Making a Bootable CD with Toast 3.x.x

Many friends and fellow Mac users I work with often ask me how to accomplish this somewhat baffling task. I understand that this process is a little more clear cut in Toast 4.1 and up, but zillions of people with CD burners bought anywhere from 6 months ago to years ago ended up with various Toast 3.x.x versions (the OEM versions Adaptec sold to CD burner sellers to include with their drives), and many people are still using those versions where making a bootable disk is a little more convoluted. Not to mention that it can be tricky making sure you have a system folder that you can actually boot available. Dragging system folders from existing volumes can lead to very strange or even unusable results. Hopefully this will help the non experts and new-to-cd-burning folks on the list. Experts bear with us here...

To make a bootable disk in pre-4.x Toast versions:

1) create a disk image with ShrinkWrap, DiskCopy 6.x.x, or (even Toast's own "temporary partition" function...look in the utilities menu) or whatever tool you like of what you want included on your bootable CD with a system folder you know works, and "open" that system folder once to the OS will set the proper flags telling itself that there is a system present (a.k.a. "blessing" that folder.).

2) try to strip that system folder down to just a standard set of extensions and control panels, so as to not include lots of extensions and control panels that cause preference files to be opened for writing on startup. You can't open a file for writing on startup from a non writable volume like a CD, and you will be deluged with dialog boxes about components and such that couldn't load on startup when you do try to boot from a CD with your "full" system. You may actually get booted up from it which might be okay, but you could end up with a long slow frustrating boot up that ends in a crash or other strange behavior.

2a) an option to #2 is to create a startup disk on a removable like a Zip or a Jaz, and actually boot your machine or machines from that removable to "test drive" the boot volume. This will give you a good opportunity to make SURE this system folder and it's associated files have all their settings right for your machine to function as you need it to.

2b) When booted from your trial volume, Step thru everything you can think of and verify the settings for Monitor depth and size, networking, printers, fonts, Internet settings, extensions for cards or external devices like scanners or tablets, ANYTHING you can think of...because you will have to recreate the volume and re-burn the CD if it's not as you want it to be. Use Extensions manager or conflict catcher or whatever tool you like to streamline this system folder to just what you know you need or so to make sure you're not taking along "dead weight". The most common mistake on this I see people make is they drag a system folder to a volume for creating a bootable CD, and they forget to clear out Netscape and IE cache folders, and they take along their usually huge "extensions(disabled)" and "control panels(disabled)" folders and waste many megabytes of space that could be used for important files on the volume bound for CD burning. Remember, many extensions and control panels want to open files for writing on the boot volume during startup, and they will not be able to and will complain. All the standard apple ext's and cp's that I've encountered with this behavior simply complain but still function for the most part, but there's no telling with 3rd party ext's and cp's.

3) You now have either a system you're sure will work on a disk image as described in #2 or your removable volume that you've test booted from and cleaned up nicely as described in #2a/#2b. Mount either on the desktop, and back in Toast click on the recording mode button. It's not really a button, you click on the bold text in the upper left corner of the middle segment of the window...where it usually says "Mac Files & Folders right under the big yellow "T O" in TOAST, and switch to Mac Volume mode. Alternatively pull down the "format" menu and select "Mac Volume" mode, then click on the Data... button to the right in that segment of the window. The Select Volume dialog box will come up with various check box options, one of which is "Bootable". Notice that volumes are listed above with their size and a comment like "startup volume" or "shared" or "ok to write". If your image or removable are listed there with "ok to write" in the comments, you're ready to go. In the case of a removable or another hard drive, you will have to turn off file sharing to clear the "shared" comment that prevents you from using it as a volume to write from. Select your disk image or your removable volume and check the "bootable" box, and click "OK". Agree to the little information dialog box that comes up informing you that the system folder you're copying is someone else's software that you own and it's not Adaptec's fault if you don't :)

4) that's about it. Back in the main Toast window, verify your settings and that the right volume is in the box, click "Write CD" and go to town.

5) After your CD is done, try booting from it and see how it goes. I usually boot the first time with a newly created bootable CD with extensions off just to see that it actually boots the machine, then reboot and let it load everything.

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