What do you do with an ISO file once you've downloaded it? An ISO file is an image of a CD, DVD, or BD so to use it, you first need to burn it to a disc.
Prefer screen shots? Try my Step by Step Guide to Burning an ISO File for an easy walk-through!
Properly burning an ISO image file to a disc is a bit different than just burning the ISO file as you would any other file. You'll need to choose the "burn image" or "write image" option in your burning software and then choose the file.
If your CD/DVD/BD burning software does not have this option or you want something more simple, try following the steps below to burn an ISO image file to a disc.
Download Free ISO Burner, a completely free program that only burns ISO files, making it really easy to use.
Important: Free ISO Burner is completely free and fully functional. HOWEVER, their download page (hosted by SoftSea.com) is a little tricky. Don't let their advertisements fool you into downloading something else. See the Warning in Step 3 in my tutorial for details.
Free ISO Burner works on Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP, and will burn an ISO image file to any of the various kinds of BD, DVD, and CD discs that exist.
If you'd prefer to choose a different ISO burner tool, see Tip #3 at the bottom of the page. Of course if you do that, the instructions below pertaining to Free ISO Burner won't exactly apply.
Double-click on the FreeISOBurner file that you just downloaded. The Free ISO Burner program will start.
Free ISO Burner is a standalone program, meaning it doesn't install, it just runs. This is yet another reason why I prefer this ISO burner over others with huge installations.
Insert a blank disc in your drive.
As long as your optical drive supports it, this disc can be a CD, DVD, or BD since Free ISO Burner supports them all.
Tip: Use the smallest sized disc as you can because a disc burned with an ISO file isn't often usable for other purposes. For example, if the ISO file you're using is only 125 MB, don't use a DVD or BD if you have a less expensive empty CD available.
See Optical Media Storage Capacity for more information on how much data certain kinds of discs can hold.
Click the Open button next to the empty space within the ISO File section, near the top of the program window.
When the Open window appears, locate and select the ISO file you wish to burn to the empty disc.
Once you've selected the ISO file, click the Open button at the bottom of the window to confirm your selection.
Now that you're back to the Free ISO Burner main screen, check that the option under Drive is in fact the optical drive you put the empty disc in while on Step 3 above.
If you have more than one optical drive, you may have more than one option to choose here.
Skip the customizations in the Options area unless you know what you're doing.
Unless you're troubleshooting a problem, you might, at most, want to configure a volume label for the new disc but you don't have to.
Click the Burn button to start the ISO file burn.
Depending on how large the ISO file is, and how fast your disc burner is, the ISO burning process could take anywhere from several seconds, to several minutes, to complete.
When the burning is complete, the disc will automatically eject from the drive. You then can remove the disc and close Free ISO Burner.
Now you can use the ISO-file-turned-disc for whatever you needed it for.
Tip: If you view the contents of the disc, you might notice many files and folders. So what happened to the ISO file? Remember that the ISO file is just a single-file representation of the disc. That ISO file contained the information for all of the files you see on the disc now.
You must have a CD or DVD or BD burner to write ISO files to a disc in the respective format. You will not be able to burn ISO files if you only have a standard CD, DVD, or BD drive.
If you're not sure how to do that, check out my How To Boot your Computer from a CD, DVD, or BD Disc guide for more information.