Make an ISO Image From any Disc
By Tim Fisher, About.com Guide
Creating and storing ISO backups of your important software installation discs, and even operating system setup discs, is a smart plan. Compliment that with an unlimited online backup service and you have a near bulletproof disc backup strategy.
ISO images are great because they’re self contained, perfect representations of the data on a disc. Being single files, they’re easier to store and organize than simple copies of the folders and files on a disc would be.
Windows doesn’t have a built-in way of creating ISO image files so you’ll need to download a program to do it for you. Luckily there are several free tools available that make creating ISO images a really easy task.
Time Required: Creating an ISO image file from a CD, DVD, or BD could take anywhere from a few minutes to over a hour, depending on the size of the disc and the speed of your computer
Download BurnAware Free, a completely free program that, among other tasks, can create an ISO image from all types of CD, DVD, and BD discs.
Important: There are “Home” and “Professional” versions of BurnAware that are not free. However, the “Free” version is fully capable of creating ISO images from your discs, which is the aim of this tutorial.
Install BurnAware Free by executing the burnaware_free file you just downloaded.
Note: BurnAware Free tries to get you to install a browser toolbar from AVG during installation. If you’re not interested in doing that, you can skip the add-on by choosingCustom installation and making sure all three boxes are unchecked. You may also want to uncheck the Add BurnAware to AutoRun menu option near the end of the install.
Run BurnAware Free, either from the shortcut created on the Desktop, or automatically via the last step in the installation.
Once BurnAware Free is open, click on Copy to Image.
The Copy to Image tool will appear in addition to the existing BurnAware Free window that’s already open.
Tip: You might have seen a Make ISO icon next toCopy to Image but you don’t want to choose that for this particular task. The Make ISO tool is for creating an ISO image not from a disc, but from a collection of files you select, like from your hard drive or other source.
From Source, choose the optical disc drive that you plan on using. If you only have one drive, you’ll only see one choice.
Click or touch Browse….
Navigate to the location that you want to create to ISO image file to, give the soon-to-be-made file a name in the File name text box, and then click or touch on Save.
Note: Optical discs, especially DVDs and BDs, can hold several gigabytes of data and will create ISOs of equal size. Make sure that whatever drive you choose to save the ISO image to has enough room to support it. Your primary hard drive likely has plenty of free space so choosing a convenient location there, like your Desktop, as the location to create the ISO image is probably fine.
Important: If your ultimate plan is to get the data from a disc onto a flash drive so you can boot from it, please know that simply creating an ISO file directly onto the USB device isn’t going to work as you expect. In most cases, like when installing Windows 7 from a flash drive, you have to take some extra steps to make sure the flash drive is properlyformatted and the files are correctly copied to the drive.
Insert the CD, DVD, or BD disc that you want to create the ISO image from into the optical drive you chose in Step 5.
Note: Depending on how AutoRun is configured in Windows on your computer, the disc you just inserted may start (e.g. the movie may start playing, you may get a Windows installation screen, etc.). Regardless, close whatever comes up.
Click or touch Copy.
Tip: Do you get a There is no disc in the source drive message? If so, just click or touch OKand then try again in a few seconds. Chances are, the spin-up of the disc in your optical drive hasn’t completed so Windows just doesn’t see it yet. If you can’t get this message to go away, make sure you’re using the right optical drive and that the disc is clean and undamaged.
Wait while the ISO image is created from your disc. You can watch the progress by keeping an eye on the Image progress bar or the x of x MB written indicator.
The ISO creation process is complete once you see the Copy process completed successfully box.
The ISO file will be named and located where you decided in Step 7.
- You can now press or click OK to that message, close the Copy to Image window, and also the BurnAware Free window. You can also now remove the disc you were using from your optical drive.
You can only create ISO images from discs that your optical drive supports. For example, if you only have a CD drive, you won’t be able to make ISO images from DVD or BD discs because your drive won’t be able to read the data from them.
- While you won’t be able to follow my tutorial above exactly, there are several other free ISO creation tools available if you don’t like BurnAware Free or it’s not working for you. Some include ISODisk, ImgBurn, ISO Recorder, and Free DVD to ISO Maker.
- A Windows 7 ISO or DVD [See Where Can I Download Windows 7? for information on getting an ISO image, or buy a new Windows 7 DVD direct from Microsoft or from other retailers.]
- A 4 GB (or larger) flash drive [Buy: TigerDirect | NewEgg | Other]
- Access to a computer with Windows 7, 8, Vista, or XP installed and working properly, as well as with a DVD drive if you have a Windows 7 DVD
- Create an ISO file from the Windows 7 DVD. If you already know how to create ISO images, fantastic: do it, and then come back here for further instructions on what to do with it.If you’ve never created an ISO file from a disc before, check out the tutorial linked above. It’ll walk you through installing some free software and then using it to create the ISO. An ISO image is a single file that perfectly represents a disc… in this case, your Windows 7 installation DVD.
Next we’re going to work on properly getting that Windows 7 ISO image you just created onto the flash drive.
- Download the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Toolfrom Microsoft. Once downloaded, execute the file and follow the installation wizard.This free program from Microsoft, which works inWindows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, will correctly format the USB drive and then copy the contents of your Windows 7 ISO file to the drive.
- Start the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool program, which is probably located in your Start menu or on your Start screen, as well as on your Desktop.
- On the Step 1 of 4: Choose ISO file screen, click Browse.
- Locate, and then select, your Windows 7 ISO file. Then click Open.Note: If you downloaded Windows 7 directly from Microsoft, check for the ISO image wherever you tend to store downloaded files. If you manually created an ISO file from your Windows 7 DVD in Step 1 above then it will be wherever you created it to.
- Click Open.
- Click Next once you’re back on the Step 1 of 4 screen.
- Click USB device on the Step 2 of 4: Choose media type screen.
- On the Step 3 of 4: Insert USB device screen, choose the flash drive or external hard driveyou want to put the Windows 7 installation files on.Tip: If you haven’t yet plugged in the flash drive or other device you’re using then you can do that now. Just click the blue refresh button to make it show up in the list.
- Click the Begin copying button.
- Click Erase USB Device if you’re prompted to do so on a Not Enough Free Space window. Then click Yes to the confirmation in the next window.Note: If you don’t see this it just means that the flash drive or external hard disk you’ve selected is already empty.
Important: Any data you have on this USB drive will be erased as part of this process.
- On Step 4 of 4: Creating bootable USB device, wait for the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool to format the USB drive and then copy the Windows 7 installation files to it from the ISO image you provided.You’ll see a Status of Formatting for several seconds, followed by Copying files. This part might take as long as 30 minutes, maybe even longer, depending on which edition of Windows 7 the ISO file you have is from, as well as on how fast your computer, USB drive, and USB connection is.
Tip: The percentage complete indicator may sit on one or more percentages for a long time. This does not mean anything is wrong.
- The next screen you see should say Bootable USB device created successfully.You can now close the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool program. The USB drive can now be used to install Windows 7.
- Boot from the USB device to start the Windows 7 setup process.Tip: You may need to make changes to the boot order in BIOS if the Windows 7 setup process doesn’t start when you try to boot from the USB drive. See How To Change the Boot Order in BIOS if you’ve never done that.
Tip: If you still can’t get the flash drive to boot, and you also have a UEFI based computer, see Tip #1 below for help.
Note: If you arrived here from How To Clean Install Windows 7, you can now return to that tutorial and continue installing Windows 7. See How To Install Windows 7 if you weren’t doing a clean install or you’re not sure what kind of installation to do.
- When the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool formats the flash drive during the process above, it does so using NTFS, a file system that some UEFI systems won’t boot from if on a USB stick.To get the USB drive to boot on these computers, you should copy the data from the flash drive onto a folder on your computer, then reformat the flash drive using the olderFAT32 file system, and then copy that same data back onto the drive.
- How To Install Windows 8 From a USB Device by JS (royaljeeva.wordpress.com)
- How to Upgrade From Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 (laptopmag.com)
- Installing Windows 7 From USB Drive 3 Steps Easy Process (teamasf.wordpress.com)