How to Create an ISO image from a CD, DVD or BD

ISO images or files (ending with the .iso extension) are single-file representations of all the data on a CD, DVD or BD. They are typically used for backing up your discs and can be easily stored on cloud storage or distributed without having to worry about the integrity of the files or completion of operating system setups. Unfortunately, Windows does not allow you to make ISO images of your optical media inherently, which is why you will need to download software to do the job for you. In this guide I will be using free software called BurnAware but there are others you can check out, like ISO Recorder and ImgBurn.


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    First you will need to download the setup file for BurnAware free, which can be done from the official website (  While the free version of this software has ads and offers from sponsors, you don’t need to install any toolbars or browser add-ons for the software to do its magic.

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    Once the setup is downloaded run it to start the installation process. Choose the ‘Custom installation’ option to have control over what is installed onto your system. Uncheck all the free offers and the option to add BurnAware to the autorun menu.

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    After installation is complete you can choose to run the software directly or use the shortcut on your desktop. Once BurnAware is running, you will see two options, ‘Copy to Image’ and ‘Make ISO’. The Make ISO option is handy when you have files and folders stored on your computer which you wish to put together in an ISO file. However, since you are looking to create an ISO image from an optical disk, you need to select the Copy to Image option.

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    Once the Copy to Image tool is open, you need to click on Source and then browse for the optical drive you wish to copy from. The disc you wish to copy should be in the drive and the software will automatically read it after you select the appropriate drive. Optical discs vary in terms of storage capacity, while CDs are generally limited to around 700 MBs, DVDs and BDs go into GBs. Remember that the ISO file you create is going be the same size as the disc you are copying, so be mindful of the free storage on your hard disk.

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    Click on ‘Copy’ to begin the ISO creation process, which you can then monitor from the progress bar. Once the ISO file is created you will be prompted with a completion message. Now you can close the program and take out the disc from your drive and your hard drive is going to have an ISO image of the disc for your use.

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