I am using windows 7.

When I boot my computer using an ISO image, will it make changes to or wipe my hard drive? Will I be able to restart and boot to windows 7 and still have all of my data? For example: If I had a Linux ISO file on a disc and I boot to it.

  • Simply booting to an ISO file shouldn't make changes to your hard drive and certainly wouldn't wipe your hard drive, although I suppose the answer depends entirely on what the ISO is and what it does.
    – joeqwerty
    Jun 11, 2014 at 2:33
  • So, it all depends on the software that is located on the file, correct?
    – spencer741
    Jun 11, 2014 at 2:36
  • What I'm saying is that it depends. If you boot to an ISO that has an HDD wipe program that launches on boot then it might wipe your hard drive. Simply booting to an OS install ISO shouldn't make any changes unless you initiate the install. The key is in the context. What type of ISO are you booting to? Some kind of LiveCD or OS installer?
    – joeqwerty
    Jun 11, 2014 at 2:42
  • The type of ISO is a LiveCD
    – spencer741
    Jun 11, 2014 at 2:47
  • If it's an ISO that has software on it that can alter your hard drive, and either 1) you tell it to, or 2) it contains instructions to do so automatically, then yes. Otherwise, no.
    – Bandrami
    Jun 11, 2014 at 3:42

2 Answers 2


Just booting from an ISO will normally not make any changes to your hard drive, your data is usually going to be completely safe if you do this. However if you install something from that ISO it will make changes to your hard drive (which will either be done manually by you or automatically by an installer depending on case)

You can boot off LiveCD/DVD/USB without any fear. No changes will be made to your system unless you explicitly tell the Live media to do something (like installing the operating system the LiveCD was made from or fixing some problems with your computer via SystemRescueCD)

This depends a lot on the ISO you're booting from though, so my advice is to RTFM before you boot from anything to be safe.


The question is too broad to be answered accurately however, the answer is definitely maybe!!

You fail to mention what ISO you will be booting from. Since we don't know, it means the answer is yes, it could have malicious code which destroys data, it could have legit reasons, such as storing information about the session or configuration changes. It could make useful changes to the registry to fix issues. So, as you can see it can make changes for good or bad.

The fact you're using it suggests it probably comes from a trustworthy source, making it more likely to not damage your files, but the answer is yes, booting from an ISO can affect files. Whether it will or not, we can't answer.

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