Burn ISO images to CD or DVD with Microsoft tools

Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista can make use of command-line tools for burning ISO images to CD or DVD. These tools, called CDBURN and DVDBURN, are from Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.

If you use Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Vista, you'll be able to burn an ISO image to a CD or DVD

by using a pair of command-line tools. These utilities, called CDBURN and DVDBURN, are not third-party freeware—they're part of Microsoft's own Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.

This toolkit is itself available as a free download and doesn't require Windows Genuine Advantage validation. The tools it includes are designed to help administrators streamline management tasks such as troubleshooting operating system issues, managing Active Directory, configuring networking and security features, and automating application deployment.

Both CDBURN and DVDBURN use the built-in IMAPI CD Burning COM Service to burn images to CD and DVD. This is the same service used by Windows Media Player, so it needs to be enabled and working properly in order for these programs to function.

The syntax for CDBURN is simple enough:

cdburn <drive>: <image_name> [options]

where <drive>: is the drive letter (with colon) you're burning to, <image_name> is the full path to an .ISO image to burn, and [options] is one of the following command-line options available to the program:

  • -erase: Erases the disc before burning (valid on R/W media only).
  • -sao: Burns the disc in session-at-once mode (i.e., the whole disc is used and closed).
  • -speed: Followed by a whole number for the speed of the burning process; the default is the maximum speed available to burning services as reported by the drive.
  • -imagehaspostgap: Do not add a 150-sector lead-out on the burn; the image already has that built into it. If you're not sure about this option, my advice is to leave it alone.

The syntax for DVDBURN is even simpler:

dvdburn <drive>: <image_name>

The only option that can be used with DVDBURN is /erase, to erase existing media if that's supported.

CDBURN and DVDBURN have the same limitation: They can only burn from an ISO image; they can't work from a collection of files. As an intermediate step, you can use Alex Feinman's tool ISO Recorder to build an ISO image from files in a directory.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter, which is devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP users and administrators. He has more than 10 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.

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This was first published in December 2006

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