If you’re looking to keep a handy backup of your optical disks on your computer, the best solution is to create an ISO image file. This is an archiving solution used for storing the contents of a DVD, BD, or CD for convenient access through the local drive. Whether you have a Windows, Mac, or Linux operating system, you can create ISO image files with the help of dedicated tools. Mac and Linux have built-in programs for the job while Windows users need to download some additional software.
There are specialized programs with more advanced features for converting your favorite discs into ISO files. Most home users don’t need to purchase a professional license, however. This is thanks to the variety of free tools on the Internet that can cover all your basic ISO image file creation needs. Although ISO images are incredibly useful to duplicate the exact contents of a disc, it’s worth mentioning that you should consider an online backup service as well to ensure the ultimate protection of your files.
Without further ado, let’s see what steps are required to create an ISO image file from a CD, DVD, or other optical discs.
How to Create ISO Files for Windows
Download and install a free third-party tool such as ImgBurn. We recommend this one because it’s extremely lightweight and easy to use. It’s freeware meaning that it’s completely free to use without added toolbars or other unnecessary extras in its installer. Despite being a relatively old image-burning tool, it still performs very reliably.
When it comes to supported Windows versions, the tool is compatible with all the latest ones. It also supports a wide range of image file types beyond ISO such as BIN and CUE. Alternatively, if you run into some issues with it, consider trying out some more recent programs like BurnAware Free that’s optimized for Windows 11.
1. Run ImgBurn
After the basic installation of the program is finished, you can open ImgBurn where you will be greeted with a simple grid showcasing its primary functions. It’s a pretty user-friendly interface considering how the tool basically asks you what you wish to do.
2. Select the “Create Image File From Disc” Option
Assuming your disc is inserted, the next step requires you to pick the “Create image file from disc” function to start the ISO image file creation process.
3. Pick the Correct Source CD/DVD Drive
This is important to make sure you’re creating an ISO image for a specific disc in case you have more than one added.
4. Choose the Name and the Destination Folder
Before starting the image burning process, make sure the file is properly organized in your desired location on the PC. Keep in mind that you may need several gigabytes of available free space on the local drive depending on the size of the files on your optical disc. Select the icon near “Destination” to name your newly created ISO image file.
5. Finish the Task
After selecting the source and inputting the destination folder, all that’s left to do is to press the large icon that shows the conversion of a disc to an image file. The operation can take some time but the program creates a log to keep you aware of the working status. Once the ISO image file has been created, it’s simply a matter of accessing the contents just as you would when inserting the physical CD or DVD.
How to Create Image Files for Mac
Instead of downloading an extra tool, Mac users can simply use a built-in program. Search for “Disk Utility” in the Spotlight box to find this tool.
1. Run Disk Utility
After entering the program, go to File > New > Disk Image from. The option will be greyed out unless you have inserted the optical disk that you need to be converted to an image file.
2. Create the Image File
Choose “DVD/CD master” for the format and don’t bother with the encryption. The tool doesn’t actually create ISO image files because Mac systems use the .CDR format. If you specifically require an ISO file to work on other systems, it’s possible to convert the resulting CDR file. However, for using the file on a Mac, it’s better to leave it in the CDR format.
3. Mount the Image File
Now that your image file has been successfully created, you’re probably wondering about the best way to use it. The Disk Utility program is useful for the job of “mounting” it as well. Go to File > Open Disk Image to quickly access your image file while no longer requiring the optical disc.