According to the Microsoft website I can run "Create a system repair disc" from the start menu to burn a recovery Disc. However, there are many situations (including not having a disk drive) where this cannot be done.

My goal is to create a bootable USB drive according to this guide but their method to do so without burning a physical disc includes downloading an ISO from "somebody's" website. I don't know who "somebody" is and I feel it is reasonable to not boot something I can't verify as being untampered with. To the best of my knowledge, Microsoft does not host a recovery disc ISO for download as this would be the easiest solution.

So my problem is that I'd like to circumvent Microsofts "burn to disc" option with a "burn to ISO" through any reasonable means.


You can download an official ISO from Microsoft's digital distributor, Digital River. Using the Windows 7 USB tool, available from Microsoft here, you can make a bootable install USB drive that will allow you to access the recovery tools. No disc-burning required.

Make sure you select the correct ISO for the Windows you are attempting to repair. You can also reinstall from the USB stick, but you will need your own product key that should have come with your computer.

  • Of course, I'd still like to jump around "burn to disc" options with a "burn to ISO" if you have any ideas. – MaDMaD Mad Feb 27 '13 at 18:45
  • I've gone looking for similar options before and always came up empty handed. – techturtle Feb 27 '13 at 19:42
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    Microsoft recently released a tool for those with a retail Windows 7 license so you can download the .ISO yourself. – Ramhound Feb 23 '15 at 16:46
  • The "offical" Digital River link didn't work – Sisso Jan 2 '16 at 2:44
  • I think Microsoft has disabled them now in favor of their automated media creation tools. – techturtle Jan 2 '16 at 2:57

Well, I know the others are trying to help but I am pretty sure none of these answers solved it because I was with the same problem as you. So here was what I found:


1 - Open your temp folder through: Start -> Run (type on the search programs and files box "run", or shortcut windows+d) -> type %temp% on the Run box (it will open your temp folder);

2 - Go to the system repair disc tool (Yes, I know there is no disc on the drive): Start -> All Programs -> Maintenance -> Create a System Repair Disc

3 - Once you click to create a disc you are going to receive a message "System repair disc could not be created. There is no media in the device.". It's ok, continue closing ONLY this message, the Create a system repair disc windows MUST still be open.

4 - Now you can see at the temp folder, you have a new file called "somesortofbignumber.iso" around 100 or 200 MB (if you can't see it press F5 to refresh the folder). But still, you can't move, or copy, or anything the file because the system says it is in use. That is your ISO file, you just can't do anything with it yet. So, in this part you have to use a program that let you manage these kind of files. I used one called Unlocker.

5 - After you installed Unlocker the only thing you have to do is: Right click "somesortofbignumber.iso" -> select Unlocker -> select the option "Copy" and the destination folder (remember if you want to rename the file don't forget the ".iso" ending).

After that you can search for a USB tool solution from a ISO file.

It worked very well for me, good luck.

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    This requires a bootable system which the author did not have. This also creates an entirely DIFFERENT type of System Repair disk then the author wanted. Furthermore the author is already aware of this method. – Ramhound Oct 16 '13 at 15:22
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    @Ramhound, the original poster was seeking a solution to the problem of not being able to create a recovery disk, presumably because the machine that s/he was attempting to create the recovery disk from doesn't have a DVD/CD writer. As I understand the original question, it does seem that the OP has access to a machine that can be used to generate the repair disk, so the above answer seems reasonable. Also, at least as far as I can see, there is no indication that the OP is "already aware" of the above method - it seems quite clever to me. – Eric Smith Dec 14 '14 at 10:03
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    This answer is very helpful. I was in the same situation as the author this weekend. I used this solution (since you can no longer download windows ISOs from Digital River like the accepted answer suggests). I don't understand @Ramhound's comments, or the downvotes. There are other answers to the question more deserving of those comments. The author must have had a bootable system: "I can run "Create a system repair disc" from the start menu" There is no evidence that the author is already aware of this method of obtaining a trusted ISO for creating a bootable USB. – Lee Kowalkowski Feb 23 '15 at 15:48
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    @Ramhound. You need the product registration key, which many people with preinstallations do not have. All the laptops I have with windows have the key on a sticker underneath, which over the years is no longer readable. So there is no way to obtain an installation disk. – Lee Kowalkowski Feb 23 '15 at 16:08
  • @Ramhound, what question are you talking about? Where does it say the author's situation is they do not have a bootable windows installation? It does not. The Digital River page linked to also links to many ISO files, but the one's I have tried all go to a page not found. So how did you do that only just the other day? – Lee Kowalkowski Feb 23 '15 at 16:20

Bit late to answer this question. But I found a very decent tutorial on how to handle this using "TotalMounter" and "Rufus". It is available here:


Hope this helps for other users in future...


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    External links can become unavailable, in which case your answer would have no value. Please include the essential information in your answer and use the link for further information. – fixer1234 Mar 26 '15 at 3:08
  • The only answer that worked though the link is broken. – cdlvcdlv Sep 23 '18 at 14:05

I know it's old question but some people might still struggle with this problem.

Basically what you need is virtual burner. This answer explains how to use one of them.

  • Why would you even downvote it? Selected answer isn't really what the author asked for and you can't download from Digital River anymore. At first I wanted to flag it as duplicate, but it's not really a duplicate... So I made this answer. And SuperUser isn't for software recommendation, so I don't see any reason to downvote. – Piotr Kowalski Aug 23 '16 at 14:14

The Unlocker strategy did not work for me. The instant I unlocked the ISO file, the system deleted it! That might have something to do with the file's attribute, "T," for Temporary file.

But here is what did work: install an undelete program. As soon as Create Repair Disk deletes the ISO file, use your undelete program to undelete the file. I used the free program EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, in particular the Deep Scan feature. Note that the free version allows you to undelete up to 300 MB of deleted files. After that, you have to pay for the licensed version.

My Temp folder is on its own small disk partition, so the deleted ISO file is very unlikely to get overwritten. If your Temp folder is on the Windows partition (probably C:), then there is a chance the deleted ISO file could get partly overwritten and hence corrupted even if you undelete it right away. You should close all other programs when you attempt this solution.


A great mirror for Digital River contents:


Note for the author:

  1. the only difference between digitalriver and technet is the naming, nothing else!
  2. if you can provide missing isos - contact me @ technet -ett- coresec.de
  3. please VERIFY md5/sha1-sums after each download (msdn-links containing proof of sha1-sums are linked behind each iso)
  4. the isos are provided as is
  5. if you want to rsync my archive - contact me @ technet -ett- coresec.de
  6. if you're a microsoft representative, please don't be mad, i just help your customers where you leave 'em in the dark (i do not provide keys here!), thank you!

Try burning to disk if you can, and then make an ISO of that disk using tool like ImgBurn.

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    "However, there are many situations (including not having a disk drive) where this cannot be done." – MaDMaD Mad Feb 27 '13 at 17:57
  • @MaDMaDMad well you do it in advance. So I think this is a good answer. And you can always buy an external dvd drive.. And maybe mounting a virtual dvd that you can burn onto and then read the ISO off of would work too. – barlop Apr 8 '17 at 23:28

Except for burning, you can also mount the iso file. It could be worked when you don't have a disk drive. You can using the tool like WinISO or Daemon Tools.

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