A. Backing up your data to CDs is a great idea. Most computers with CD burners come bundled with CD-recording software that uses drag-and-drop technology. This means burning your files to CD is a cinch. First, insert a blank CD-RW or CD-R into the CD recording drive. (A CD-RW lets you erase and write over the data multiple times; you can’t change or delete data on a CD-R.) Open the software, choose to make a data CD, drag the desired files into the software and record.
If your data takes up only 20MB of your 700MB CD-R, you don’t have to waste that extra space. Most burning software lets you keep a session open so you can add more files later. If you close the session on a CD-R, you won’t be able to record more data on the disc.
Windows XP users also can save family history information to CD using XP’s built-in copy capacity. Insert a blank disc, then go to Start >My Computer. Find and select the files you want to copy. (Hint: To select more than one file, hold down the Control key while clicking on the items.) Next, under File and Folder Tasks, click Copy This File (or Copy This Folder). In the Copy Items dialog box, choose the CD recording drive as the destination.
Finally, return to My Computer and double-click your recording drive. Verify the files displayed are the correct ones, click Write These Files to CD and follow the CD Writing Wizard.
To burn a CD in Mac OS X, insert a blank disc, select the Standard format and drag the files into the CD icon. Drag the CD icon into the trash can to burn the disc.
From the December 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.