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How can I make an ISO of my entire drive from bootable DVD?

by NCShannon / March 30, 2009 11:58 AM PDT

Hi everyone - I am new here (only my 2nd post) so please forgive me if I do not have the hang of which questions go where. I promise I used the search engine first but no luck on my specific issue.

I have a Sony Vaio laptop which I love except for the all this OEM crap. My OEM Win XP disk, which of course I did not get, I had to make my own recovery kit first thing doesn't allow for too many installation options. Vaio used to give the options of which extra software you wanted to install, but no more... it's all or nothing.

Ever watch the TV show "Monk" about the obsessive compulsive detective? The only thing you need to know is that he is way overboard OCD and when it comes to computers so am I. I absolutely LOVE to give my harddrive a complete wipe (sometimes with KillDisk, sometimes others so I can do a DoD wipe) but then I am left with a wonderfully clean drive ready to have everything all freshly installed. Monk would love it.

Problem is when I reinstall my Vaio disks, in addition to a lot of the great software they include, they also add a ton of trash, trial versions, etc... it drives me nuts. "Add/Remove Programs" just doesn't do it (even when I use fancy uninstallers) and my registry as well as other things are left in a mess.

So here is what I do.... I wipe my drive, set up my partitions like i want (no problem there), install only the parts of the Vaio disks I want (ISOBuster gave me the ability to do this god bless their ISO busting hearts!) and then I add some of my fav utilities/apps, remove anything else I forgot to remove, fix up my config file and finaly defrag and wipe the free space. It takes forever to get to this point, but I just *love* having a 'fresh' hard drive set up just like I want. It's like having an out-of-the-box perfect computer for me.

Here is my problem which embarrasses me a bit becuase it should be SO easy to do yet it defeats me. My dream is to create a bootable CD/DVD, what ever, that will allow me to make a true ISO iamge of the entire disk or even better certain partitions. And I want it free, too - or at least a program which has FULL functionality for 2 weeks so I an see if it does what I want. I know my ISO image will be huge, multiple DVD's, but I don't care about that. I just want it to be a true ISO, not some apps weird version of a backup file.

Then, after installing some crazy games or just some weird program that messes something up all I have to do is boot my disk with that nice perfect ISO image & copy it back on the drive and I am good to go jst as if I had spent hours doing my reformat/reinstall/erase/tweak.

I have some experience making bootable disks, DVD's/CD's, and have made the UBCD as well as Barts. I thought for sure one of them would have this handy utility but if it is in there I can not find it.

In a nutshell, I want to get my system perfect like I want it, boot from a cd/dvd and make an ISO image (dont need to clone the free space as I plan to wipe it after defraging)which will still take up a few DVD's. Then if there is a problem, voila! I can rstore my perfect ISO.

I'd buy a program if I knew it would do exactly what I wanted, but all the apps I have found are limited not by tiime but file size, usually 300 MB which doesn't help me a bit. Of course, I would prefer a totally free one necause at this point unless it it under $10

If anyone could help my dream come true, I's appreciate more than words can say. I know if this can be done, someone on here knows how to do it!!

Thanks again, y'all are the best and I look forward to getting to know you.

-Shannon

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Imaging the hard drive...

In short, there's no application that fits the build. This is primarily because ISOs are not bootable; when you burn a bootable disc from an ISO, the contents are actually extracted first. Second, bootable software that restores images from backup rarely offers the option to have it contained on the same discs as the imaged files because individuals usually have multiple images but only need a single copy of the software...it just takes up space and adds unnecessary complexity. Thus, it is on a separate bootable disc. Finally, there is very little freeware in this category, none of which I would rely on. That leaves the prospect of purchasing an application such as Acronis TrueImage, Norton Ghost, or Norton Save&Restore. Norton has been problematic in the past, in my experience, but Acronis has not failed me yet and is well worth the price.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
John

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I hear you but the answer is no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 30, 2009 11:00 PM PDT

The answer is still no for a simple reason that ISO can't boot.

However we do have ACRONIS that can make DVDs that restore from a boot DVD. But nothing I know of meets your exact requirements.

-> Are you a programmer? Why not make such a software?

As to the Sony XP OS thing. Why not buy a retail copy of XP next time since the number of hours you spent seem to be much more than what a full retail install would cost. Is time money?
Bob

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Thank you John and Bob for your help.... but what if I.....
by NCShannon / March 31, 2009 2:05 AM PDT

Hi John and Bob,

I totally see what you are saying and I think I didn't make myself too clear in my first post.

If I understand what you are saying correctly, you are telling me my biggest setback is the fact ISO's don't boot because they don't contain boot sectors. I should have explained that when I make a bootable disk, I use CDBurnerXP (quite a handy little program!) and after I add the files/folders I want it to "build" into an ISO, I check the box for make bootable and then add the boot sector which in my case is simply "boot.ima" and then CDBurnerXP "condenses" my files to an ISO image (which would not be bootable by itself) and then it incorporates my boot sector when writing so when the process is done I have a bootable CD which has an ISO image I can use ovr nd over (I keep it as an ISO instead of having it extract out the files/folders. etc), i just have to keep adding that boot sector each time. I can see how this would be a far simplier process for making bootable CD's as opposed to the boot sector an entire drive would need...
But I did find a handy little zip file "wxp10.zip" that claims to have the boot sector you need to make you XP harddrive bootable. SO I figure I would have to include this on my bootable CD but NOT in the ISO image, and probably install that bit manually first before I let the rest of the ISO image copy itself to the c:drive.

Am I making any sense or just in way over my head? I wouldn't mind the extra step of adding the bootsector. I even thought if i could get CDBurnerXP installed on my bootable DVD I could tell it to restore my ISO to the selected drive and click "make it bootable" using the correct file from my wxp10.zip folder and CDBurnerXP would do it's thing, adding the boot sector, copying the ISO image of the drive without caring whether it was a DVD or an entire drive.

Here is where I trip up though (well, at least another place I trip up, haha) - I do not know how to install CDBurnerXP onto a bootable DVD so it will run normally as if it were running from the hard drive. Any ideas on how that can be done?

Bob, you are right that I would have saved about a zillion hours had I just bought the "real" version of XP, but I'd still be tweaking for hours with the drivers for this laptop and just basically setting it up like I want. Wanna know the sad part? I *am* a programmer but only in VB and only scientific data cruching so this kinda thing is out of my league. Due to current layoffs, I am currently jobless and just can't afford to buy a program that does what I want already. Plus, I love the challenge of trying to do something that is just barely out of my reach.... I feel like I *almost* have this figured out but I am probably kidding myself on that one!

John and Bob, I sure do appreciate your help, though, you are helping point me in the direction of exactly where my trouble lies which is veryhelpful to know.

If you have any other ideas, specifically how to install CDBXP onto a bootable dvd, please let me know. If standing on my head signing Bethoven's 9th backwards would help I'd give that a try, too!!

Thanks again, guys, you have given me a lot to think about. One thing is for sure, I need to expand my prgramming knowledge out of the rut I have gotten myself into....

Have a great day!
-Shannon

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how to install CDBXP onto a bootable dvd,
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 31, 2009 2:55 AM PDT

Since Cdburnerxp runs under windows that's a dead end. Not a single solution I know accomplishes what your goals are.

It appears your specifications are so tight that I can't offer anything.

Let's sum up the specs.

1. Must be free.
2. Must use CDBXP.
3. Must be bootable.

The outlook is grim.

Let me share I use G4U to clone disks and place recovery images on USB hard disks and FTP servers. It's free and with only 3 words on a command line I found it easy to use.
Bob

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My specs were tight from ignorance, lol, not neccesity
by NCShannon / March 31, 2009 10:43 PM PDT

Hey Bob,

You're reply sure helped clear some thing up for me, thank you! As I said, I had this idea in my head how this had to be done due to ignorance. I do NOT need to us CDBurnerXP, I am just so familiar with it and it's ability to create boot disks I thought it'd be the way to go. I am open to anything. 2nd, I thought it had to be bootable so it could make an ISO image of the c drive; I thought it would not b able to image it as long as the OS was booted from the main drive. 3rd, I don't have any options other than something for free right now but I am willing to buy something as long as I can really test it out first without some crazy 300MB ISO file size limitation (looking forward to tax refund check).

Can an ISO image be made of the main drive while it is the booted drive?? That's something I never would have guessed. If I can do that, then would I also be able to write my ISO back to my booted c drive?

Seriously, I can't thank you enough for your time or patience with me on this. My whole goal is simple to be able to take a "snapshot" so to speak of my drive when I have it set up in it's most prstine perfect form (for my needs) and be able to get it right back to that state without too much installing from scratch. Anything that can help with this I am open to!

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"ISO" "ISO" "ISO" and "ISO"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 31, 2009 10:53 PM PDT

"Can an ISO image be made of the main drive while it is the booted drive?? That's something I never would have guessed. If I can do that, then would I also be able to write my ISO back to my booted c drive?"

I'm going to have to say no. By mandating that it be an "ISO" image this means there can never be a solution.

At least G4U works to create and restore the image from a file. But it is no an ISO file so it fails your "ISO" spec.

Is there any chance that all you really wanted was what G4U and ACRONIS offer?
Bob

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Thank you John and Bob for your help.... but what if I.....
by NCShannon / March 31, 2009 3:48 PM PDT

Hi John and Bob,

I totally see what you are saying and I think I didn't make myself too clear in my first post.

If I understand what you are saying correctly, you are telling me my biggest setback is the fact ISO's don't boot because they don't contain boot sectors. I should have explained that when I make a bootable disk, I use CDBurnerXP (quite a handy little program!) and after I add the files/folders I want it to "build" into an ISO, I check the box for make bootable and then add the boot sector which in my case is simply "boot.ima" and then CDBurnerXP "condenses" my files to an ISO image (which would not be bootable by itself) and then it incorporates my boot sector when writing so when the process is done I have a bootable CD which has an ISO image I can use ovr nd over (I keep it as an ISO instead of having it extract out the files/folders. etc), i just have to keep adding that boot sector each time. I can see how this would be a far simplier process for making bootable CD's as opposed to the boot sector an entire drive would need...
But I did find a handy little zip file "wxp10.zip" that claims to have the boot sector you need to make you XP harddrive bootable. SO I figure I would have to include this on my bootable CD but NOT in the ISO image, and probably install that bit manually first before I let the rest of the ISO image copy itself to the c:drive.

Am I making any sense or just in way over my head? I wouldn't mind the extra step of adding the bootsector. I even thought if i could get CDBurnerXP installed on my bootable DVD I could tell it to restore my ISO to the selected drive and click "make it bootable" using the correct file from my wxp10.zip folder and CDBurnerXP would do it's thing, adding the boot sector, copying the ISO image of the drive without caring whether it was a DVD or an entire drive.

Here is where I trip up though (well, at least another place I trip up, haha) - I do not know how to install CDBurnerXP onto a bootable DVD so it will run normally as if it were running from the hard drive. Any ideas on how that can be done?

Bob, you are right that I would have saved about a zillion hours had I just bought the "real" version of XP, but I'd still be tweaking for hours with the drivers for this laptop and just basically setting it up like I want. Wanna know the sad part? I *am* a programmer but only in VB and only scientific data cruching so this kinda thing is out of my league. Due to current layoffs, I am currently jobless and just can't afford to buy a program that does what I want already. Plus, I love the challenge of trying to do something that is just barely out of my reach.... I feel like I *almost* have this figured out but I am probably kidding myself on that one!

John and Bob, I sure do appreciate your help, though, you are helping point me in the direction of exactly where my trouble lies which is veryhelpful to know.

If you have any other ideas, specifically how to install CDBXP onto a bootable dvd, please let me know. If standing on my head signing Bethoven's 9th backwards would help I'd give that a try, too!!

Thanks again, guys, you have given me a lot to think about. One thing is for sure, I need to expand my prgramming knowledge out of the rut I have gotten myself into....

Have a great day!
-Shannon

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My lesson.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 31, 2009 9:39 PM PDT

This is not to directly address your goal but a lesson I learned over time.

As I move from software project to project I learned to tinker less and less with Windows and try to focus on the task at hand. So while my buddy is still tweaking Windows I have been making headway on the real project.

FOR EXAMPLE this year (2009!) task is a Windows Mobile 6+ application. To do this I get on a Vista Windows machine. Just a quick uninstall of two items, install the new ActiveSync, Visual Studio 2008 and in just a few hours I'm up and running.

No thoughts about creating OS CDs here. Just hit the ground and start running.

Back to the grind!
Bob

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Does this help?
by ramusson / April 1, 2009 12:20 AM PDT
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