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I have a CD that I would like to generate a BIN file from (with a CUE file to accompany it).

I used ImgBurn and UltraISO to to generate two BIN files. However, I have found out that BIN files generated by these programs are not identical (different file size).

So, what is the difference between the BIN file formats and which one should I use to backup CD?

The same applies to ISO file generation by these two programs - file size does not match.

  • What are the exact sizes you got? Can one product use the other's bin file? If yes, why not just use the smallest. – harrymc Jun 9 '14 at 14:36
  • Afaik ISO files should be the same. CUE files might differ but i'm not sure. CUE files hold more low level information (like CRC and such) which is not usually required to generate standard copies. – LatinSuD Jun 9 '14 at 17:24
  • There's also the chance that one of the ISO has some zero padding at the end. If you are familiar with hex editors you could investigate it. Alternatively if you can upload both isos maybe someone can inspect them. – LatinSuD Jun 9 '14 at 17:29
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This question got me curious so I decided to investigate.

First of all, BIN is not a file format. It's just an extension that says it is a binary file. Several CD/DVD disk image file formats are proprietary to the application that creates them while others are open (ISO 9660, Juliet, UDF)

  1. When you create a disk image from files and folders using ImgBurn, by default it uses the Universal Disk Format file system to store the data. UltraISO on the other hand uses Joliet. ISO 9660 is common between the two of them. (I got this information using IsoBuster)

  2. When you create a BIN file using ImgBurn containing nothing but an empty folder (ImgBurn wouldn't allow creating an image with absolutely nothing in it) the filesize is about 1 MB and do the same in UltraISO and you end up with a much smaller 57.4 KB BIN file. However, the BIN file created using ImgBurn contains a lot of null bytes and is highly compressible (1.64 KB using RAR) while UltraISO seems to add some kind of extraneous information to the image file so it doesn't compress as well (3.23 KB using RAR)

  3. ISO 9660 file name format for images created using UltraISO are DOS 8.3 (by default) which allows for 8 character file names and 3 character extensions while ImgBurn uses Windows/Unix compatible 31 character name format.

  • Also, UltraISO lets you create an image file with 0 sectors. ImgBurn on the other hand requires that you have at least one file or folder, so after you add that, the total sector count goes to 599 (checked using Check CD/DVD Disc option under the Tools menu in UltraISO. – Vinayak Jun 9 '14 at 20:09

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