Burning a Bootable DVD in Windows 7

Burning a CD-R or CD-RW has been a part of Windows since the introduction of Windows XP in 2001. When Windows Vista came out in 2007, there was added the capability of burning to a DVD-R or DVD-RW. Both XP and Vista allowed you to "drag and drop" files in Windows Explorer from your hard disk or other media to an optical drive which had a writeable CD or DVD inserted. In Windows Vista, you could choose to format the optical media with either the Live File System or the Mastered system. In the former case, you were thus enabled to copy files to the disc at any time (as long as there was room left), rather than having to copy all the files at once. But if you chose the Mastered format, your CDs/DVDs were more likely to be compatible with earlier versions of Windows.

However, not until Windows 7 could you burn a "bootable" CD or DVD without resorting to third-party software such as Roxio Easy Media Creator or Nero Burning ROM (or various free products you could download from the internet, such as CDBurnerXP.) You would have available on your hard drive, perhaps, a large file you downloaded from the internet with a file name extension of ".ISO" or ".IMG", but you find that just copying this to a CD or DVD with Windows' own built-in CD/DVD burning capability would not get you a bootable CD/DVD. But now, in Windows 7, all you need to do is right click on that .ISO or .IMG file and select "Burn disc image" from the Context Menu that scrolls out:
 Burn Disc Image context menu

Comments (4)

Author of the Year 2011
Top Expert 2006

LeeTutor -
I've been playing with Windows 7 since the Beta releases came out, but did not know about this capability.
Great information to have and I will give it a try.

"Yes" vote above.
Top Expert 2010

This is good I didn't notice this feature either. With this feature anyone who is running Windows 7 can use pure code in VBA or any language to create a .ISO of a CD in cooked mode and then burn it without using any third party programs.
tigermattStaff Platform Engineer
Most Valuable Expert 2011

This one is on the list of another of those long awaited improvements made in Windows 7. Thanks, LeeTutor!
It is a great feature, but it sure does not make a BOOTABLE DVD!  I have run  the simple process on a MS Windows 2008 x86 and 64-bit ISO files downloaded from my MS Licensing site through download manager.  It burns the image just fine, but at the end itis neither bootable in a Dell server, or a Dell PC, or a clone PC with Intel motherboard.  However, my original 2003 Server boots on all 3 platforms!

Have a question about something in this article? You can receive help directly from the article author. Sign up for a free trial to get started.