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Create Bootable CD From ISO Image File

Create CD from ISO Image FileISO Image to CD in a Flash!

OK, first off, this is a first in that I’m writing a combined Windows/Mac article.  I thought it would be nice for both types of users to see how the other half lives.  No fighting now!

So, last week I wrote about creating a bootable USB thumb/flash drive from an ISO file using your Mac (Windows users, you’ll get your turn soon).  You can also read how to create an ISO file from a CD in the above mentioned article.

I’ve also previously discussed converting DMG files to ISO files on your Mac.

Now we’ll get into creating a CD.  It might be bootable or it might not.  That depends entirely on the ISO image you are using.

Remember, an ISO file is typically an exact image of a CD or DVD so if the CD or DVD that was used to create the ISO was bootable then chances are that the ISO file contains this information too.

If you would really like to learn more about ISO files you can view this comprehensive Wikipedia page.

ISOs are not however limited to such uses and software is available to create your own ISO archives with just about anything on them.

Here’s How To Do It

For all of the methods mentioned below you are of course going to need a few things:

Windows XP and Vista

Windows XP or Vista don’t have a native way to  burn a CD or DVD so you are going to use either a piece of third party software that came with your PC such as Nero or you will download a free program such as Burn4Free to do it.

These instructions are based on Burn4Free so if you want to use your own software you can adapt them to that.

  1. Download & Install Burn4Free (download & setup instructions)
  2. Open Burn4Free
  3. Insert a writable CD or DVD
  4. Click Burner > Burn ISO
  5. Browse to and select your ISO image file
  6. In the Confirm Burn ISO Image File dialog click Yes
  7. A hop, skip and jump later you’ll be done!

Burn4Free Burning An ISO Image to DVD

Windows 7

So Microsoft have finally caught up and facilitated burning CD’s directly from the OS without additional software – wonders will never cease.  You can, if you wish, use the instructions above (Burn4Free works in Windows 7 also) you can also follow these slightly easier instructions:

  1. Locate and right-click on your ISO image file
  2. From the context menu, click Burn disc image
  3. The Windows Disc Image Burner should open – select your CD/DVD drive from the Disc Burner drop down list (it should already be selected by default but you might have more than one – lucky you)
  4. Select the Verify disc after burning checkbox (always clever and doesn’t take that long)
  5. If you’re using a rewritable disc, such as a CD-RW or DVD-RW, that contains some data then you’ll get a warning message that the disc needs to be erased.  If you’re happy for this to happen then click Yes.
  6. Chug chug, grind grind and in a few minutes the process is complete

Windows 7 Disc Image Burner

Mac OSX Snow Leopard

In a previous article, I showed you how to make a USB thumb drive bootable using an ISO image and the Terminal application in Mac OSX.  This time we’ll use Disk Utility.

  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Click Images > Burn or press ⌘+B
  3. When the Select Image to Burn dialog appears, browse to your ISO image, select it and click Burn
  4. Insert writable CD or DVD when prompted – you can also click the down arrow in the top right hand corner to reveal additional options as shown below.
  5. Zippity, zap and a few minutes later the process is complete

Disk Utility Burn ISO File


Wow, 8 Comments! We've got a conversation going now. Join the discussion below!

  1. commenter says:

    If I do this for a windows 7 iso on a mac, will it work to boot on a windows pc? Thanks.

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi…presume you’re asking if you burn the Windows 7 disc on a Mac will it boot on a PC? If so, then yes, I’ve done this without too much effort. In fact it’s probably easier then if you make it on a Windows PC.

      1. Rena says:

        Thanks for spending time on the computer (wtgrini) so others don’t have to.

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