As you have probably read many times on this site optical media (i.e. CD and DVDs), while reliable and cheap, doesn’t last forever. Because of this, it is a good idea to create copies of your optical media, particularly install CDs to your hard drive. The best choice for archiving these is to use ISO files.
In addition to having a backup you can burn to CD at any time, you can also install directly from the ISO file instead of having to dig for the original media.
One thing I do at work is create an ISO file of all our CD/DVDs and if there is a serial number you need to enter, I create a file named ‘serial.txt’ and put in the appropriate information. I then create a zip file (using 7-Zip with maximum compression) of the two and store them. This allows me to distribute the program easily to offsite users without having to burn and mail CDs.
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