How to copy a previously-burned DVD

There are some questions that we get asked again and again. I hope the information presented here makes it possible for you to copy a DVD since photo slideshows and videos make great gifts.

This tutorial assumes that you made the DVD which you are trying to copy or that there is no copy protection or Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme applied to the DVD. Please do a search on the Internet and remember that piracy is illegal if you are trying to copy a commercial DVD.

• Insert the DVD-R video disc that you created. If the DVD starts playing automatically, press the esc (escape) key. It is in the top left position on your computer keyboard.

• Click on your computer desktop to get into the Finder. Select the Go Menu and pull down to Utilities

• Open the Disk Utility application.

• In the left column of Disk Utility, select the disc. It will be indented under the name of your CD/DVD Drive. If the original disk was burned using a session mode, there may be one or more sessions. You DO NOT want to choose a session. Choose the name of the disk that is inserted in your CD/Drive.

• From the File menu, choose New and then choose Convert

• Enter a file name, choose a location, and choose "DVD/CD Master" from the Image Format pop-up menu.

• Click the Save button. After the image has been created you should see it in the disk listing in the Disk Utility window.

• Eject the DVD-R video disc.

• Select the disk image you created from the listing.

• Click the Burn icon in the toolbar.

• When prompted, insert a blank DVD-R disc. Click the Burn Button when the disc has been recognized by your computer.

This tutorial was inspired by a client who needed a bit of hand-holding to copy her DVD. Although I have attempted to include lots of screenshots, you may need a bit more help. That is one of the things that we can do at Bob LeVitus Consulting! Give us a call. We can clear up any questions and walk you through the process. Our tutoring sessions are $60 per hour. We have special software that allows us to see and control your computer. Give us a call at 408 627-7577, or visit our web site or send us a message at We offer training, troubleshooting and technical support.



Choosing a backup drive – a word of warning

If you read MacMousecalls or the Dr. Mac Consulting Newsletter, you have read many posts and articles about the necessity of backing up your computer.

There are many software solutions and hard drives that can be used for backing up your files, photos and data. Many of our long-time readers (and often long-time Mac users) prefer to make bootable backups of their data. This means they use an application like Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) or SuperDuper to make an exact duplicate of their hard drive.

If (when) you need to use the backup made by Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper, it is often necessary to use the backup hard drive to boot your computer.

The cheapest form of drive to use for backups is a USB drive--and if you have a MacBook, it is probably the ONLY way you can connect an external drive.

Now, here comes the rub! Even though all Intel Macintoshes are able to be booted from a USB drive, not all brands of drives can be used to boot a Macintosh. In particular, Western Digital hard drives are a problem.

On their own web page, Western Digital notes that they do “not provide technical support for booting your computer using an external hard drive.” They use the language “should be bootable,” but they make no guarantees.

While this might not be a problem, it COULD be one.

Because of this issue, noted on the Western Digital web page, I would have difficulty recommending a Western Digital hard drive. I would NOT recommend them for use with Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper or any other program that makes a bootable backup drive for your Mac.

While I use SuperDuper to make a bootable backup of my Macs, it is not my primary backup system. I am a strong proponent of Time Machine, Apple’s backup software that is a part of Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard and Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard. It does not make a bootable backup, but I can always use the System DVD that came with my computer or the Leopard or Snow Leopard DVD to boot my computer and then I can restore my computer using the backup files on my Time Machine drive.

The most valuable feature of Time Machine is that I can restore individual files, photos, addresses, emails and more and I can go back “in time” to restore a file I have changed or perhaps discarded if I need the earlier version or missing file.

Backing up is the single, most important thing a computer user should do. Loosing all of your files and photos is heart-breaking and recovering them from a failed drive is very expensive when it is even possible.


Did you read…

Keeping up with technology requires lots of reading. When I add news, email and friend’s blogs to the mix, I have many items to read each day.

I have found a great way to keep up with my reading while work around my office and home!

You might know about this command in the Macintosh contextual menu:

To get to it, highlight some text--on a web page, in Mail or in most Macintosh applications. Then hold down the Control key and click into the highlighted text. A menu similar to this one will appear. To have your computer read the text to you, select “Speech > Start Speaking.” If you want to stop listening, you will need to click and hold the control button again and select “Speech > Stop Speaking.”

I have used this method for years, but I have always wanted a faster, easier way to have my Mac read to me.

I was recently exploring System Preferences and I found an intriguing item in the Speech Preference:

Click on the icon for Speech and you will see this:

Click on “Set Key” to reveal this:

Now, click on whatever key combination you would like to use, but remember, there are lots of key commands already in use.

I chose Command + Option + Control + S because it is “free” and it is easy to remember. I just hold down all the keys to the left of the Space Bar, and the S key for speak. You. do need to highlight the test you want the computer to read.

The best part of using a keyboard combination is that pressing the same combination again turns the speech off!

There is so much that the Mac can do. If you would like a little help, give us a call at Bob LeVitus Consulting. You can telephone us at 408 627-7577, or visit our web site or send us a message at We offer training, troubleshooting and technical support.



My busy summer


While many of the readers of MacMousecalls have no contact with me except through this blog, there are a number of readers who are family, personal friends, professional contacts or people who I have become friends with through the blog, Dr. Mac Consulting, my podcast appearances and Twitter.

There are many reasons why I have had little time to write much lately, but this little guy has played a major role.

This is Corbin. He was born on September 4, at thirty weeks gestation. He is still in the NICU and yesterday was the first time I got to see him. Hopefully, he will be going home soon.

My summer was busy with my daughter’s wedding and I three of our grandsons (Corbin’s brothers) and their dad spending the week-days with us.

I started this post several weeks ago. Somehow, my blogging has become very infrequent. There are lots of reasons, but the real one is my software. When I began this blog, I chose RapidWeaver because of many of its features. But that was several years ago and things have changed. Back then, I sat in my home office most of the day. I didn’t have an iPad. I was content to always use my computer. I still work from home, but I find myself working all over the house. I even find myself working from unusual places where my MacBook Pro is just inconvenient.

When I began MacMousecalls, i was certain that I wanted to only write about Mac topics. Now we have iPhones and iPads . I have even delved into some techie stuff that involves other digital devices like my sewing machine. I have also made a number of friends through this blog with whom I share other interests.

So, it is time for a change.

While MacMousecalls will still cover Apple topics, I will be adding content that does not directly fit the old MacMousecalls. There will be some homemaking and crafting items, some photography posts, some personal items and lots of Apple stuff.

Come along for the ride! Change can be good. If a post doesn’t appeal to you, just close the page. Perhaps the next post will suit your need more!