How to do Multisession Burns with Mac OS X

[Originally posted at Rambling Librarian]

Update, 1 Sept 06: The steps below work only for CDs, but not for DVDs. See discussion in the comments section below.

Click on images to see larger-sized pictures:
1) Find and start the Disk Utility application. Look in the “Applications” -> Utilities folder
Mac Disk Utility application

2) Create a new Image: File -> New -> Disk Image from Folder
Create New image

3) Select the folder with the files to be copied, then click on the “Image” button. NOTE: Only folders can be copied, not individual files. Each time you want to copy the file, you might want to create a new folder and place the file in that folder.
Select Folder

4) IMPORTANT STEP: Select “read/ write” for Image Format (if not, the CD or DVD will be closed). Click on “Save”.

5) Wait while the Image (.dmg file) is being created.
Creating Image

6) Once the image is created, you’ll see this screen. Select the image from the Disk Utility window and click the “Burn” icon.
.dmg file created

7) Insert the CD/ DVD. If this is a brand new disk, you will see this dialog box. IMPORTANT – select “Leave disc appendable” if you want multisession burning later on. Then click “Burn”.

8) Wait while the files are being copied to the CD/ DVD.
Files being copied

9) Follow steps 1 to 8 the next time you want to copy to the disk. When you reach step 7 and insert the previously recorded disk, you will see this dialog box. The difference is that now you see the “Append” button instead of “Burn”. IMPORTANT — Remember to select “Leave disc appendable” before clicking Append.
Repeat steps 1 to 4

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17 thoughts on “How to do Multisession Burns with Mac OS X

  1. Thank you for your simpler expanation. I have spent days trying to figure this out. Now I am pretty sure I have followed all of the instructions perfectly, but the “Leave disc appendable” option is grayed out and not available (like “Erase disc before burining” in your Step 9 screenshot). Do you have any idea why this may happen or what I can do?

  2. I’ve searched some more and found the answer, unless you know something more? Apparently multisession burns are not supported for DVDs — only CDs.

  3. Hi Teonei, I’ve not tried burning to DVDs. Don’t have DVDs with me so I can’t verify. Not sure if anyone else who drops by this page will know. I’ll try to ask around also, and if I find something, I’ll post it here.

  4. According to Ken Stone’s Final Cut Pro web site (3rd paragraph):
    “With the Mac’s Disk Utility we can burn Multisessions to a single disk. The Multisession feature only applies to CDs, you can not create a Multisession DVD.”

    Apparently Dragon Burn lets you do it:
    “Get the most out of your CD/DVD discs with Multi-Session (DVD+RW only) support”

    I can’t confirm this capability for the ever popular Roxio Toast (apparently not).

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  6. I want to thank you for the directions for burning to cd-rw’s for multisessions. My own attempts resulting in being able to burn once to a cd-rw, leaving it a cd-r. I didn’t want to waste 700 MB of space by burning one document to a cd-rw. I then asked our Apple software engineer and he didn’t know how to do it either, which left me trying to find 3rd party free software to use on our student laptops. wasn’t helpful either. You are a godsend.

  7. Simply Burns is exactly what OS X should already do. Why couldn’t one of the more than 300 new features in Leopard be multisession DVD burning?

  8. BurnAgain DVD DOES in fact let you burn multisession DVDs and it works quite well. It’s extremely simple, in fact probably a little too simple in the fact that when you drag and drop an entire folder over to burn it just shows the folder itself and non of the items in the folder which means if you want to burn a folder minus a couple files you have to setup the folder exactly how you want it burned in finder first, then drag it in. I’m using a slightly older version though (i think) maybe they have changed that by now. Worst part it that you have to pay for it 😦 I think it’s ridiculous that you need to pay for a 3rd party app to get this kind of functionality!

  9. This was very helpful inasmuch as whatever else there is in the published Knowledge Base of Apple does not even come close to solving the problem and is applicable to OSX4 only, not OSX5, therefore requiring some imaginative adaptation to make sense of it when working with OSX5.

    There is, however, one missing item, which caused me hours of frustration. There are two misleading features in Finder. One is the feature which enables one to create a Burn Folder.fbpf. The other is the appearance, in the course of following the sequence of steps required to initiate the burn, of a notation : “Untitled CD” at the bottom of the LH pane in Finder. Those features are obvious invitations to their use when attempting to burn a file to a CD. Since you cannot burn a file directly to a CD, the workaround is to create a Burn Folder and this is where the problem lies. If you use, in Finder, File>New Burn Folder or if you use the same feature under the gearwheel in Finder, create a Burn folder thereunder, you will get something that is called Burnfolder.fpdf. You would normally want to copy to this folder all the folders and files you want to burn on the CD. You can go through the entire sequence, obtain a message telling you that you have successfully burnt, but when you then have a look at the CD, to test whether the folders/files have been in fact burnt, you will find that they have not: only aliases will be there. I should have checked the contents of the Burn folder.fpbf folder because if I had I would have seen the telltale little arrow on each of the icons, revealing their nature as aliases only.
    To avoid this result, create a Burn Folder by using the New Folder feature and not the New Burn Folder feature. Copy your files and folders to it and check to make sure they have not become aliases. Then follow the rest of the sequence and you will in fact be burning files and folders and not aliases.
    I am an Apple and PC owner and have them networked. It is extremely easy, nearly automatic to burn a file or a folder on the PC (which has both Roxio and Nero installed). I use my Apples for 90% of my work. Why Apple does not have a similar feature as a part of OSX5 is, charitably put, incomprehensible.

  10. I completed the “how to do Multisession Burns with Mac OS X according to the above instructions. It worked and was managed to burn two folders.

    When I back to add to my multisession I followed the instruction until step 7 and inserted the disk I saw the dialog box but I see “Burn” not Append….I did select “leave disc appendable”….the append was not there….only “Burn”

    Please help!!! I am very new on a iMac….it is so frustrating!!!!!

  11. An extremely helpful, simple and well-written explanation of the procedure for burning appendable/multisession CDs using the Disk Utility. Thanks.

  12. Anyone know how to make these discs readable on Windows? Trying to make Data cd’s for a PC friend and they seem to be made as “Mac OS Extendable” only. 😦

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