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Chris Fehily

Part 9

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Burning a disk records a disk image onto a writeable CD or DVD (to do this, your computer's optical drive must be able to write disks as well as read them). Installation instructions often have a "Mount or burn image" step, meaning that you can install a program by either mounting the disk image as a virtual drive or running a burned disk of the image. It's rarely necessary to burn a disk because image-mounting suffices in almost every case. Image-based software installations are faster than disk-based ones. You can install operating systems from images on bootable flash drives. You can bypa.s.s copy-protection requirements for physical disks by using disk mounters or software cracks. Console games are one of the few torrent categories where it's necessary or convenient to burn disks.

To burn a disk image in Windows, right-click an .iso or .img file and choose "Burn disc image." In OS X, use the built-in Disk Utility application (choose Images > Burn) or the hdiutil command (in Terminal, type hdiutil burn -help). For other disk-image formats, use a third-party disk-authoring program such as Alcohol 120% or PowerISO. See also Wikipedia's list of disk-image software.

Keygens, Cracks, and Jailbreaks.

Torrents for copy-protected applications and games include software countermeasures that bypa.s.s or remove the protection.

A key generator, or keygen, is a mini program that generates a product key or serial number that unlocks or activates software. Keygens are usually standalone executables, but some are command-line programs that you run in Command Prompt (Windows) or Terminal (OS X). If the keygen is an .exe file, then you must run it in Windows, even if it generates keys for OS X programs. (Don't be startled if a keygen plays a synthesized tune when you open it.) In some cases, a torrent will come with a typed list of keys instead of a key generator. You need a key when you install or first launch a copy-protected program.

A crack replaces or modifies software to disable a program's irritating DRM features (copy protection, expiration dates, trial limits, disk checks, ads, nag screens, and so on). Common cracks are .exe, .dll, .app, .plist, and other files that you copy to a program's installation or settings folders, overwriting the original (uncracked) files. Some cracks are standalone executables or registry (.reg) files that you need to run only once after you install a program. Overwriting or modifying original files or settings with cracks is called patching.

Installing a copy-protected program requires a keygen, crack, or both. The installation instructions should tell you how and when to apply them, and where they reside in the torrent or disk image (usually in a separate folder named "Crack," "Keygen," or labeled with the cracker's alias). The easiest programs to install are precracked (preactivated), requiring no special action by you beyond installation.

A jailbreak overrides vendor-imposed software lockdowns on a particular device. Jailbreaking an iOS device, for example, lets you bypa.s.s Apple's App Store and install cracked apps (.ipa files) on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch via Cydia. Jailbreaking a video-game console lets you play pirated or homebrew games. Jailbreaks are common but they're not part of torrent downloads (they're a separate prior step). For more information, search the web for the name of your device followed by the word jailbreak. Related Wikipedia articles include "iOS jailbreaking," "Homebrew (video games)," and "Privilege escalation."

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Installing Programs.

For OS X disk images, double-click the .dmg file or the icon of the burned disk, and then double-click the disk-image icon that appears on the desktop. Drag the program's icon to the Applications folder or to your home folder, or follow the instructions in the installer window.

In all cases, generate keys, apply cracks, and install and launch the program as the torrent instructs.


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