Three main reasons justify the effort of producing Macintosh CD-ROMs on a PC, in particular if you are a professional and want to distribute your CD-ROMs to potential customers without excluding the Macintosh users:
- Accessing long filenames: the Joliet standard is not supported by all versions of the operating system; it is not always possible to ask the users to download special extensions from the Internet. Even if the Joliet filenames are supported, the practical limit to filenames on the Macintosh is 31 characters.
- Identification of the file contents: the Macintosh computer may not have correct settings to recognize the file extensions, since the Mac uses instead signatures to automatically launch the correct application when the user double-clicks on the file icon. The user (who is not always computer savvy) will be rather clueless when facing a message about SimpleText when trying to open the wonderful picture you sent him.
- Installation of Macintosh programs: Macintosh programs must be installed correctly, in the respect of the file forks, which is very difficult in the ISO 9660 standard (Apple published an "extension" to the ISO 9660 to be able to keep the forks together and to manage the signatures and Finder flags. See Apple technote FL-36). No burning software on the PC supports this extension.
Producing Macintosh CD-ROMs on a PC is possible. We propose to do that our software MacImage.
MacImage allows the user to make on a PC pure Macintosh CD-ROMs (pure HFS CD-ROMs) and hybrid (HFS/ISO 9660) ones. The principle of the software is to produce the future CD-ROM in an image file. This file is then burnt with your favorite burning software. All software packages allow this operation (see our CD-ROM FAQ for more information on how to do that).
Producing Hybrid CD-ROMs
MacImage produces hybrid (HFS/ISO 9660) CD-ROMs on a plain PC. You select this solution when you don't know who will use your CD-ROM. Since you don't know what computer equipment they have, how knowledgeable they are, you have to do all the work yourself and give them a CD-ROM which will behave exactly as they expect (on the PC or on the Macintosh).
Till now, you had to produce the CD-ROM on the Macintosh with software packages like Toast from Adaptec/Roxio. MacImage now allows you to do the CD-ROM production on your PC.
- To see how to make a hybrid CD-ROM (HFS/ISO 9660), that is a CD-ROM which will be read on a Macintosh and on a PC, from data files stored on a PC, which will be shared (copied only once on the medium), follow this walkthrough, featuring our MacImage. See also our special page on hybrid html CDs.
Please note that this walkthrough is kept simple and only uses data files. If you want more information on Macintosh programs and about the autorun feature of Macintosh CD-ROMs, please visit our page about the installation of Macintosh applications on hybrid CD-ROMs.
Producing HFS CD-ROMs
MacImage allows you also to create a pure HFS CD-ROM by managing a Macintosh virtual partition in a file stored on your hard disk. You select the size you want and put your files in this virtual volume, which behaves like a real Macintosh drive. You can select this solution when you know that the user works on a Macintosh.
Since software packages like Toast can mount images (i.e., open the file like a disk), you can even test the result on a Macintosh without burning the image.
- To see how to make a Macintosh CD-ROM (pure HFS CD-ROM), that is a CD-ROM which will be read only on a Macintosh, from data files stored on a PC, follow this walkthrough, featuring our MacImage.
Please note that if you want to make a Macintosh CD-ROM (HFS only) from a Macintosh magnetic disk (existing data volume where you don't have to change anything), you can also use our free Hybridator. In this case, follow this walkthrough.
Visit our FAQs
To get more information on all aspects of burning Macintosh CD-ROMs on a PC, we recommend you visit our FAQs:
- FAQ on MacImage about several aspects of using MacImage to build Macintosh CD-ROMs on a PC (which can be of interest also for Hybridator users)
- FAQ on CD-ROM about questions pertaining to burning CD-ROM with several software packages.