How to Create a Multi-session LiveDVD

Creating a disc that is multi-session is desirable when one wishes data to be saved to the same live DVD that one has booted from. This means that one can carry an operating system and personal files all on one optical disc.

A multi-session optical disc is only created if it is specifically written to as 'open'. Being 'open' means that future, persistent data can be saved onto the same disc as opposed to some other additional partition on a hard disc drive or flash memory drive. Forum Thread

After its creation a minimum of 256MB of R.A.M. is required for live DVD operation. Once a disc becomes full a new one may be created containing all the latest settings and configuration from the old one.

Operation limitation of multi-session live optical disc

Using Microsoft Windows
Not all CD/DVD burning programs designed for Microsoft Windows provide the option to burn (write) in multi-session mode. One that does is the free CDBurnerXP∞.

Use this program for creating a multi-session live CD only. However, it is recommended to use DVD+R media for the creation of a multi-session optical disc. DVD has a superior specification than CD. DVD+R is superior than other DVD formats in terms of its archival capacity. Therefore the only circumstance under which one should use CDBurnerXP to burn a CD-R would be if one's optical drive is not a DVD rewriter. The following instructions are for such a situation:
Do not use CDBurnerXP to create a multi-session live DVD. To record to DVD a running Linux distribution (operating system) is required because one absolutely must use growisofs (combined mkisofs frontend/DVD recording program) to perform the recording. The Burniso2cd program in Puppy Linux makes use of growisofs.

In summary, for all Microsoft Windows users, the recommended course of action is:

Using Linux
Puppy Linux has been a pioneer of the multi-session live DVD. To create a multi-session disc use the Burniso2cd program within Puppy Linux. This program will only write the ISO image to a blank disc, i.e. the disc is either new, or, as in the case of a re-writable disc, it has been erased first using the Pburn program.

To start Pburn, within Puppy Linux go to: Menu > Multimedia > Pburn

To start Burniso2cd, within Puppy Linux go to: Menu > Multimedia > Burniso2cd

Erasing a disc using Pburn
Start Pburn; go to Burn > Blank CD/DVD; click Blank disc tab; select type of erasure Fast blank and select type of disc media; click Burner device tab and select your burner device (drive) that contains the disc to be erased, and un-check Eject disc after burn; click Burn button to commence erasing.

Writing an ISO image to disc using Burniso2cd
Start Burniso2cd; select the disc type, CD or DVD, that has been placed in the drive; then select the optical disc drive that contains the disc; and then navigate to the location of the relevant ISO file so as to select it. The Burniso2cd program will write the ISO image file to the optical disc. Leave the disc in the drive and re-start the computer.

When using Burniso2cd with an optical disc it is always burnt "open", i.e. the option whether to burn as closed or open is not offered. This disc can become either a multi-session Puppy live DVD or a non-multi-session one. This option is offered when one first boots the newly written disc and subsequently proceeds to shutdown for the first time: one will be asked where one will want one's personal data to be saved, either on the DVD or on some other partition, wherever that may be. The irreversible decision one makes here is what determines whether the disc is permanently set as multi-session or not. So if one wants a multi-session disc choose that personal data and session settings be saved to the optical disc only, i.e. select Save to CD, and not Save to file (the default option). Subsequently, each time one proceeds to shutdown at the end of a session, the option to save or discard that session is provided.

For CD-R/RW media the situation is different. The option is offered whether to burn as closed or open; so if one wants a multi-session CD-R/RW then one must choose to burn an 'open' disc. However, using a CD is less reliable at saving sessions at shutdown than using a DVD+R, another reason not to use CD for creating a live disc.


Barry Multi-session page

Appendix 1

Posted on 26 Apr 2011, 8:48 by BarryK
Multisession on laptop
Laptop optical drives cannot handle multisession CD/DVD. This problem has always been there, you have to use have to use a "proper" optical drive on a PC. Probably this should be explained somewhere, before people try, and fail.

I don't know if this limitation applies to all laptop optical drives. If anyone knows of an exception,let us know.

There was a post here recently by Ted Dog, that the Gujin bootloader can get around the limitation: would be interesting to explore a live-CD with Gujin
anyone interested?

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