How to burn a distro iso file.


From time to time, in fact whenever I'm asked, I try and help people transition to Linux. I've lost count of the times so many fall at the first hurdle - burning the iso. At first, I was puzzled why such a simple procedure should be causing so much grief, but then it (sort of) came to me. Almost all the people I've been involved with helping, have come from a Microsoft Windows® (MSWin) background and for many, it's their first experience with an iso file. Like everything else in life, if it's never been explained, of course it will be a mystery! So this page is devoted to explaining how to go about this simple procedure.

I'm going to concentrate on how to burn it in MSWin - by way of Nero 6 Ultra Edition. This is simply because most people will be coming from MSWin and then I'll demonstrate how easy it is in Linux using the brilliant application; k3b.

One should also note, it is advisable to carry out a MD5sum check on the iso file. This confirms its integrity, but is outside of the scope of this page. Although desirable, it is ''not essential.'' k3b you will see, does it automatically for you.

Finally, it does not matter whether you burn a Linux iso file in Windows or visa-versa. An iso is an iso and it is platform independent as far as burning goes. Of course, having burned the disc, it can then only be used on the operating system it has been designed for.

The method in Nero

Note: I used Nero 6 Ultra Edition simply because it was all I could get access to. EasyCD will also burn an iso and I'm told (though I've never used it), ImgBurn v2.4.2.0 is an excellent freeware application for MSWin that is very capable as well. So there should be no excuse not to try a Live Linux CD!

Open up Nero StartSmart in your normal way and this is what you'll see:

Nero 1

Now if you hover your mouse pointer on the top icon pictures within Nero, when you get to the icon that looks like a safe and a couple of discs - Copy and Backup, it will reveal this:

Nero 2

You can now clearly see; Burn Image to Disc, a burning match with a disc. Click on that, to reveal this:

Nero 3

Select Disc Image or Saved Project, and you'll end up here:

Nero 4

This is where you navigate to your saved iso file. It is also where most people probably go wrong. You DO NOT do anything with this file in terms of trying to extract files from within (unzipping) or anything else. Simply highlight the file and it will appear in the box at the bottom labeled File name: and then click Open.

"That's it!"

To reiterate, an iso file is burned AS IS.

The next window to appear, will be the one that is the ''control'' window to burn the disc:

Nero 5

It is here you can see the full path to the image and can select the drive you want to use. You can also select the writing speed and it's probably worth mentioning a little about that.

The drive you see in the screen-shot is capable of writing at 52x speed (assuming the disc can cope with that). But you can see I've decreased the speed to 12x, the reason being, slower speeds result in far fewer ''coasters.'' In fact, at that speed, I can't recall ever having had one and the end result is, it takes only a few minutes longer. This burn actually took just 7 minutes, 11 seconds; hardly a lifetime. These CD burns are cramming a ''lot'' of data onto the disc. My advice is; give it a fighting chance to get it right!

Finally, you can set the Number of copies you want and if you wish, Verify data on disc after burning. Click Next.

Nero 6

You will now be asked for the blank CD. Place it in the drive and close the drawer. Nero will automatically start the burn process:

Nero 7

You will see the progress bar moving from left to right and finally, (hopefully) you'll get a Burn process completed successfully notice:

Nero 8

Remove the new CD, click OK and on this subsequent screen; Exit.

Nero 10

You should now be able to boot directly from the CD you have just made, providing your BIOS is set to your CD or DVD drive as the ''first boot device.'' If your unsure about that, see Linux overview for novices

What about Linux?

Well, if you're fortunate enough to be running a Linux distro, k3b is an amazing piece of software engineering. If you haven't got it, I would strongly suggest you install it NOW!

Open k3b in the normal manner, like this:

K3b K3b 1a

Select Burn CD Image.

K3b 8

Highlight the iso file you want to burn:

K3b 9

and click OK.

K3b 10

Note at this point, how the MD5sum is being automatically calculated and can be compared to your MD5sum taken from the site you downloaded the iso from.

K3b 11 K3b 12

All settings can be left at default, though there are endless options here if you have a specific requirement. Pop a CD into your drive and "click "Ignore" when this pop-up box appears."

K3b 13

Now you are back at your ''previous'' k3b screen, click Start located at the top right hand corner and this is what you'll see:

K3b 14 K3b 15 K3b 16

That's it; Success, all done!

I hope this page has explained a little for all those that have found iso's to be a bit of a mystery. Once you know how, they really are very simple to burn and rarely give a problem.

Good luck everyone.