I'm currently clearing out the detritus of my misspent youth - stacks of CDs I burnt, or cds that "might be useful" ... and are over 20 years old and belong on a museum. In some cases these happen to be somewhat unusual os images or other content I'd rather not 'simply' copy into folders.

I used to use imageburn for that sort of thing but the download pages are a confusing morass of wierd links that may either install imageburn, or infect my computer with all manner of nasty things. Imageburn is old anyway, even if it does work.

So here's what I need. One thing well. I need to take a cd or DVD . If its damaged, I need it to fail gracefully or try to recover as much as possible. It converts it to an ISO. I don't want anything more than that. I don't want to need to have to install wierd kernel drivers. I don't need to burn cds. I want to take this ISO, burn it again or stick it in a VM, and if the original was bootable, this should boot too.

I primarily run windows, and want a gui, but I suppose a linux option will do if nothing else meets my needs. I'm using a usb cd rom drive since optical media is so 90s.

I want it somewhat supported, and free of spam, malware, pickpocketing urchins, and other such things on the download page.

So does a beast exist?


1 Answer 1


If you're comfortable working on the command-line, you'll have several options that are free, open-source and 100% non-dodgy. My personal favs:

  • readom is excellent for CD- and DVD-ROms. You'll have to use a command line similar to this:

    readom dev=/dev/sr0 f=mydisk.iso

where dev points to your CD reader device and f is the output file.

  • cdparanoia is a good choice for audio CDs. Note that you cannot create an ISO image from an audio CD, so it will rip the audio to a bunch of WAV files. The command line you need for this will be something like this:

    cdparanoia -B -l

You don't say what OS you're using, but both are available for both Linux and Windows (for Windows, get Cygwin and then use Cygwin's installer to get the tools you need).

Also, here are some notes on command-line CD extraction tools that I once wrote; might be useful.

  • My bad, I'm on windows at the moment as indicated by the use of imageburn and the mention of viruses. However, leave this answer here, since if I'm not happy with my options, I'll usb boot into linux, or pop my USB optical drive into my linux box Oct 27, 2015 at 14:03
  • BTW if you're on Windows I can recommend the Cygwin option; I've successfully used readom on my Windows machine that way. Once I figured out the device name of my cd reader (/dev/scd0 for internal reader; /dev/scd1 for external USB device) this worked very smoothly. Also with Cygwin you'll simply be using native Windows ports of those tools.
    – johan
    Oct 27, 2015 at 14:18
  • I'm not a fan of crowbaring a full posix environment just for this. I have a little linux box with a fair amount of storage that would be a better option. I just happen to have 2-3 windows boxen with burners so I can parallise this ;p Oct 27, 2015 at 14:19
  • I would add safecopy to the list. Oct 27, 2015 at 14:53
  • In addition, if you're dealing with disks that have errors on them ddrescue might be worth a look as well.
    – johan
    Oct 27, 2015 at 15:19

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