Why Can't I Boot From a Burned CD?

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Isabel Berney downloaded and burned the Vista Recovery Disc. But her PC wouldn't boot from the disc. I offer some advice.

First, you need to make sure you burned it correctly. That particular download arrives as an .iso file. Merely copying that file to a CD-R--as you might a collection of photos--won't do. It's a disc image file, and you need a program that can read it and properly burn its contents.

There's a good chance you already have such a program. To find out, double-click the .iso file. If it brings up your CD authoring software and starts the burning process, your problem is solved. If it doesn't, download and install ISO Recorder.

If it still won't boot from the CD, your PC probably isn't set to boot from the CD/DVD drive. Or it's set to boot from that drive only if it can't boot from the hard drive. You can check and change this setting in your hardware setup program. I can't give you exact directions because these vary from one BIOS to another. Here's a general description:

When you first boot your computer, a message should appear on your screen saying something like "Press key for setup." Press whatever key it tells you to press--immediately.

This will bring you to a menu screen. Find the Boot or Boot Order submenu. If your CD/DVD drive doesn't come before your hard drive in the boot order, change the settings so it does.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

This article was altered shortly after it went online. I corrected a spelling error. Thanks to Larry Weeks for pointing it out.

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