VSO Software’s Blindread and Blindwrite are an excellent set of tools for creating backups of copy protected disks on the Windows operating system, especially when using the Blindwrite disk image formats – .bwt .b5t and .b6t.
Most disk image mounting tools for Windows will read this format, such as Daemon Tools, Alcohol 120% and so on, but what happens if you need to access them on any computer that doesn’t have access to tools like these?
OS X for example has superb native disk image support for both .dmg and .iso along with a few others, but it does not recognise the less common Blindwrite formats.
So how can you access the contents of the disk image on a Mac? Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any way to do it without access to Windows (be it a Windows box or Windows in a virtual machine).
The simplest ways to do it are to grab Daemon Tools and install it on Windows, mount the disk image and then copy the contents to your Mac and create a new disk image using Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility), but this loses any copy protection that you may want to keep, and if the disk is formatted to show different contents depending on the OS, then you only get the things that Windows can see.
Another possibility is to mount it, then share the disk drive and access that from your Mac, but you still come up against the same problems as above.
I had a look at mounting the disk image with Daemon Tools and then creating a new disk image from it using Alcohol 120%, but I came up against one big problem. It had constant corrupt disk errors when I tried to make a new image. So, if this works, it didn’t work for me.
Finally, I found a program that will open Blindwrite disk images and has a built in conversion tool that claimed to convert Blindwrite disk images – UltraISO from EZB Systems. I was looking for something free since this is a problem I don’t come across regularly (this is the first time I’ve ever had this problem), but UltraISO retails for US $29.95. Fortunately though, the 15 day trial doesn’t have any of the conversion functionality disabled. So if you go ahead and install it, you can instantly open and convert a Blindwrite disk image to a standard .iso disk image.
The interface is a bit complex compared to other ISO tools, but the only thing we need for this purpose is the slightly inconspicuous convert button. It’s the image of a disk with a green arrow pointing to the right on it. It’s just below the help menu and between the “Compress ISO” and “Mount to Virtual Drive” buttons.
Finding the convert button is the most complicated part! Once you’ve found and clicked that, the rest is very straight forward.
It’s now just a four step process.
- Select the input file using the browse button (…) beside the “Input Image Filename(s)” field.
- Set the output directory using the browse button (…) or leave “Use Input Directory” checked to place the new disk image file in the same place as the old one.
- Select the output format, I left it as Standard ISO since that works on pretty much everything.
- Click the “Convert” button.
The conversion process took all of 5 minutes on a 600mb Blindwrite 5 (.b5t) disk image for me.
If you know of a way to access Blindwrite disk images through Mac OS X without needing access to Windows, let me know in the comments, it would be an extremely nice tidbit to know!
Have a great weekend everyone!