Clear & Easy | How to Make A CD Bootable (Also Works with DVD)

A bootable CD runs automatically when it is inserted into a compatible computer. You can apply a bootable CD when you need installation media or need to perform a new Windows installation. Other things you can do with a bootable CD include diagnosing your computer, restoring your PC's configuration, and setting up your computer. This article will tell you how to make a bootable CD or DVD. Keep reading and check for more information.

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Updated on Feb 26, 2024

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A bootable CD or DVD is a disc that can be inserted into a computer and used to boot up the operating system. A bootable CD can be very useful in a number of situations, such as when you need to install a new operating system or troubleshoot a problem with your computer. Bootable CDs are also useful for diagnosing your computer or restoring your PC's configuration. If you're setting up a new computer, you can use a bootable CD to get it up and running. This article will show you how to make a CD bootable with an ISO file. Keep reading for more information.

What Do You Need to Make a CD Bootable?

To make a bootable CD or DVD, you will need the following things:

  • A computer with an optical drive (CD or DVD)
  • An ISO file (this is the file that contains the operating system or other data that you want to put on the CD.) You can download a new ISO file from the Windows webpage or use a third-party drive to create one for your existing system.
  • A blank CD or DVD
  • A CD burning program

How to Make a CD Bootable with Windows ISO File?

This part will tell you how to use the new Windows ISO file to create a bootable CD. We will start from scratch. So don't worry if you know nothing about the ISO file or bootable CD. Here are the detailed steps of how to make a CD bootable.

Step 1. Download the corresponding Windows ISO file. For example, if you're using Windows 10, then remember to download the Windows 10 ISO file. Don't make it wrong. You can see how to download the ISO file from the link below.

Step 2. Download a free burning program. The most recommended ones are ActiveISO, ImgBurn, and Nero.

Step 3. Here, we take Nero as an example to show you how to burn the ISO file to a CD or DVD. Download Nero from its official website and install it according to the on-screen guide.

Step 4. Save the downloaded ISO file to your CD first. Run the Nero Burning ROM, and select "Recorder > Burn Image > image.iso".

Step 5. Select "Determine maximum speed" and "Write" in the Burn option. Then, click "Burn > Done".

burn a bootable CD with Nero

Here, we take Nero as an example to show you how to make a bootable CD. This video below shows you how to create a bootable CD with ImgBurn.

⏱️Time Stamp:

00:35 creating the bootable disc
01:30 0 boot disk
02:19 Output choice
02:58 Testing the ISO locally
03:09 Using VirtualBox to test the ISO
05:10 Testing the image

How to Make a Bootable CD with Your System's ISO

The ISO file you downloaded from Microsoft's webpage contains a fresh new Windows system. If you want to use the bootable CD to create a new installation, then downloading a new ISO file is good. However, if you need to set up a new computer quickly, you might take advantage of your existing system settings.

With third-party software, you can create an ISO file of your own system and burn it into a CD to make it bootable. In this way, when you boot your computer with the bootable CD, it will have the same system settings as the source computer. In other words, it's like copying a source computer's system and using it on a target computer.

If you're interested in making a CD bootable with your own system, you can refer to the step-by-step guide here to see how to do it. 

Step 1. Choose the tool you need to use. EaseUS Todo Backup is recommended in this post. It is not only a backup and clone tool but also has the advanced function of helping users create a bootable disk with their own system.

Step 2. Download and install EaseUS Todo Backup on your computer. You can download it from the button below.

Step 3. Insert your CD into your computer, then launch EaseUS Todo Backup to use create an emergency disk feature. This feature can also help you to create a WinPE bootable disk. We have a guide here to show you how to do it.

Step 1. Prepare a USB drive which can be written and read.

Create emergency disk

Step 2. Launch and install EaseUS Todo Backup on the Computer B.

Step 3. Find and click "Tools" and choose "Create Emergency Disk".

Create Emergency Disk

Step 4. Choose the Boot disk location. You can create an ISO file, a bootable USB or CD/DVD disc.

Create emergency disk step2

Step 5. Then click "Create" to start.

?When you want to boot from the created bootable CD, follow the steps below.
  • Insert the bootable CD into your computer.
  • Restart your computer and press F2/DEL to enter the BIOS.
  • Choose to boot from "Removable Devices" and press "F10" to save and exit.


1. How do I make a bootable CD for Windows 10?

Step 1. Download the Windows ISO file or create an ISO file with your own system.

Step 2. Insert a blank CD into the optical drive.

Step 3. Find the downloaded ISO image file (the file extension is .iso).

Step 4. Right-click on the ISO file and then click the Burn disc image option.

2. What makes a disc bootable?

When you create a bootable CD or USB drive, this storage device is formatted with a partition called MBR (Master Boot Record). This MBR is different from the partition style MBR. It is the boot sector of a hard disk. Even if your partition style is GPT, as long as it is the boot disk, it has an MBR partition. BIOS loads and runs on the MBR boot sector when you use your bootable CD.

You may also want to know: MBR vs. GPT

The Bottom Line

This is all about how to make a CD bootable. You know how to create a bootable CD with a newly downloaded Windows ISO file and your existing system. In all, making a CD bootable is not a difficult task. You can use ISO-burning software such as ImgBurn or Nero or third-party tools like EaseUS Todo Backup. I hope this article can help you solve your problem. 

EaseUS Todo Backup

EaseUS Todo Backup is a dependable and professional data backup solution capable of backing up files, folders, drives, APP data and creating a system image. It also makes it easy to clone HDD/SSD, transfer the system to different hardware, and create bootable WinPE bootable disks.

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