Tips/How To: Make a Single Layer Leopard Backup DVD - Macenstein

Tips/How To: Make a Single Layer Leopard Backup DVD

Ah the “backup copy”, the shield behind which many a video game, music, movie, or software owner has hidden when justifying why they should be allowed to make a digital copy of something they bought. I’ve been known to make a copy or two in my day, (purely as a “just in case” measure, of course) but for the most part I have been relegated to copying media which comes on regular old single-layer DVD media – i.e., content that stays under the the 4.3 GB limit. Sure, Apple ships dual-layer SuperDrives now, but not everyone has a new Mac, and it is still sometimes tricky getting the layer breaks just right when copying, and dual-layer media is expensive enough that 2 failed attempts often means you should have just gone out and bought the darn thing (excuse me, bought ANOTHER of the darn disc, as we are talking only of copying things we already own, right? Right).

This single-layer restriction has meant that making a copy of Apple’s nearly 7 GB Leopard has been difficult, and those of us who spent our $129 for the latest OS release have been forced to live in constant fear that our install DVD may become scratched, lost, or stolen by jealous Windows thugs.

Until now.

Lionel Faleiro has published instructions on his blog for stripping out all the unnecessary “junk” (you know, developer tools, foreign languages, printer drivers, etc.) from the Leopard install discs, and creating your very own 4.2 GB Single-Layer version of Leopard to use as your own personal backup copy. The only necessary tools are a blank DVD, a Mac running Tiger, and Apple’s own Disk Utility.

I tested out his instructions, and as long as you don’t mind being called an idiot a couple times, they are fairly straightforward. I ran into a couple of momentarily confusing parts, but if I was able to figure it out, odds are you can too.

The only issue I have noticed with the copy so far is the disc takes about 15 minutes to boot from. I actually thought the burn must have failed the first time I tried to boot from it, so I bailed about 6 minutes in. Just for the hell of it I tried on another computer the next day, this time just letting it sit there. Sure enough, eventually the Leopard starfield appeared, and I was able to install/run disk utility from it.

Above: Despite stripping out all the extras, Leopard’s installer still expects to find them there. I unchecked them all before continuing the install, figuring leaving them checked would likely cause the install to fail.

Now admittedly the chances of your Leopard install disc getting damaged are pretty slim, and the need for making this backup is debatable. After all, you pretty much use the install disc once (maybe twice if you have problems and need to boot into the DVD’s Disc Utility) and then presumably you store it away in a safe place. However, if you’re one of those nuts who just has to have a copy of all their original stuff just to sleep at night, now you can get some shut eye. But remember, just because Apple doesn’t put copy protection on their OS discs doesn’t mean it might not be illegal to copy it, even for personal use, so all applicable disclaimers and warnings about breaking the law apply.

11 Responses to “Tips/How To: Make a Single Layer Leopard Backup DVD”
  1. Vas the Man says:

    Let me get this straight: you need to have a backup in order to sleep in peace, so you go and make an intentionally corrupt backup, omitting some very important parts, including like developer tools and translations? Talk about false sense of security. Why not just buy a dual-layer disc and be done with it?

  2. Hey Vas, thanks for reading Macenstein.

    I think far fewer people use the developer tools than you think, and you can always download them. And of course, there ARE people who bought a Mac before 2007, and who have only a Single-layer DVD burner. But your point is taken, this method is not for everyone.

    Personally, I enjoyed doing this because it taught me a couple things about how Apple constructs its installers, and I even learned a thing or two about Disk Utility.

    -The Doc

  3. airfang says:

    Indeed I won’t be needing this one…I think the number of usage of the installation DVD should be countable by bare hand(s, or maybe plus the toes?)

  4. gopher says:

    >Now admittedly the chances of your Leopard install disc getting damaged are pretty slim, and the need for making this backup is debatable

    Actually the chances are much greater. Apple has shipped numerous damaged DVDs in the sealed package. DVDs can wear out within 3 to 6 months, be scratched, subjected to heat or moisture, or other environmental conditions which can ruin them. So having a backup DVD is quite a good idea.

  5. T. says:

    Actually, the Leopard 10.5 installer disk is much more important than previous installer disks.

    If your system drive dies, or you just don’t like it today, you preferred yesterday’s desktop background then the easy, all purpose recovery method is:

    “Boot from Leopard Installer Disk”
    “Choose restore from Time Machine”

    That’s why you want a stripped down SL DVD version… you don’t care about installing whatever’s on the disk, all you care about is booting from the disk to get to the disk utilities menu to do a Time Machine restore.

  6. digginestdogg says:

    The Leopard DVD is not only far more necessary to keep around–it is a life saver. After the first update for 10.5 installed on my laptop and I rebooted, all accounts (even Root) turned into “standard” accounts with no admin access–i.e. no root, su, sudo, or otheradmin privileges–even for Admin! Apple recommends rebooting from the Leopard install disc and using password reset for each account. Unfortunately because I only have the one copy I don’t carry it around with me so my Macbook is crippled today at work until I get home. I will make a dual-layer copy and a copy on a small external FW drive and carry them always in my brief case. Apple sure is screwing the pooch with Leopard quality. Locked out of my own system. That’s a first and the kind of thing I expect on Windows not OS X.

  7. Good things says:

    I appreciate this information and really wish there were more like this for those of us not needing everything installed. Developer tools? Whatever. I’ve loaded it several times only to ditch it weeks later because it was nothing more than wasted space on my hardrive. Sure I’d like to know more about it but for now my hands are full with tools that have already been developed for the masses and I’m able to use all of my systems to make my life more efficient . Stop Whining,

  8. alex says:

    hi there

    just to say that the Lionel Faleiro’s published instructions link doesn’t work!!

  9. oops says:

    Agreed with my droog Alex 😉 :

    the link doon’t workkkk :))))))

  10. B-technical says:

    Lionel Faleiro’s web link shows Not Found [ could not be found]. 🙁

    Anyone who saved a copy able to republish a text version?

  11. Jim Corps says:

    I am just about to purchase a Western Digital 1TB External HD. Some reviewers have cast doubts on its reliability, but in the main it gets favourable comments. Just in case it fails is it possible to back up my Iphotos and Itunes to a series of DVDs. ideas the simpler the better would be appreciated.

Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.