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BURNING GUIDE for all images using only free software

by Ziggy587 Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:19 am

The purpose of this tutorial is to show you how to burn disc images to CD/DVD. I broke it down to image format (ISO, BIN, CDI, etc) rather than console specific. The reason is because burning a specific image format is exactly the same no matter what console it's for.

If you find any broken links in the guide, please let me know by posting about it in this thread!

Update: This guide is now republished here:
http://www.racketboy.com/retro/hacks/20 ... tware.html


This guide was originally written in 2010. Some things have changed since then. I would like to eventually rewrite the guide. But, until then, please read these updates after reading the guide.

Current version of ImgBurn has tricky Adware:

Starting with version, ImgBurn included a typical option to install an Ask.com toolbar but it was easy to uncheck and not include. But, as of version, ImgBurn is bundled with OpenCandy. A lot of anti-virus software identifies it as a PUP (potentially unwanted program). Norton goes as far as to block access to the ImgBurn website because of it.

ImgBurn is great software, and I think it's great that the author can get some money out of it while still offering it as free software. However, most people don't want adware installed on their computer. It is possible to install the latest version of ImgBurn and opt NOT to install OpenCandy, however, they didn't make it easy (it's actually REALLY sneaky!). The Wiki article I linked also shows two ways to work around it. Apparently if you disable your internet access OpenCandy will just give up and not install anything (OpenCandy actually scans your computer and then makes a suggestion to download something that might interest you).

Or, just use an older version before OpenCandy was bundled with it (don't worry about not having the latest version).

Here's a link from The ISO Zone for a download of ImgBurn version which also includes the necessary drivers to burn Dreamcast CDI images (see next update below this one). I have not downloaded this package yet, but judging by the comments and the uploader's presence on The ISO Zone, it looks legit.

Alternatively, you can grab ImgBurn version from OldVersion.com, here's the link. This will not include the necessary files to burn Dreamcast CDI images, but you can download those separately here (scroll down and click "I agree"). is the version that I'm using, so anything I show you how to do in the guide or tips and tricks you'll be able to do with this version.

There's a "check for updates" option that you can turn off in ImgBurn's settings, so you wont get that annoying nag every time you start up the program.

ImgBurn can now burn Dreamcast CDI images!

At the time that I wrote the guide, ImgBurn did not have proper support for CDI images so you couldn't burn Dreamcast games. But (as of version now you can! After you install ImgBurn, just download the Zip file from here (you have to accept the EULA by clicking "I agree").

These are the default install locations for ImgBurn:

Code: Select all
64-bit Windows:
C:\Program Files (x86)\ImgBurn

32-bit Windows:
C:\Program Files\ImgBurn

Extract the contents of "pfctoc.zip" (should be three files) to the ImgBurn folder (not any sub folders). That's it! Now ImgBurn can burn Dreamcast CDI images!

ImgBurn can burn GCM images directly!

In the guide, I showed how you can burn a GCM image by changing the file extension to ISO. You can actually burn a .gcm with ImgBurn without having to change the file extension.

Dead Links:

Daemon Tools Lite (v4.35.6) This is the same version that I use in the guide.

An alternative to Daemon Tools Lite is SlySoft's Virtual Clone Drive: http://www.slysoft.com/en/download.html

Boot Dreams - Don't use Boot Dreams. Either use ImgBurn with the added CDI support (see above) or use the demo version of Disk Juggler.

ECM Tools - Forum thread here. Neill Corlett's site on Web Archive here.

Incorrect Screenshot of ImgBurn write screen:

In the guide, it incorrectly shows the ImgBurn READ screen a number of times when it should show the WRITE screen.

This is the correct screen shot for the WRITE screen:

Last edited by Ziggy587 on Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:13 am, edited 22 times in total.
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by Ziggy587 Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:20 am

Tips and Tricks

I've found out a lot of tips and tricks over the years. I figured I'd post them all there, as they might help some people out. I tried to make the Burning Guide easy for anyone to understand, even for those that know nothing about disc images. These tips and tricks are not for beginners, however. Some of them will only make sense to the more advanced users.

Anyone have any noteworthy tips or tricks? Let me know and I'll edit them into this post.

About the CUE and MDS File...
...with some tips and tricks!

CUE files are actually just text files that describe how the tracks of a disc are laid out. You can open any .cue file in a basic text editor (such as Notepad on Windows) to alter it.

For example, if you have a BIN/CUE image and you rename the files, the CUE will no longer work. Open the CUE in a text editor. You'll see that the first line will be:

Code: Select all

Make sure what is in the quotes matches the file name exactly.

CUE files are usually a problem with downloaded ISO+mp3 images. The CUE files are either missing or broken. When they're broken, it's almost always because someone altered the file names but didn't update the CUE sheet. You can open the CUE in a text editor to fix this. If the CUE is missing, you can create a .txt in NotePad and write a CUE sheet from scratch (you just need to change the file extension to .cue). However, in this case, it's much easier to just use Sega Cue maker or ImgBurn to create a new CUE sheet so you don't have to type it up manually.

You cannot use Sega Cue Maker to make a CUE for a BIN/CUE image. However, if for some reason you're missing the CUE for a BIN/CUE image, one can easily be created. Just find someone that has the game (it should probably be the EXACT game, as in revision and region). They can make a BIN/CUE image of it, and let you know what should go in the CUE sheet. Just create a .txt and enter this info, save, then rename the file extension to .cue (it wont work if it's a .txt). Or, get someone to email you the CUE sheet (they're very small in size).

But yeah, this is why if you have a BIN/CUE or ISO+mp3 image and you change any of the files names it'll break the image. You just have to fix the CUE.

MDS files are very similar to CUE files in that they just contain info about the disc data, but in this case MDS will accompany an ISO or an MDF image. You can open them in a text editor, and while you'll see some basic info like the file name, it's full of whacky characters which makes me assume it's not meant to be edited in a text editor.

This is also why when burning a BIN/CUE or ISO/MDS image, you only select the CUE or MDS file (and not the BIN or ISO file). The CUE or MDS points to the BIN or ISO and let's the software know what to do with it. ImgBurn is pretty smart. If you open a BIN or ISO and it detects a CUE or MDS for said image, it'll report to you that you should have selected the CUE or MDS and that it automatically selected it for you.

About the ISO+mp3 format:

"ISO" has become synonymous to many for disc images, and a lot of people refer to ANY disc image as an ISO. This is part of the reason why we have a lot of bastard ISO+mp3 rips.

The ISO format doesn't support audio tracks. Games for Sega CD, Saturn, etc all have audio tracks. So when these games are ripped to ISO you end up having an ISO data file accompanied by audio tracks. So, you'll end up with an image that consists of an ISO, multiple WAV files, and a CUE (see about CUE above). People then take the WAV files and convert them to a compressed format, usually mp3. I assume to save bandwidth when uploading and downloading. But I think a lot go for mp3 because mp3 has become synonymous for audio files, and a lot of people refer to ANY audio file as an mp3. It's a lossy format, it should be avoided. All in all, the ISO+mp3 format is a mess and shouldn't be used.

Here's a general rule of thumb when creating an image of a disc: If it's a DVD, you generally want to make an ISO. If it's a CD, most of the time you want to make a BIN/CUE (I plan to write more about this).

Easy way to check integrity of discs:

Used game discs might have light scuffs or even scratches. We've all been there: You want to know if they will effect playing the game. Testing it in a console isn't reliable. Are you gonna test EVERY inch of the game? Some games might take dozens of hours to do that. eBay sellers often list a game as "Tested: Works!" simply because they booted it up and maybe even loaded the first level. Well, there might be a scratch that only effects the data accessed very late in the game. But you need to know now, possibly so you can get a refund if needed. Well, here's a quick and dirty way to check a disc.

Use ImgBurn to read the disc to an image. When you create an image of a disc, the entire disc will be read. This means you'll be testing that EVERY bit of data on the disc is readable. If you can read the entire disc to an image without errors, that should mean you'll have no problems playing the game. General rule of thumb: If it's a CD, make a BIN/CUE image. If it's a DVD, make an ISO.

This method isn't perfect, however.

Let's say a disc has some scuffs and/or light scratches. You might be able to read the entire disc on your PC with no errors, no problem. But you're using an optical drive from 2015, not one that is a decade or two old. Your PC's drive might be able to read the disc, but perhaps your Sega CD will have trouble with it. Here's a more recent example: I got a disc only copy of Link's Crossbow Training from GameStop. It worked perfectly in my Wii U, but I couldn't even load the game in my Wii. I cleaned the disc, as well as the Wii's optical drive (with the official cleaning kit) but the Wii just couldn't read that disc.

Another drawback, some discs you wont be able to read in ImgBurn for various reasons. Some PS1 games have copy protection that will prevent you from making a BIN/CUE image of it (you might actually get read errors because of the copy protection) In this case use Clone CD, (more info to come). Dreamcast discs have the obvious problem of being GD-ROMs and not CD-ROMs. Gamecube and Wii DVDs are not easily dumped on the PC, although a hacked Wii along with the app CleanRip can do the job. Using CleanRip has the benefit of downloading an MD5 checksum file for each game image, which verifies that the image was dumped correctly without errors.

Easy way to extract and repack ISO images...
...using software you probably already have installed.

There's a number of reasons you might want to alter an ISO file. Before you can make any changes, you have to extract/unpack the ISO. When you're done making your changes, you have to repack the files into an ISO.

To do this, a lot of guides will have you use Magic ISO Maker or PowerISO or something. I always like to accomplish things using the least amount of software possible. Most of us will already have 7 Zip and ImgBurn installed. You don't need anything else (unless you need to patch something or some other such thing outside the scope of ImgBurn).

7 Zip can extract ISO files. Open the ISO in the 7Z File Manager and extract all of the contents to a new folder. Now you can make any changes to it (like I said, other software may be needed for certain things). When you're done, launch ImgBurn and select "Create image from files/folder." Load all of the folders and files, make sure you select the correct data type, file system, etc, and then click the build button. ImgBurn will pack all of the extracted folders/files back into an ISO. Done.

There's a number of reasons you might want to alter an ISO file. For example, I like using OPL on my PS2, so I'd like my images to be as small as possible so they take up less HDD space. I recently ripped a game that included a demo for another game. So, I extracted the ISO with 7z and deleted the game demo folder. Then I used ImgBurn to turn the files back into an ISO.

An alternative to Saturn Region Patcher for Linux and Mac:

This info was taken from here: http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopi ... 34#p321034

SRP is just patching something very small. The same can be accomplished manually in a hex editor. If you're using Linux, I'm sure you can just go on the repository and grab a hex editor. For Mac users, you're on your own, but I'm sure there's some free hex editors out there.

Open the hex editor and load whatever the data file is for your game image. If it's a BIN/Cue, open the BIN. If it's an ISO+mp3, open the ISO. Follow these directions:

If it's a bin/cue go to 0x50 and place a U. If it's an ISO, go to 0x40 and place a U.

Obviously the "U" will make it North American region. Use the screen shot of SRP to determine the other region character codes: http://madroms.satakore.com/#SRP

I have yet to confirm this, but I eventually will (unless someone can confirm it for me). It' easy enough to confirm. Take a game image and make a copy of it, use SRP to change the region of the copy, load both in a hex editor and see what changed.

If your Saturn game image is in another format, like MDF or NRG, then convert it to BIN/CUE (I show how to do this in the guide).

An alternative to Sega CUE Maker?

ImgBurn can create a CUE file. However, I have not yet confirmed if it can replace Sega CUE Maker for our needs. Can anyone confirm this?

Any Linux or Mac users that can't use Sega CUE Maker, you can always create one manually using a standard text editor, as mentioned at the top of this post.

I know that ImgBurn works with WINE, so if the CUE maker in ImgBurn is OK for our needs, Linux users can go this route.
Last edited by Ziggy587 on Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:57 am, edited 18 times in total.
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by presicion25 Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:39 am

Ive had Boot Dreams awhile but havent tried it. Does it allow PS1 games only to boot in a Dreamcast?

Just wondering.

Really Good guide by the way. 8)
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by s1mplehumar Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:07 am

Nice, comprehensive guide, Ziggy. This could use a sticky.
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by sevin0seven Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:27 am

Nice piece of information for those who needs it. Image
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by nightrnr Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:28 am

Best burning guide I've ever come across. Well done!
I second the sticky.

(Bookmarked for future reference)
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by Ziggy587 Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:05 pm

Don't worry about the sticky, it's intended to be moved to the new Guides forum in The Garage.

Thanks for the praise. Any ideas to make it better, please let me know!
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by Dakinggamer87 Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:09 pm

Very nice guide!! :D
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by Frizz.Meister Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:12 pm

Loving it, but can you please go over the Cue + Bin image type in more detail because i didnt fully understand your explaination. What do you do with the BIN file, you mentioned writing the CUE but do you write it with the BIN file, before hand, afterwards?

Thanks for your effort though.
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Re: How to burn game images using all FREE software!

by Hobie-wan Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:34 pm

Frizz.Meister wrote:Loving it, but can you please go over the Cue + Bin image type in more detail because i didnt fully understand your explaination. What do you do with the BIN file, you mentioned writing the CUE but do you write it with the BIN file, before hand, afterwards?

Thanks for your effort though.

Cue files tell the burning program what it needs to do with the BINary and audio tracks if there are any. So as long as the cue file is correct the burning program will handle it.
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