How to burn an ISO image

Ever wonder what the heck an ISO is and how to make one into a CD? We'll show you.

A lot of our tips here at CNET require you to burn an ISO image to CD. Many of you have written in asking how the heck to do that. Here's the video on how. Watch that then come back for the steps.

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An ISO file is a single file, usually with the extension .ISO. Sometimes, on Macs, they may be called .CDR. It's essentially all the data that goes on a CD, also called a disk image. When you burn the ISO to CD, you're essentially creating an exact copy of the CD the ISO was originally made from.

Here's how to burn one.

You'll need a blank CD of course.

And some software that burns CDs. For this example, I'll use a free program called CDBurnerXP.

Put the CD in the CD drive.

Launch the burning program.

You want a setting that allows you to burn data, not music. This is often called a data setting. CDBurnerXP has a special setting for ISO images.

Browse for the ISO file on your hard drive.

Make sure an option to finalize the disc is selected. In some programs you may need to select a bit for bit option as well.

Burn the disc.

If all goes well, you should have a perfectly usable disc.