Save Time and Effort by Copying Installation CD's To Your Hard Drive

Your computer can sometimes ask you for a program’s installation CD even
after that program has long been installed. For example, you’re asked to
insert your Windows CD when you perform certain Windows Updates, and you’ll
need your Office CD for many Office Updates. You may also be asked for a
program’s CD if you want to upgrade, and you may even need to produce your
Windows or Office CDs when you install a related program. Unfortunately,
many users store their installation CD’s in obscure or offsite locations, or
simply lose track of them.

There isn’t any substitute for safely storing these CDs; however, if you
copy them to your hard drive, you’ll rarely need to lay your hands on them.
Remember, CD cases or sleeves often have product keys and/or serial numbers,
and it’s very important to keep track of these. As long as you have this
identifying information on hand, you can even install a program from the
copy of its CD.

Which CDs should I copy?
------------------------
A CD can potentially hold close to a gigabyte of data. Depending on your
hardware, this could amount to a significant amount of disk space, so before
you copy any CDs to your drive, you should check your hard drive’s free
space. We advise that you leave at least 25% of your total disk space free
to keep your machine running optimally.

If you do have enough space to copy some CDs, start with Windows and Office:
you’ll need these semi-frequently if you follow our Windows/Office update
guidelines (as per our recent Tips). You may also want to copy CDs that
accompanied hardware you purchased (e.g. printers, routers, etc.), in case
you need to troubleshoot or reinstall any of it.

You may also choose to keep other CDs: Your computer may regularly ask you
to insert a certain CD, you may have heavily used programs on your machine
that can be updated (e.g. Adobe Acrobat, QuickBooks, etc.), you may plan to
install a certain program on other computers networked to yours, etc.

Copying an installation CD
--------------------------
Before you copy any installation CDs, it’s advisable to set up a folder
structure to house all of your copied CDs. We like to make a master
‘Installation CDs’ folder, and subfolders for each CD. Next, you’ll need to
make sure you can see all the files on an installation CD: in Windows
Explorer, go to Tools | Folder Options and click the ‘View’ tab. In the
window that opens, check the box next to ‘Show hidden files and folders’.

Now you’re ready to copy. Insert a CD into your drive, navigate to it in
Windows Explorer, press ‘CTRL + A’ while its window is open to highlight
everything, and press ‘CTRL + C’ to copy. Navigate to the folder you set up
for the copy, and press ‘CTRL + V’ to paste. Depending on the speed of your
CD drive and the size of the CD, this procedure can potentially take a
while.

Using a copied CD
-----------------
When you’re asked to insert a CD, you’ll be given a ‘Browse’ option.
‘Browse’ to the folder where you copied your CD and click ‘Ok’. If you’d
like to install a program from its CD copy, browse to its folder in Windows
Explorer, and look for a ‘Setup’, ‘Install’, or similarly named executable
(.exe) file. Double-click the executable file to begin installation.
Remember, CD content can vary, so if you’re not sure which file actually
installs your program, feel free to contact us.

This article is provided by Shulman Clark Associates - Ann Arbor Michigan - Providing Practical Technology Services For Small Business