Disks used for installing operating systems are generally bootable so that they can take control of the system and install the operating system. This is required because there is not operating system on a new hard drive, and in order to install the operating system, you need a running computer, and this can only be done if you get a workable interface by the installation disk itself. All the complete version operating system disks are bootable, but the upgrade disks are not. For example if you purchase an upgrade disk of Windows XP, you will not be able to boot from it because it is presumed that you already have an earlier version of Windows running on it. But if you purchase a complete version of Windows XP, the disk will be bootable so that you can start the computer using the same and install the operating system.
If you wish to make copies of a bootable disk that you have, this task would require a little more effort, than using the simple Copy Disk feature available in all disk writing applications. If you simply copy the content of a bootable disk on to another disk, then though the files will get copied, but the disk will not become bootable. This happens because the boot files need to be written in a special way and on a special place on the disk so that computer’s BIOS can read it and pass the control to it. In Windows 7 you can easily create the image of any bootable disk because this feature is inbuilt in this latest version of Windows, but if you are on any other earlier version then you would need any specialised image writing software for making a bootable copy. In this post I will discuss some tools which you will find helpful.
ImgBurn: This tool can be easily downloaded from the Internet and installed. After installation, insert the original disk and create its image on the hard drive. This image can later be burned on any blank disk and it will become bootable.
Magic ISO Maker: Download this tool from the Internet and install it on your computer. Insert the original disk and then make an ISO image using the Magic ISO Maker software. This ISO image can later be burned on any blank disk to make it an exact replica of the original bootable disk.
ISO Recorder: This tool again is available for free on the Internet and can be easily downloaded and installed. With this tool installed you can create the image right from the ‘My Computer’ window of your computer. Insert the original bootable disk, open ‘My Computer’, right-click on the CD icon and select ‘Make ISO Image’ option in the context menu. This will create an ISO image of the bootable disk and it can further be burned on a blank disk.
You can save the image created by any of the tools mentioned above on your hard drive and can burn it on multiple disks at any time in future.