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A few years back, I saw an open-source application that created fault-tolerant, multi-CD backup sets. The thought was that if a few sectors went bad on one CD, the data could be reconstructed from others similar to a RAID 5 hard-drive setup.

I did some searching and I could not find the application again. Does anyone know of a application that works in this manner. It needs to work with both CDs & DVDs. Linux or Windows will be OK.

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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't know of a disc burning application that integrates fault tolerant archive support, but the sort of fault recovery you are looking for can be provided by the par2 utilities (see here and here). I assume it is properly OSS, as evidenced by inclusion in the standard Debian repositories (link).

You could use par2 to create a set of parity files then burn the resulting files and the originals to separate discs (burning more than one copy of each for further will-I-be-able-to-read-it-at-all-later paranoia).

It might be worth further research, as it is not unlikely that some useful soul has created a writer with support for par2 built in, or published a set of script that integrates it with "standard" Linux disc writing tools.

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The application you are looking for is most likely dvdisaster. It can either create external recovery files or embed the recovery information directly into the empty space of each ISO image before you burn the. Later you can verify and recover these "enhanced" CD/DVDs with the app. As I don't trust optical media at all, I always add recovery record to all my DVDs with dvdisaster, it is fairly fast operation as long as you have quick harddisk.

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Yes! This is it. –  Michaelkay Nov 5 '09 at 12:18
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Based on the other answers given, I was able to track down this article from Life Hacker: Burn More Reliable Discs with QuickPar. It describes the functionality I need.

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I do not know of such a software, but here are some other suggestions for data longevity:

  • Use "archival grade" discs. They are more expensive (and you might have to search for them), but will not oxidize within ~5 years like normal discs.
  • Use DVD+R, not DVD-R, because that has better error correction mechanisms itself.
  • Simply make several copies and keep them at separate geographical locations.
  • Compress your data with WinRAR - it has a recovery info option. It's also similar to RAID-5 in a way, but within one file. Perhaps there are other archive formats which offer similar capabilities, but I'm unaware of them.
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