How to Make an ISO Image

by Tammy Clevenger ; Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • CD/DVD image maker utility application (i.e. MagicISO)

  • Space on hard drive to accommodate the size of the image

An ISO file is an archive, or "image" file. ISO files may be created from CDs, DVDs or groups of files on a hard drive. The ISO image maintains the original file structure while zipping or compressing files contained in the image to save disk space. ISO is an acronym for the International Organization for Standardization. Originally, the ISO file was specified as ISO9660 as the file system standard for a CD. The name ISO has come to include DVD image data as well. One application for making ISO images is MagicISO. MagicISO is free and available for download (see Resources).

Download and install an ISO maker utility such as MagicISO (See Resources).

Open MagicISO by right-clicking on the MagicISO icon in the system tray (lower right side of your screen) to open the program, or navigate to the MagicDisc option in the Programs list and select the MagicDisc / MagicISO option. Once selected from the Programs list, the icon will appear in the system tray. Right-click on the MagicISO icon.

Select the option "Make CD/DVD Image" from the context menu.

Select the CD or DVD drive containing the CD or DVD from which to make the ISO image. Select the device from the first drop-down box in the MagicISO window. To create an image file from files on the hard drive instead of a CD or DVD disc, select the MagicISO Virtual DVD driver in this step. No physical CD or DVD drive will be required.

Select or specify the Output File. If no ISO file exists to overwrite, type the name of the new ISO file in the input box. To select an existing file, click on the folder icon to the right of the input box and navigate to the desired file.

Select output type in the third input box. To create an ISO file, select ISO as the output option from the drop-down box. Other types of images are available. However, ISO is a standard and is recognized by all CD/DVD burning applications. Other image types may be proprietary. For example, NRG files are the proprietary image file type for the Nero Burning Rom application.

Check the "Enable Password Protection" check box. Hit "Enter," and confirm a password if needed.

Select "Make CD Image" from the Options menu at the bottom of the window.

Click "OK". The ISO file will be created and saved where specified in the Output File parameter.

Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the output file location. Verify the new ISO file by checking the file size. Size should be identical to the size of the original CD, DVD or file group.


  • ISO images are large. For CD files, ISO images may be up to 700MB and for DVD files, they may range from 4GB to 6GB, depending on standard versus high capacity, respectively. Ensure you have enough available space on your hard drive to work with the files and to save the ISO image.

About the Author

Tammy Clevenger works in the I.T. industry while maintaining creative outlets through film making, writing and audio production. She is a published academic author and is an accomplished and certified Project Management Professional.

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