Anybody who has downloaded games, applications, or operating systems 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 ISOs 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.
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 half of the display. One slight annoyance is ads in the window for some of LSoft’s other products.
A few extra options are available such as Track-At-Once or Disk-At-Once burning modes, erasing a rewritable disc, writing speed, and up to 100 copies. Settings such as auto verify and eject after a burn, full/fast erase, and buffer underrun protection are accessible via the Options button. The program might offer to install the SPTD driver on install but it’s not needed to function normally.
ISOBurn is a nice, simple, and easy to use tool for burning ISO files. There aren’t many options to confuse the average user and apart from checkboxes to close the media and eject the disc upon completion, the only other option is for writing speed. One drawback is the inability to erase rewritable discs, you will have to do that in another piece of software.
Along with the installer version, there is also a portable version and the old version 1, which is virtually identical. The developer of ISOBurn, RPCSoft, also has a few other tools available that can burn discs. WinBurner creates an ISO from files or CD/DVD as well as burning an ISO to disc. BurningStudio is a general burning tool and will link to ISOBurn if you want to burn an ISO.
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 writing process.
The program is a portable executable and works with pretty much any modern version of Windows. It will NOT erase rewritable discs and throws up a hardware error if you try to burn on RW media that isn’t empty.
4. 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. 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. Be aware that ISO workshop offers adware during install. You need to erase a used re-writable disc yourself through the Burn menu or by pressing Ctrl+W before writing to it.
5. Free Any Burn
Free Any Burn is a tool with a 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. This is by Power Software, the same developer behind the excellent shareware PowerISO application.
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 button with options to auto eject, simulate the burn, burn multiple copies, and burn to multiple writers. Portable and installer versions are available.
6. ISO ToolKit
As the name might suggest, ISO ToolKit is a program with several different functions to handle and manipulate ISO files. Besides being able to burn ISO images, it can also create an ISO from a folder, create an ISO from an optical disc, convert from/to ISO, NRG, or CUE, extract ISO contents to a folder, or mount up to two ISO images at once as virtual drives.
The ISO burning function itself is very basic with just the input file and burner selection available. If you supply a used rewriteable disc there will be an offer to erase it before writing commences. ISO ToolKit is a portable executable dating to 2014, the developer and original website have long since disappeared.
For years, ImgBurn has been the go-to tool for comprehensive ISO image creation and image writing to disc. Apart from writing a large number of image formats to disc including ISO, IMG, MDS, BIN, and NRG files, ImgBurn can also create ISO, IMG, or BIN images from folders or other optical media. Also supported is creating music CDs and even video discs can be built in the DVD, HD-DVD, or Blu-ray formats.
Burning an ISO is very simple. Press “Write image file to disc” from the main window, select the ISO file, and press the Write button. Other options like write speed, verify, and the number of copies are available. There are more advanced options if you are experienced enough to require them. ImgBurn has been known to offer adware during the install process so be careful. It hasn’t been updated since 2013 but should work fine, even with today’s hardware.