For some time now the very largest installations—typically music applications with multi-gigabyte libraries—involve the insertion of annoyingly large number of DVD discs. When this was just one or two it wasn’t so bothersome, but Logic Studio has eight, and Native Instruments’ Komplete 7 has twelve! Optical discs are also a relatively slow format for delivering data but what really grates is the need to attend the installation, to sit there throughout the entire process inserting each disc in turn. Luckily there is an alternative method for speeding up the installation process, which removes the need to insert each disk on demand.
A disk image is defined as "a single file containing the complete contents and structure representing a data storage medium or device" (thank you, Wikipedia!) and this method involves the creation of a disk image for each physical disk, and the storage of that image on an external hard drive. With hard drive space now relatively cheap, why not create a partition on an external drive and use it for storing large installers and disk images? Use Mac OS X’s Disk Utility to create them as follows:
Creating a Disk Image
Select the destination for the disk image you are about to create and change the image format to ‘read only’; encryption should be left set as ‘none’. Click ‘Save’
Save the disk image as ‘read only’ and unencrypted
Repeat the above process for all remaining disks required for the installation.
The next time you need to install that piece of software you will need to perform the following steps:
Skip the verification process to save time
Once the disks disk images are mounted, double-click the first of the series and proceed with the installation process as you normally would.
Every installer disk mounted and ready to go
What happens next is where your precious time is saved! Each time the installation process requires the next disk it will automatically find it, as it is already mounted on your system. What this means is firstly, that you can leave the entire process unattended. Secondly, as data transfer is much quicker from a hard drive than from an optical drive, the process is much faster.
A recent installation of Komplete using this method and an Iomega FireWire 800 external hard drive took just under 29 minutes (by DVD it is usually getting on for three hours). And the best bit of all? During this time I did something more useful than sitting and waiting to insert the next installation disc!