On Windows, how can I check whether an ISO image is bootable, without writing it to a DVD or running it on virtual machine?

8 Answers 8


Don't forget the command line tool file.

$ file /cygdrive/t/test.iso clonezilla-live-1.2.12-60-amd64.iso
/cygdrive/t/test.iso:                # ISO 9660 CD-ROM filesystem data 'CDROM                           '
clonezilla-live-1.2.12-60-amd64.iso: # ISO 9660 CD-ROM filesystem data '1.2.12-60-amd64                 ' (bootable)

If the ISO image is bootable, there will be a "(bootable)" string at the end of line of file command output. (You may want to scroll to the right of code snippet above if there is horizontal scroll bar in it. I've rewritten the CSS for this site using Stylish addon in Firefox browser, so I don't have a scroll bar in it)

You can install Cygwin or the standalone file package of GnuWin32 (looks like no active development anymore) to get file tool for Windows. For linux system, in most linux live cds, the file command is in there.

  • any way to know if that implies bootability?
    – rogerdpack
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 18:18
  • @rogerdpack, If the ISO file is bootable, there will be "(bootable)" string at the end of line. Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 1:46
  • 1
    My ISO file is bootable but this command does not show the string "(bootable)". Operating system is Debian. Example of the finnix.iso finnixmod.iso: DOS/MBR boot sector; partition 1 : ID=0x17, active, start-CHS (0x0,0,1), end-CHS (0x1a7,63,32), startsector 0, 868352 sectors
    – MaXi32
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 3:39
  • It's ok on linux I think this is enough isoinfo -d -i finnixmod.iso | grep "bootable"
    – MaXi32
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 3:45
  • I tried the file command with Windows subsystem for Linux which runs Ubuntu 20.04 and I got the same as @MaXi32. But when I ran the command from git bash it showed me the (bootable) if the ISO was bootable.
    – Roald
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 13:33

Open the file to browse the content with a software which can open and browse ISO content. Use WinRAR or MagicISO ISO Explorer and see there are boot files present.

I recommend MagicISO which will indicate an ISO as Bootable or Non-Bootable

enter image description here


We will follow a very simple process:

Using PowerISO

  1. Download and install PowerISO

  2. Open PowerISO

  3. Click on File menu and then choose Open.. and then browse and open the .iso file

  4. When you have opened the .iso file, if it is bootable, then at the lower left corner it shows bootable image if it is not a bootable image, then at the lower left corner it shows non bootable image.

enter image description here
image source


You can also check with ImgBurn.

Click on 'Write image file to disk', then select image and it will show if its bootable.

enter image description here


Follow these steps to check ISO image as Bootable Or Non-Bootable

  1. Copy the ISO image into the hard drive.
  2. Install Nero Version 7.2 or above
  3. Enable Nero Image Drive
  4. Open the ISO image file through Nero Image Drive
  5. Now go for My computer right click on the Image drive in check for Autoplay Option.
  6. If Autoplay Option is there then it is bootable or else it is nonbootable disc.


  • 2
    Autoplay does not mean bootable. Bootable does not mean autoplay. Bootable discs (with the El Torito standard) have a boot record and catalog, and will be loaded by the BIOS. Windows, as an OS, doesn't care if a disc is bootable or not; autoplay looks for the autorun.ini file in the root of the disc.
    – Bob
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 15:00

Use UltraISO. When you open your ISO file with it, it'll show you:

Ultra ISO Also it lets you load/save the boot file, but it's another theme ;)


The fast and easy way is by downloading MobaLiveCD (~1,52MB, alternate download link here); it's portable and free and based on QEMU.


Testing Windows 7 SP1 ISO

You can choose a USB drive or ISO file to test if it is bootable or not.

  • Looks like some AV programs are blocking the link. Are you sure it's safe?
    – Karan
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 23:34
  • Yes @Karan it's safe, here the VirusTotal analysis
    – tttony
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 2:09
  • Hmm, the program might be safe, but the site itself is getting blocked with a malware warning. It might be a false positive of course, but just to be on the safe side perhaps you can also provide an alternate download location?
    – Karan
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 2:10
  • You can download here from Mediafire
    – tttony
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 2:16

I will tell you from the start, follow these steps:

  1. Download and Install Virtual box from http://www.virtualbox.org/
  2. Start Virtual box and click on New to create a new Virtual Machine.
  3. Click Next.Give a name to your Virtual Machine.
  4. Choose the the type of Operating System and Version.Choose Other if you are unsure about the Operating System and its Version.Click next
  5. Since we are only testing a Live CD , a hard disk is not required.So just click next in the Virtual Hard Disk Window.

enter image description here

6.fcpopl Test Bootable ISO and Live CD/DVD without restarting you ComputerYou will get a warning saying that a hard disk has not been attached to the virtual Machine.Click on Continue.

7.Click Finish.

8.Your Virtual Machine will appear in the left pane.Right Click on it and select Settings.

9.Click on CD/DVD ROM.Tick “Mount CD/DVD ROM” enter image description here

10.You can either choose your Physical CD/DVD ROM or a bootable ISO image.

11.Click OK and Click on Start in the main Window to Launch the Virtual Machine.

12.The virtual machine will boot from the bootable ISO or CD and you can test it on your Virtual enter image description here enter image description here

  • Install a virtual machine program just to check whether a ISO is bootable; Seems overkill. Especially the case if you PC has Virtualisation technology turned off in BIOS, adding a PC restart to the above procedures.
    – user66001
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 19:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .