Anybody who has downloaded games or applications from the internet will often find them coming in the form of an ISO image file. An ISO Image is simply an archived file containing an exact representation of the content from an optical disc and has been a very popular way of storing and distributing discs for some time.
A number of our articles will involve downloading ISO’s to perform selected repairs or to install a piece of software. There might be times the image doesn’t actually need burning to a disc and you could possibly mount the image using virtual drive software to install, or it could go on a USB device like a pen stick. Something like MobaLiveCD allows you to run a quick test of the ISO before you burn it.
Burning an ISO image is very easy and you may already have this function available in general purpose disc burning programs such as Nero or Burnaware etc. If you have no need for a full disc burning application or just want to quickly burn an ISO image, here’s a selection of free to use ISO image burning tools for you to try. They are easy to use and you only have to select the ISO file and click the burn button using the default settings most of the time.
1. Active@ ISO Burner
LSoft’s Active@ ISO Burner is a very professional looking tool that can burn ISO and IMG files to just about any type of CD, DVD and Blu-ray media. Simply drop the image onto the window and click Burn. Useful details about the inserted media and the writing drive are shown in the right display.
A few extra options are available such as Track-At-Once or Disk-At-Once burning modes, erasing a re-writable disc, writing speed, and up to 100 copies if you want to write more than 1 copy in a session. Settings such as auto verify and eject after a burn, erase speed and buffer underrun protection are accessible via the Options button.
The program will offer to install the SPTD driver on install but it’s not needed to function normally. Active@ ISO Burner works on just about everything from Windows NT to Windows 7 and is a good compromise between ease of use and extra functions.
BurnCDCC is a small and portable standalone executable that does the simple job of burning ISO files with the minimum of fuss to CD, DVD and BD. There are a couple of options in the program such as auto eject, verifying the burned disc and finalizing the media so no other data can be added. There is a slider for setting the write speed and for images like Windows CD’s, it’s best to use a slower speed for maximum compatibility.
BurnCDCC is not even 100KB in size and works in just about every version of Windows.
3. Free ISO Burner
This ISO burning tool can write images to just about any type of media and is very easy to use. There a couple of minor options available such as cache size and volume label but they don’t need changing unless needed. Finalize disk will close the media for maximum compatibility between devices and you can set the speed of the write.
The program is a portable executable and works with Windows XP, 2003, Vista and Windows 7. It will NOT erase re-writable discs and throws up a hardware error if you try to burn on RW media that isn’t empty.
ImgBurn is THE go to tool for comprehensive ISO image creation and image writing to disc. Apart from the fact it can write a large number of image formats to disc including ISO, IMG, MDS, BIN and NRG files, it can also create ISO, IMG or BIN images from folders or other optical media. Also supported is creating music CD’s from around a dozen of the most popular audio formats, and even video discs can be built in the DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-ray formats.
The amount of options you have in the control of how the images are created or burned cannot be found in any other software we know of, especially free software. In fact, the programs greatest strength of being the most complete and advanced ISO tool out there, is probably also the reason why it might be too much for the average user. It can be easy to get things wrong with so many icons, buttons and menus everywhere.
ImgBurn offers adware during the install process so be careful with that, and it supports from Windows 95 up to and including Windows 8. If you want power, ImgBurn is your program…
ISOBurn is a pretty similar utility to BurnCDCC in it’s functionality except this tool is not portable and needs installing. It does however have an erasing function so if you have some rewritable CD’s, they can all be quickly or fully blanked using the Erase button. A couple of basic tick boxes are included for closing the medium (finalizing) and verifying the burned disc.
ISOBurn works on Windows XP, Vista and 7.
6. ISO Recorder
ISO Recorder has been around since the beginning of Windows XP and slightly different to the other tools here in that it’s run as a shell extension that you call by right clicking an ISO image and select to “Copy image to CD/DVD” which brings up the interface. An RW erase button is present and also a write speed selector.
Along with burning an image, there is also a basic CD copier function by selecting the source as CD and not an ISO image. ISO Recorder also has a reverse function allowing you to create an ISO image by right clicking on a ROM drive or folder and selecting “Create ISO image file”.
The tool is showing its age slightly because the XP version cannot burn or create DVD images. There are separate versions for XP, 32-bit and 64-bit Vista and 7 available.
7. Passcape ISO Burner
This tool is a portable executable and does have a few options such as “Create a bootable USB disk” and “Unpack ISO image to disk folder” which aren’t present in other tools listed here. If you have another program set as the default ISO burner, the external option will load that instead. The bootable USB option is probably quite limited as I tried a Linux disc and a Windows 7 recovery CD and neither worked, but some discs might be OK.
When you have chosen the “Burn ISO image to CD/DVD” option, the main burning window gives you the option of erasing a re-writable disc, enabling buffer under-run protection and selecting the optical drive to use. Animated progress, speed and buffer bars make for a pleasant interface while you wait. A write speed selection and verify option would have been nice though.
Windows XP to Windows 7 is supported. The website says most recorders are supported but on one of my machine’s the writer worked perfectly, and the other it would only let me erase and not burn even though the CD’s were already blank. If your writer is supported, it’s a nice portable tool.
8. ISO Workshop
The easiest description of ISO Workshop is it’s a novice or intermediates version of ImgBurn, offering similar basic functions in a very clean looking interface but without the extra power. Burning of ISO and CUE/BIN image files to CD, DVD and BD media is supported as well as creating an ISO from files and folders using drag and drop.
There are some other useful features included such as loading the ISO and viewing/extracting the files, creating an ISO or BIN file from another optical media, and also the facility to convert around 10 different image formats to an ISO or BIN image.
ISO workshop offers adware during install which you need to be aware of, and you need to erase a used re-writable disc yourself through the Burn menu or by pressing Ctrl+W before writing to it. From Windows NT to Windows 8 is supported.
9. Free Any Burn
Free Any Burn is a tool that impressed me while using it because of the clean interface and a number of useful ISO burning and creating functions easily accessible. It can burn nearly 30 different image formats to CD, DVD or Blu-ray media, and also create ISO or CUE/BIN images from files, folders and other discs.
In addition to offering standard burning tool functions like creating data and music discs, there is also a separate re-writable disc erasing function, a disc to disc copying function and an image converter from again around 30 formats to an ISO or CUE/BIN image. There is a settings menu hidden at the top left where you can turn off verify and auto eject as defaults.
Free Any Burn Supports just about everything from windows 98 up to Windows 7. There are also portable and installer versions available. For simple ISO and data burning tasks, this is a program well worth looking at.
10. Windows 7 Built-in Disc Image Burner
Microsoft eventually realized that ISO image files are commonplace these days and decided to include the facility to burn images from within Windows 7. The tool is basic but foolproof to use. ISO and IMG files are supported and all you have to do is make sure the writer is selected and whether you want to verify the contents of the burned disc. It will also ask to blank re-writable discs if needed.
If no other software has taken over the ISO file type, you simply need to double click the image file or right click -> Burn disc image.