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Difference between ISO, BIN/CUE & MDS

The term "ISO" is ostensibly an abbreviation of "ISO-9660 disc image", which is itself somewhat suspect. ISO-9660 is a standard that defines the file system most often used on CD-ROM. It does not define a disc image format. "ISO-9660 file system image" would be more appropriate. It is typically good for data files/video content. However, it is not good with Audio CDs.

BIN/CUE format was specifically developed to overcome the Audio CDs archiving problem with ISO. In general, this format can be used for the same content that ISO supports and has no drawbacks.

MDS is typically used for copy protected DVDs. ISO or BIN/CUE does not have the feature of storing copy protection information within the image file. This file usually contains information about the position of layer break bits that helps in re-creating exact same copy of any copy protected DVD.

To summarize, ISO is good for storing files/data/video that isn't copy protected and is supported by almost every imaging software. BIN/CUE is good for copying Audio CDs. And, MDS is good for making copies of copy protected DVDs.


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Free ISO Burn Wizard features as a wonderful ISO to CD/DVD burner. With this amazing burning tool you can perfectly burn ISO image files to CD/DVD disc effortlessly. After burning, the burner will verify the written data to guarantee the information veracity and usability.

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