Obscurum per Obscurius

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How To Burn ISO Images to Media Using DVDBURN and CDBURN Utilities

How To Burn ISO Images to Media Using DVDBURN and CDBURN Utilities

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Sites that distribute software like MSDN and TechNet make it possible to download ISO images of CDROMs and DVDs.  An ISO image allows you to burn an exact duplicate of a piece of media.  One of the challenges we all face from time to time is corrupt media.  There is nothing worse than burning an image to media, starting an install, and getting the "cannot read file" message half way through an install. ARRGH!  

I was trying to burn an image of Visio 2007 to CDROM recently and experienced this same problem on four disks in a row.  Each one would burn successfully but the application install would fail.  I downloaded the latest version of my burning software and tried again- FAIL.  I tried burning at a slower speed - FAIL.  I tried burning at an even slower speed (hello 1999) - FAIL.  There has got to be a better way... 

You can test the integrity of burned media by checking the CRC value of the media after it has been burned (and before you start installing).  A CRC is cyclic redundancy check and is simply a hash of the file and can help you determine if the file has changed during download or burning.  There are utilities available that can check the CRC value of a file or media.  I used CRC305.exe available on the MSDN Subscriber Downloads site.  The tool could not be easier to use.  The syntax looks like this:

    CRC305.exe { filename | x: } [options]

    CRC305 image name.iso to check a file.

    CRC305.EXE E: to check the media in a drive.

After it runs it will display the computer CRC value (e.g. E8A1C394) of the file or media.

The Windows resource kit contains two tools for burning ISO images to media; CDBURN and DVDBURN.  These are utilities are gems.  Easy to use and fast.   They burn faster than the commercial software I have been using and they have worked flawlessly every single time.  No more "coasters".  The syntax is pretty straight forward:

    DVDBURN - Usage: dvdburn <drive> <image> [/Erase]

    CDBURN - Usage: cdburn <drive> image [options]

My new burning process works like this:

  1. Download the ISO file and check the CRC with CRC305 and compare to download documentation.
  2. Burn ISO to media and check CRC with CRC305 and compare to values above.  Should match exactly.

The whole process takes less time than using GUI based burning software and works every time. I will probably wrap these two steps into a batch file in a few days to automate the whole process so stay tuned...

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