How to Create a Bootable CD with no CD!
by Alan German
If, like me you have a
netbook (or similar computer) with no CD-drive, creating
a System Repair Disk for Windows 7 might seem to be quite
a challenge. Windows will happily provide you with the
option to do so. Simply navigate to: Control Panel
System and Security Backup and Restore
Create a system repair disc. The challenge will be in
responding to the next prompt that indicates: Select
a CD/DVD drive and insert a blank disc into the drive.
With no CD drive available this going to be tough!
Furthermore, what you need is a bootable USB drive, not a
bootable-CD. However, dont despair, two free
utility programs TotalMounter and Rufus can
come to your rescue.
Firstly, download and install TotalMounter. This software
acts as a virtual CD/DVD drive. We will use TotalMounter
to capture the Windows repair disk image as an ISO file.
We also need to download Rufus, a utility program that
will burn our ISO file to a USB memory stick, creating a
bootable disk. There is no need to install Rufus as it is
a stand-alone EXE file.
The first item of real business is to create a Windows
Repair Disk as a virtual CD. Run TotalMounter, click on
the Mount icon, and select Mount
Virtual CD/DVD-RW. In the pop-up window the default
values for the two radio buttons (Create a new
file, size and CD 650 M Bytes) are
appropriate for our purposes. Use the Browse
button to select a folder where you wish to store the
virtual CD as a file, and give this file a meaningful
name (such as windows_repair_disk). Click OK
and TotalMounter is ready to create a virtual CD.
Now, click on the
Windows Start button and navigate to Control Panel
System and Security Backup and Restore. In
the left side panel, click on Create a system
repair disk. The target drive should be displayed
as something like DVD RW Drive (L:), where the drive
letter will correspond to the virtual CD drive created by
TotalMounter. Click on Create disc and
Windows and TotalMounter will combine to create the file
windows_repair_disk.iso in the target folder of your hard
At this point, we run
Rufus. In the drop-down menu under Device, we
select the target USB drive. The parameters for the
partition scheme, file system, and cluster size
associated with the USB disk will be displayed but we dont
have to do anything about these. We can give the USB
drive a meaningful volume label should we so choose.
Under Format Options, a check mark will
already be placed against Create a bootable disk
using. We want to click on the disk icon at the end
of this line in order to browse for and select our
windows_repair_disk.iso file. This will change the
using: FreeDOS to
ISO Image. Press the Start button and
Rufus will build the bootable drive. Finally, close
Rufus, and the target USB drive is now bootable as a
Windows Repair Disk.
Using these two free
utilities, creating a Windows Repair Disk is extremely
simple. However, I would strongly suggest that you should
undertake this process now that is before your
system crashes, will no longer boot and you need
to use the repair disk. At this stage, its a little
too late to follow the above instructions. You now have
no CD and no OS!
Rufus (Open Source)
Pete Batard, Akeo Consulting
Originally published: February, 2014
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