While I was doing some work under Windows this evening, I had the need to burn some ISO files I had downloaded from the MSDNAA. I had just reinstalled the whole system this morning (hint hint, Vista Beta 2) and I did not have any CD recording utility installed.

I noticed the "Burn" button when exploring the folder containing the ISOs and I thought that it could allow me to press them to pristine CDs... but it turns out I was wrong. If you have ever used this feature under Windows XP, you know that it only lets you to create new data CDs and burn them, but not burn prerecorded ISO images. It remains the same in Vista.

As I was lazy to look for the CD containing the recording utility that came with my DVD unit — and, sincerely, I do not like it that much —, I looked for and tried several free tools that were supposed to allow me do this. Guess what? None of them worked: they could simply refuse to install or fail to detect my drive.

Fortunately, this search let me discover the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools, a set of utilities to ease administration of Windows boxes. These are free and work on several Windows versions, including Vista. Among all the included goodies, there is one that solved my problem: cdburn.exe. OK, fine, it is command-line based but it does the job it is supposed to do.

Just as an example, this could burn some_image.iso:
cdburn -sao -speed max d: some_image.iso
More on the beta experience on a future post ;-)