Copy Windows Install Discs for Back-up
October 22, 2010 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Exactly how do I rip (or burn) copies of the Windows XP, Vista, 7 install discs?

Here's the scenario. I do computer repairs. And I constantly need various copies of Windows install disks. XP Home Professional and Media Center (and even Whistler) SP1/2/3, Vista Home and Professional, and now Windows 7 in Home and Professional etc.

Constantly I buy these disks from the manufacturer. This takes weeks and $10-$20 a shot.

Disks scratch, get lost, get borrowed out, etc.

The computers I am working with all have OEM licenses. For personal reasons, I do not use "cracked" or pirated software.

All I want is to have back-up copies on hand of the install discs. And I don't know how to burn or rip them.

What software do I need or use? Thanks, hivemind.

PS I have the discs. I am not using torrented or peer-to-peer copies. I just want to get rid a small but ongoing aggravation of constantly replacing worn-out or misplaced discs.
posted by Mike Mongo to Technology (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to XP Home, Media Center or Vista Home (since we don't get any call for those in our enterprise) but I haven't had any issues ripping ISOs of XP and Win 7 Professional and then burning them back to blank disks.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2010

You can use ImgBurn to create a .iso file or image, which is a bit-for-bit copy of a data CD or DVD. Do this once for each different install disk and store the images on a hard drive, then use ImgBurn (or the image burning capability built in to Windows 7 and possibly other operating systems) to burn copies whenever you need them.
posted by reegmo at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2010

Best answer: As others have said, use ImgBurn to create an ISO for each of the operating systems.

However for Windows 7, use the technique described here which will allow you to create one ISO which has all the possible flavours of Windows 7 on it. This saves you having to lug around 6 different versions because you pick the flavour as part of the install process.

You still need to have a valid licence for whatever flavour you pick, it doesn't aid piracy in any way.
posted by mr_silver at 10:40 AM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you join Microsoft TechNet, you can download images of every OS from Windows 3.1 upwards and loads of enterprise software you might come across. You can download them as ISOs and burn them to CD/DVD. Costs $199, but probably worth it for saving hassle.
posted by baggers at 11:17 AM on October 22, 2010

If you're looking at burning discs, you might be interested in slipstreaming - incorporating service packs & hotfixes to the disc, so the installation is more up-to-date than the original disc. For XP, I used a script to do the slipstreaming, & nLite does the same, but they might be out-of-date to various extents.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:33 AM on October 22, 2010

Copying isn't generally the problem. Installing them without a key is the problem. If you've got an installation key, you can use the same disc, even a burned one, to do the installs. Cracking only enters into it when you try to get it to install without a proper license.
posted by valkyryn at 11:49 AM on October 22, 2010

Don't all cd burning programs have "copy disk" functions? I think even the free ones that come with the hardware will do that.
posted by gjc at 2:33 PM on October 22, 2010

Am I missing something? You do computer repairs and you don't know how to copy a disc?
posted by Biru at 2:45 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Am I missing something? You do computer repairs and you don't know how to copy a disc?

I'm also a moron at networking at networking on a small scale, but no, you are not missing anything. I really don't know much about cds and dvds.

On the other hand, when it comes to viruses and spyware repair—and data recovery—I hear I am a good guy to have on your side.
posted by Mike Mongo at 9:50 PM on October 22, 2010

When you buy a CD or DVD burner, it will usually come with Nero or NTI or some other proprietary disc burning software.

Don't install that. Uninstall it if it's already on the machine. Use InfraRecorder instead. Small, free, straightforward, quick, capable. Also does disc copying.
posted by flabdablet at 11:12 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: For the record, I was able to pull this off. I DID slipstream it and it worked great. Thanks everyone. This helped a great deal. Much love.
posted by Mike Mongo at 9:06 PM on November 20, 2010

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