have all disc images you'll ever use mounted at login time? I've tried this a couple of times under OS X but so far, no luck. Seems like this used to work under OS9. My main objective here is to eliminate pre-K students having to handle CD's or mount disc images for games/etc. that require a CD, such as Reader Rabbit and company.

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Old Trick
Authored by: flowb on Jan 10, '03 10:02:36AM

I found that this trick does work with some Blizzard games, the first thing I did when I bought WC3 was make an image. I also used it to play Total Annihilation by MacSoft. With my Powerbook, it would never let me play the missions because disk 1 had to be in to start, then it would never recongnize disk 2 for the missions. I was always stuck playing custom games, which got old fast. I did have to make multiple images because it mounted as both a data and audio disks.

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works with World Book too
Authored by: snoozer on Feb 17, '02 11:16:25AM

I made DMG's of both of the World Book Encyclopedia CDs. Means less wear and tear on my TiBook's optical drive, not to mention faster performance.


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dvd's also
Authored by: synchosis on Feb 17, '02 07:37:47PM

I use this same technique to save dvd's to my hard disk to watch on long airplane flights. Takes up a lot of room, but at least your battery wont die before the end of the movie :-)

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dvd's also help
Authored by: lamb666 on Feb 19, '02 12:59:47PM

how do u do that? i've done it with games before and that was great but when i've tried making images of dvds, the dvd player plays them back all screwed up as if some of the pixels where left behind and so 2 scenes intertwine and the audio is screwed as well, could u point out where i've gone wrong! cheers

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dvd's also help
Authored by: iBrain on May 27, '02 10:40:12AM

When you find out can you please reply Thank You!

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dvd's also
Authored by: Loren on Feb 19, '02 01:24:15PM

I love this idea. My TiBook can make it through most movies, but I bet I could go through 2 if I had the images on the HD, and didn't have to spin the CD/DVD drive.

But, I always thought most commercial movie DVD's had copy protection to stop this sort of thing. Am I wrong?

Also, what settings do you use in Disk Copy? compressed? CD/DVD Master?


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dvd's also
Authored by: Loren on Feb 19, '02 03:39:43PM

As an aside, I just tried this with T2, to see what would happen.

Using Apples Disk Copy & Toast both got me the same result. I can mount the image files and they launch the DVD, but the sound seems bumpy and the video, while there for the menu, is gone for the movie.

Copy protection?


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dvd's also
Authored by: sjk on Mar 11, '02 09:53:01PM

I'd guess you're using unprotected DVDs to create a usable mountable Disk Image?

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even Apple does it
Authored by: xeroply on Feb 17, '02 11:35:10PM

Apple itself seems to be using this techinique in their retail stores to make WorldBook OS X edition available on all their demo machines without having to have CDs in each one!

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Not smart
Authored by: Brak on Feb 17, '02 07:37:54PM

Now that this "tip" been unintelligently/thoughtlessly posted to the public it will be unlikely this simple of an action will be possible in the future. This has been done for years and was sort of an unrwitten loophole that everyone just sort of ignored.
What I mean by untelligently is now that this has officially been posted, future game and program developers will employ more complex copy protection so you are REQUIRED to use the ORIGIONAL CD and no other form of data storage, no backups, no images, no nothing. "What if my CD breaks or is damaged?" Well you will be screwed. Go buy another.

I really wish this had not been posted.

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Not smart
Authored by: ret on Feb 17, '02 08:34:31PM

Are you suggesting that:
a) this has never been posted on the internet before, and
b) game developers (and developers in general) for MacOS know so little about MacOS that they have all been completely unaware of this, and
c) it was 'just our little secret'?

Shame on you, Rob for letting the cat out of the bag ;-)


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Common knowledge...
Authored by: robg on Feb 17, '02 09:36:08PM

If publication of this tip on macosxhints leads to changes in the way software developers package their product, then I've seriously underestimated the impact of the site! ;-)

Clearly, software developers know that both pirates and legitimate users know how to make disc images of their products. If they felt it was worth changing, they would have done so years ago.

As 'ret' pointed out, this is fairly common knowledge. I just felt that it was worth sharing here, especially for newcomers to OS X who travel with PowerBooks.


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Give Me A Break
Authored by: wtbates on Feb 18, '02 12:44:41AM


I don't want to get on your case too much, but c'mon. If you seriously believe what you wrote, then you have a lot to learn about life. Four comments, then I will get off of my soapbox:

1. There wil ALWAYS be a way to get around this problem .

2. Did you think that this was a big secret to anyone?

3. Copy protection is a big problem for software companies (and I work for one). Most companies realize that requiring the CD to stay in the drive is not a good or reliable means of copy protection and do not seriously think that it will deter thieves, so not much R&D will go into improving this particular method.

3. Beyond theft, there is a real need for this for honest folk who want to do this with their own software. They are not trying to be devious. Software companies also understand this (of course the next question to ask is, "Then why do they require the CD in the drive after a full installation of the product?" This is usually answered by the phrase, "...but we have always done it that way.")

Bottom line, I would not worry about this kind of post ruining it for us all. This is especially important to know for those out there that may have something else to share, but may be afraid of "the man" learnng our "secrets."


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Not smart
Authored by: lamon on Feb 18, '02 06:07:55AM

Don't panic,

This is well known by companies and has been for years. A couple years ago, I bought a Encyclopaedia Brittanica CD (for PCs, nobody's perfect). The documentation pointed to an article on their official site for instructions on how to install everything on your hard drive. Actually, I think the protection-scheme wars of the Apple ][ old times is dead and those companies that want a real efficient copy-protection system will use a dongle or some other physical gadget. The others will not invest efforts in this.

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Not smart
Authored by: oink on Feb 18, '02 11:10:48AM

Hi Brak,
If this is your biggest secret, you have a lot to catch up. Any one who has ever made a floppy image will be able to figure this out by himself/herself. Do you think cdrom dvd publishers do not know about this already? Share knowledge, don't suppress it.

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Common knowledge
Authored by: Areh on Feb 18, '02 04:30:50AM

This has been common knowledge for years. Yes, it works in OS X too. Takes up a lot of disk space tho'. Game developers know about it ! There are indeed some programs that try to prevent this practice. So while I don't think this was really new info, some may not have known, so it's a useful tip. Developers certainly were aware of it !

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Common knowledge
Authored by: dragon_x on Mar 01, '02 10:16:55AM

Copy protection is simply a matter of making hurdles to doing what you want. The sad part about all this is that many people PAY for software they CAN NOT use or they can not easily use the way they would like. I do not know about anyone here, but the new disk copy sucks. I mean it should have options to be as simple as the old disk copy... making an image out of
a drive
a folder
a disks...

maybe I am missing something here but showing those low level partition schemes is stupid. I mean it may have a purpose, but I've never needed it before and wonder why the added complexit is the ONLY option?


Remember you do NOT own the software you buy! You have NO rights. You might as well setup a commune somewhere. Have a nice day!

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Authored by: ftolead on Jan 09, '03 11:21:47PM

Ah hah, I got it to work for WarCraft III, I just followed the instructions.

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Authored by: elmer-12 on Mar 26, '03 04:42:12PM

Anyone notice a performance difference versus using the optical drive?
There are some options: read, read/write, compressed, DVD/CD master
What is the best option to choose?

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