Mastering means producing an image of the final product for replication. This is done only after all testing, trialling and revisions have been carried out. Whether this is done inside the development house or by an outside pressing service, say, the following steps will be involved in preparing digital materials for the creation of the master. (Mastering analogue video for laserdisc production is not considered here.)
Usually, one or more test discs produced by the pressing service are returned for approval before replication of the full production run.
- The complete program, including any digital support materials ("read-me" files and any fonts or system extensions to be bundled which must be copied to a user's harddisc to ensure the program will run and display correctly) should be collected together on the same volume.
- Files should be checked to ensure there are no viruses.
- For programs to run under GUI operating systems, account must be taken of how things will look on the target playback monitor when the distribution medium carrying the program is first opened. This means checking all folder windows and leaving them either opened or closed and re-sized, if necessary. It means, also, tidying and positioning files within opened windows to facilitate user interaction.
- A destination volume of adequate capacity to contain the final disc image should be prepared. The destination volume might be a partition on the development station harddisc, a partition on an external harddisc, or simply a floppy disc. Preparing the volume means:
- giving it the correct name as it will appear to the end-user on their desktop;
- emptying and defragmenting the destination volume.
- Finally, the program with all its files should be copied to the destination volume