You don't even need to have a CD / DVD burning software installed on your PC. This tutorial will show you how to get a freeware program called "Free ISO Burner", specifically designed to burn bootable CDs / DVDs from ISO disc image files. Steps in this tutorial will also work on Windows XP / Vista: the only real system requirement is that your computer must have an optical drive that can burn CDs/DVDs. Your choice of CD or DVD comes from the size of the ISO file: a CD has a typical capacity of just over 700 megabytes, whereas a DVD can typically hold up to 4.7 gigabytes of data (4,700 megabytes). In this tutorial, we will burn the Windows 10 Insider Preview ISO (disc image) onto a DVD, but what you burn doesn't impact how you burn it.
Tip: to make a bootable USB drive instead, check out our "Create bootable USB drive" tutorial instead. We use a freeware product called "Rufus"; you can use any USB flash drive you want, but all the files on it will need to be deleted.
There are plenty of freeware options to burn disc image files, like ISO Recorder, ImgBurn, Free ISO Creator, or AnyToISO. We picked Free ISO Burner for five reasons: note that one or more of those might also apply to the other names we just mentioned, we just haven't tried them yet.
If needed, download Free ISO burner from FreeISOBurner.com. The download link is at the very bottom. You don't need to install anything: the file you just downloaded is the executable itself (this is the program, in other words). Since we'll use it in a second, save it to your desktop (the software will be easy to find).
Once you've downloaded the ISO file you want to burn, insert a writable CD/DVD in the disc tray: if any dialog opens, close it (like Windows Explorer or another CD burning software package).
On the screenshot on the left, Windows 7 opened the "
How do you want to use this disc?" - we'll just click on the Cancel button to get rid of it.
Now launch Free ISO Burner: just double-click on the file you just downloaded.
Click on the "Open" button at the top, and navigate to the ISO file you want to burn.
Next, select the writable CD / DVD from the "Drive" dropdown menu:
Type a meaningful description in the "Volume Label" text box: this text should appear in Windows Explorer when the CD/DVD is popped into the optical drive tray or slot. Just leave the other settings to their defaults - "Burn Speed" as "Max", and "Cache Size" to
32 MB ("
FYI: The "Finalize Disc" checkbox, unchecked by default, determines if Free ISO Burner should keep CD-RW discs rewritable afterwards. If you check that checkbox, the CD/DVD will no longer be rewritable (assuming it initially was).
Review your selections one last time, and click on the "Burn" button at the bottom to get started. The creating process will take a while, but exactly how long depends mostly on the size of the disc image (ISO file) you are burning. Ideally avoid CPU-intensive tasks while your media is being engraved.
At the end of the process, Free ISO Burner will automatically eject the CD/DVD. To double-check that your CD/DVD was properly engraved, pushing the CD (tray) back in. In Windows Explorer, the DVD should appear with the name you typed in the "
Volume Label" text box. If not, it's probably because your label was over 11 characters long.