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July 2004

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DVD writing with files greater than 2 GB

By Ines Schmitt © July 2004, Translation: Christian Hennecke

There has been software that allows us to write DVDs on OS/2 for quite some time now. RSJ Software has supported writing data DVDs since version 5.00. It works without problems just as writing to CDs. However, the experienced DVD author soon discovers a limit: The 2 GiB (gigabyte) limit.

Unfortunately, RSJ is not capable of writing single files of more than 2 GiB to DVD including the latest version 5.50. I asked RSJ about this problem. They answered that they were writing ISO9660 CDs/DVDs and that 2 GiB was a hard-coded limit of that standard. From my perspective this is unreasonable since it is expected to save large files with a DVD writer. Just to make this clear: In principle, RSJ does write to all data DVDs to the full extent of 4.7 GiB, it is just that any single file may not exceed a size of 2 GiB.

The UDF (Universal Disk Format) driver lends itself to a work-around (currently, I'm running IBM's driver version 2.1.3). Using it, I have written files greater than 2 GiB in size to DVD+RW. And here we have another limitation: With IBM's UDF driver you can only write to RW media.

The third possible tool of choice is cdrecord. Both the current cdrecord 2.0, distributed by Jörg Schilling, and cdrecord2 (cdrtools), modified by nickk, provide options to solve the problem in an elegant way. I am going to discuss the setup details in the following.

Basic CONFIG.SYS setup

Most DVD writers in the market are IDE devices. Hence, the corresponding drivers have to be added to CONFIG.SYS. Daniela Engert's IDE driver has excelled in flexibility and up-to-dateness. Those of you with IDE drives in their system probably already have it in CONFIG.SYS:


In addition, we need Danielas ATAPI driver. This driver replaces IBMIDECD.FLT which should be commented out (REMed). Likewise, the driver RSJIDECD.FLT has to be REMed if it was added by an RSJ CD-Writer installation. The DANIATAP.FLT driver is essential for the use of cdrecord because it provides a visualization of IDE devices in SCSI-2 style. Only in this way can cdrecord recognize a DVD writer.


The parameter /RSJ provides RSJ with access to the drive. If RSJ CD-Writer is not installed, the parameter can be omitted.

Furthermore, Paul Ratcliffe's ASPIROUT.SYS is required. Aspirout.sys allows application-level access to SCSI devices. cdrecord accesses only SCSI devices.


Writing large files using cdrecord2

Assume that we want to write a large file (> 2 GiB) from a JFS drive to DVD+R (or -R). The first step is to run mkisofs2.exe:

mkisofs2.exe -l -split-output -o e:\cdcopy\track -v -log-file burn.log e:\backups\burn

Let's take a look at the parameters:

-l Allows file names with up to 31 characters
-split-output The output file for writing is split into several temporary files of approximately 1 GiB maximum size. These are merged during the output process. -split-output always has to be used in connection with an -o parameter. The split files follow the naming pattern filename_00, filename_01, etc.
-o name of the new output file that conforms to the ISO9660 file system
-v verbose execution
-log-file writes any messages to this file instead of the screen
[source_path] the location of the input files that are written to DVD (in this case e:\backups\burn)

Preparation has been finished. The splitting results in three files in the e:\cdcopy directory.

Now we run DVDDAO:

dvddao.exe -d 0,1,0 --speed 2 -v 3 e:\cdcopy\track_00 e:\cdcopy\track_01 e:\cdcopy\track_02

The parameter's meanings:

-d The writer's device address in SCSI-2 format; use the scgcheck.exe tool (in the cdrecord package) to find out which address has to be entered here.
-speed Writing speed
-v Verbose messages

The last parameters are the names of the three split images which are merged to the output DVD.

It works for video DVDs, too

Splitting also works when copying video DVDs. (Note: cdrecord ignores copy protection.)

mkisofs2 -dvd-video -split-output -o image s:\..
-dvd-video creates a video DVD compliant UDF file system

This reads the DVD-ROM drive (S:) and writes it to files with the name of image_*.

Writing can be done with DVDDAO as described above:

dvddao -d 0,1,0 image_00 image_01 (etc.)


cdrecord and DVDDAO are very powerful tools which make using DVDs to their full potential really possible. I find it disappointing that RSJ -- as a commercial software -- is not suitable for writing DVDs currently. Happily we find that freeware is superior to commercial software in this case. Usage of RSJ may be more convenient but with a few scripts, cdrecord and DVDDAO can be operated easily.


RSJ CD/DVD Writer:
CD-Writing with OS/2:
Daniela Engert's ATAPI driver:
Daniela Engert's IDE driver:
IBM UDF driver via Software Choice (Passport Advantage) or udf201.exe

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