Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mostly ISO burning

This week I had a comment left on an older post requesting assistance with burning an ISO using Windows XP.

I guess I just take ISO burning (and other ISO actions) as such a simple a task that I don’t even give it any thought.

I also take it for granted that I can reach into my 7.5 GB deep collection of tools and utilities and always count on finding the right tool for the task at hand.

It has been quite a while since my last ISO-burning specific post, so I thought I would revisit things and warm up my blogging skills which have been quite rusty of late.

I went though that post and my collection of semi-dedicated ISO burning tools and pending bookmarks to come up with a few new lists.

Below is a collection of free software tools that are primarily very ISO burning centric. Some can do some other things as well but they all are pretty much “select your ISO file, select your hardware burner, burn it.”  These are perfect for the occasion quick “one-off” ISO burn duty. I believe they are all (well except for the first one) “portable” in operation assuming the system you are running them on supports any dependencies (ie. .NET).

  • Burn ISO Images Natively in Windows 7 - Got Windows 7? Then you have ISO burning support baked in!
  • BurnCDCC - This TeraByte Unlimited tool is my #1 go-to tool for one-off burns of CD/DVD ISO files. Period.  It is that simple and that good.  Single 144 kB exe file.
  • BURNISO - from Dirk Paehl is a nice a direct ISO burning tool.
  • Free ISO Burner - Another nice ISO-burning centric tool. I like this one in that it is a single exe file (802 kB).
  • Active ISO Burner - This tool has a few additional tricks up its sleeve so if you need a bit more control for burning options, you may want to take a look at this one; write ISO image to CD,DVD,CD-RW,CDR,DVD-RW.
  • 7Burn - tool gets a bit more “complicated” again in that it not only easily allows you to burn an ISO to a disk, but also files/folders and limited audio disk support. It also supports burning to Blu-ray media. It does require .NET be present. While it is a single exe file, the size on this one is a heavier 3.67 MB.
  • Free DVD ISO Burner - Minidvdsoft product. Similar to others here.
  • ISOBURN - another, simpler ISO burning tool from Dirk Paehl.
  • Astroburn Lite - Free (non-commercial use only) tool to burn CD/DVDs. (I see this one recommended often in comments for other CD/ISO burning posts so I’m sharing it here. I haven’t used it yet. YMMV)

These next free tools are much more comprehensive in disk burning options. Yes, they can still handle ISO burning, but have a lot more bells and whistles.  While they can handle one-off ISO burns, they are probably better suited for heavier ISO building/burning duties.

  • The Official ImgBurn Website - Love this tool!  It does all my heavier lifting for ISO burning (when I am burning multiple copies) as well as building ISO files from files/folders/optical media disks. Super awesome and updated often.
  • StarBurn Free - This is a very full featured burning tool that comes in both free, $, and portable (I recommend that one) versions. The interface is a bit more “geeky” and if you don’t work too much with burning actions and options,you might get lost. However if you do, you will appreciate the way the actions have been arranged. The built in themes and skins help give it a polished and system-integrated look as well.
  • InfraRecorder - Another popular burning system that comes in portable versions for both x32 and x64 versions.
  • DeepBurner Free Portable - While lacking some of the advance features of the “Pro” ($) version, it is a dependable and well-featured program.
  • AmoK CD/DVD Burning 1.10 - Dirk Paehl’s name arises again in this multi-feature CD/DVD burning tool.  Supports skins so you can create a burner with attitude if that is your thing.
  • CDBurnerXP - I used to use this burning suite on my home XP systems but since ImgBurn, I haven’t looked back. That said it remains popular with many users. I go with the “portable version” on the download page.  FWIW: be aware that the third-party advertising app “OpenCandy” does come bundled with some download versions of this program (CDBurnerXP • View topic - New version: 4.3.7 and OpenCandy). Check out the Downloads page carefully and you can find/select a installer version without OpenCandy if  you want.  I went with the x64 portable version and didn’t have any OC issues.  See this Gizmo's Freeware Review post for more info on OC if you are interested.
  • Hamster Free Burning Studio - I’ve not personally tried this product but it seems to get positive feedback and has a very friendly GUI. Here is review I found if you are interested from the Addictive Tips blog post: Burn BluRay, DVD, CD Disks With Hamster Free Burning Studio, Better Than NeroBurn Lite

While not really and “ISO-burner”, I really love IsoBuster for extraction of files out of an ISO file as well as looking at the file structure of the ISO itself. Not free ($) but with limited (and quite feature rich) free functionality option available.

Want to mount that ISO file to inspect it, or extract files from it?  Then you need some freeware software to mount it as a virtual drive.

  • Windows 8 will natively support mounting of ISO files (finally). Accessing data in ISO and VHD files - Building Windows 8 blog (and) Windows 8 Will Support Native ISO Image Mounting - How-To Geek blog
  • Pismo File Mount Audit Package - I always find myself installing this tool on my systems. It supports virtual mounting of ISO files (and a few others) as well as having great explorer shell integration.
  • ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver - Olof Lagerkvist continues to keep this super-awesome tool updated. I’m crazy but install it concurrently with Pismo just because it is that good. Just updated again in October to version 1.5.2.
  • SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive - My top pick for “slick and polished” virtual drive mounting for non-techies. What’s intimidating when you have these cute sheep icons representing your virtual drives. Can set up to 8 virtual drives to be available at once. Super simple and rock-solid. (Confession…crazy as it seems it also is installed along with Pismo and ImDisk on my home system I like it that much.)
  • MagicISO - This freeware tool supports an curiously large number of image formats. So if you work with image formats frequently, you will probably want to include this on your system to be ready to mount and explore the image file.
  • Gizmo Drive - This is kind of like a swiss-army-knife of virtual drive mounting. Not only does it handle ISO/BIN/CUE/IMG file images, but it can mount VHD files as well. Additionally, it offers command line and Windows Shell mounting support. It’s pretty clever and updated pretty often.
  • DAEMON Tools Lite - Way back in my early tech days, DAEMON tools was one of the few virtual drive tools there was. I found it to be a solid tool that had some driver hooks that sometimes caused BSOD issues on some systems (never had issues myself). I’ve not returned to it since then, but they are still offering a “lite” version that can be used free (at home personally and not for commercial purposes).
  • Alcohol Soft (120% and 52%) - This was the other major player along with DAEMON tools back in the day. Alcohol continues to offer a free version in their “52%” version that does get bundled with a "toolbar” with feature sets you may or may not care for depending on how you are using the application.  I believe it may be uninstalled or opt-out if you wish.  YMMV.

Additional material:

Here are some nice guides/how-to’s with screen shots to cover some of the software and actions mentioned here in this post if you are a visual learner.


--Claus V.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some compression utilities let you open an ISO and extract files - namely 7zip which also has a decent encryption routine to boot.