Ian in Northampton 08:07 22 May 2012

I have been having a major clear-out of my PC software CDs - copying them to an external hard drive in case I should ever need them, then chucking the CDs.

Over a period of several years, it seems that, with my acute paranoia, I have made multiple copies of my XP installation CD. Some are marked 'bootable', others are marked 'non-bootable' - and some aren't marked either way.

I just want to keep the ones that are bootable (I have the XP image on the external hard drive just in case). The question is: I don't really want to power down my PC, and see if it will boot from each of these XP CDs if I can help it. So: is there any other way of determining whether a CD is bootable, short of actually trying to boot from it? (e.g. are there visible files on a bootable CD that aren't on a non-bootable one?)

  rdave13 10:28 22 May 2012
  Ian in Northampton 15:12 22 May 2012

Thanks rdave. That's interesting stuff, although it seems like you need an ISO image to make it work - which I don't have...

  Ian in Northampton 15:14 22 May 2012

... although it raises the question: is an ISO, by definition, bootable - or do you have to make it bootable, just like an 'ordinary' OS CD?

  Zeppelyn 21:11 22 May 2012

You have to make it bootable, an iso file is just another archive really, eg zip, rar.

  rdave13 21:38 22 May 2012

An iso file is a continuous file whether bootable or not, that is why it needs to be mounted to a virtual drive or burnt to an optical disc, it has readable commands during installing or reading. Different to Zips etc.

Although I haven't tried MobaLiveCD, yet, it states quite clearly that it can test if an optical disc is bootable.

Future project for myself.

  Ian in Northampton 20:58 23 May 2012

Thanks guys. I think I'm gonna get an old PC out of the loft and do this the hard way...

  lotvic 21:35 23 May 2012

I would have thought that you'd be saving the cd/dvd's contents as .iso's to store them on your external hard drive as then all you need to do is burn the .iso back to a cd/dvd if you wanted to use again.

  Ian in Northampton 07:45 24 May 2012

Too late for that I'm afraid, lotvic. The CDs are all in the bin... But: would there have been any advantage in storing them as ISO's rather than just copying the folders/files across?

  lotvic 11:31 24 May 2012

Yes, it would be easy to re-burn back to a CD/DVD.

An ISO image is simply a CD-ROM or DVD image saved in ISO-9660 format.

.iso files are images of complete CDs or DVDs compiled as one whole image file. Not only contains individual data files; it also contains track and sector information and arranges all this information in a file system, just like disk media. Image files, unlike normal files, are mounted before you can browse the contents.

  robin_x 12:27 24 May 2012

You can make isos again by using, say, Imgburn but you may have to define the boot info again. (Create image file from files/folders > Advanced)

I am not quite sure of the ins and outs of it.


Now you have chucked all your CDs and archived to the external drive, you will be backing up the important ones somewhere else in case of drive failure?

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