Using DVD-RAM discs

Learn how to use and initialize DVD-RAM discs.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
Using DVD-RAM Discs
DVD-RAM discs can be used with Macintosh computers that have a DVD-RAM drive, or with certain Generation 3 DVD-ROM drives. These computers should also have this software installed:
  • Mac OS 8.6 or later
  • Apple CD/DVD Driver system extension
  • Foreign File Access system extension
  • UDF Volume Access system extension

DVD-RAM disks can be used to store information, as with any hard disk, floppy disk, or other removable, recordable media.

Apple DVD-RAM drives work with Mac OS X. You can use and burn DVD-RAM discs. However, you can't burn CD-RW or DVD-R discs with an Apple DVD-RAM drive in Mac OS X.

DVD-RAM discs can be initialized using the Universal Disk Format (UDF), Mac OS Standard, Mac OS Extended, or DOS formats. The UDF format allows you to share information with any computer platform that works with UDF 1.5.

Choosing Erase Disk from the Mac OS 9 or earlier Special menu in the Finder also initializes a DVD-RAM disc. For Mac OS X, use Disk Utility.

Starting Up From DVD-RAM Media

Beginning with Mac OS 9.0.4, Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics and Gigabit Ethernet) computers can use DVD-RAM media as a startup disk. Other computers, which may have a DVD-RAM drive, including the Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White) and the Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics) cannot use DVD-RAM discs as a startup disk.

Follow these instructions to start up from a DVD-RAM disc:

Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics)

    1. Use Drive Setup 1.9.2 or later to format the DVD-RAM media.

    2. Install Mac OS 9 and the Mac OS 9.0.4 Update on the DVD-RAM disc. If your computer is running Mac OS 9.0.4 or later, you may drag copy that System Folder to the DVD-RAM media.

Power Mac G4 (Gigabit Ethernet)

    1. Use Drive Setup 2.0.1 or later to format the DVD-RAM media.

    2. Install Mac OS from the Restore or Install CD that came with your computer onto the DVD-RAM disc, or drag copy the active System Folder from your hard disk.

The DVD-RAM disc can now be used to start up a Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics) computer after either:

- using the Startup Disk control panel to select the DVD-RAM disc as the startup disk.

- using the Startup Manager by holding down the Option key at system startup time

- pressing and holding down the C key at system startup time

DVD-ROM Drives
Most Generation 3 (or higher) DVD-ROM drives can read Type 2 DVD-RAM discs if they are removed from their cartridge. (See the DVD-RAM disc's packaging for instructions on how to remove the disc from its cartridge.)

DVD-ROM drives use only one side of a DVD-RAM disc. If you are using a double-sided DVD-RAM disc, you must eject the disc and flip it over to use the other side.

CD-R discs
DVD-RAM drives can read CD-R and CD-RW discs, but cannot record them.

Published Date: Feb 18, 2012