• Updated 2023-07-12: Hello, Guest! Welcome back, and be sure to check out this follow-up post about our outage a week or so ago.

Best way to imagine a vintage Mac CD on a modern Mac?


Well-known member
Pretty basic question here, I'm a total noob to CD imaging though ....

I have a couple old CD-ROMs (mainly back-of-the-book CDs from some vintage programming books) that don't seem to be online anywhere and which I want to archive for preservation on the Garden etc.

Is there a good way to image an old Mac (1990s) HFS CD-ROM to a classic disk image format on a modern Mac? My dream is just run Disk Utility or something, create an image, upload it, done.

But most of the CD-imaging-for-vintage-Macs guides I found online seem to presume you want to do this from a vintage machine. And I have to do it (with Disk Copy, I suppose?) on one of my vintage machines then FTP the giant CD image file over ... well I probably just won't end up doing it for a while, because I am frankly a little lazy and this isn't a really high priority. Also I imagine there must be an easier way! Advice much welcomed ...


Well-known member
I have done the vast majority of all of mine on OS X 10.4 or higher, and the images all work perfectly. You should have no problem just doing it. I’ve imaged OS X system install DVDs on systems as high as macOS 12 with external BluRay drive. No problems burning or using the images ever. Just choose “CD/DVD Master” as the save type and you should be fine.


Well-known member
Wow thanks for the instant answer! I just tried this figuring there was no chance it would work and it totally did. Guess I was overthinking it. Thank you!


Well-known member
If, for some reason, it doesn’t accept the HFS, I’d try this: image the thing on the old Mac, then take the image and burn the file to a rewritable CD or equivalent in HFS+, then put that in your modern machine and copy the file. Much shorter than FTP or something.


Well-known member
Imaging should be filesystem-agnostic.

I use cdrdao for Linux, which can image and burn HFS CDs without being HFS-aware.

It's also available for Mac:

Regardless of the application, you have to decide on the image format:

.iso / .toast - For data-only discs, one track, 2048B/sector.
.bin + .cue / .toc - For audio or mixed-mode discs, all tracks, 2352B/sector.

The second option is selected in cdrdao with the --read-raw argument.


Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Do you have a Windows computer or a Windows VM you can pass an optical drive through to?

Especially for boot CDs, I recommend using imgburn on Windows for the most consistent results. I have a few images captured that way and they burn well on Win/Mac/Linux and can boot the intended machines. They also work well with emulators where you can then reimage them with DC6 or Toast. I'm about 90% sure that images captured this way also mount with Toast and some of the ISO mounting utilities on Classic Mac OS.