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Check Whether ISO Image is Bootable Without Burning to Disc

With faster internet speeds and larger data bandwidth, many software vendors now provide OSs and other system software as downloadable ISO images online. Users just have to write the downloaded image to a disc to use. There may be times when for certain reasons the disc may not boot. That results in a wasted disc, and more importantly wasted time. Wouldn’t it be great if you could check whether the disc is bootable before burning? Well there is; here are four such ways:

1. Check ISO Content

The quickest way to know if an ISO image is bootable is to browse and view its content. Thankfully many Windows software (7-zip, PeaZip, WinRAR) can do that. On Windows 8, you can natively mount the disc image to a virtual drive to view its contents.

Open the ISO file and see if it contains a folder called “BOOT”.

This gives a faint idea that the ISO image is supposed to be bootable, although it doesn’t guarantee as the file could be a data disc burned directly from the hard disk. However it could be handy if none of the other methods in this post are accessible to you.

2. Bootable or Non-Bootable?

If you open the ISO image with software such as UltraISO or MagicISO, it will indicate the disc as Bootable or Non-Bootable.

Those are commercial software, but they are fully functional during the trial period and can help you out. The software comes with several other features like live ISO editing, rename disc label, disc emulation, and more. So if you find it worthy of your hard earned dime, you could buy it.

3. Run and Test ISO Image

MobaLiveCD is a free portable emulation tool that can directly run and test ISO image files on Windows. Just download the program, select an image on your computer, and run it. This program is meant only for testing, so don’t install an OS for regular use.

Along with ISOs, it can also test bootable flash drives.

4. Boot ISO image in a Virtual Machine

The sure shot way of knowing the ISO works as intended is to mount and run it in a virtual machine. Just configure the program to use the disc file as a bootable medium, and if it’s bootable, you’ll see soon enough.

Know of any other way to test an ISO image without burning? Drop it in the comments!

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