Last month we reported a killer deal for Windows 7 whereby eligible students could preorder a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional for just $30.Talk about a steal! But what Digital River (the company responsible for the promotion) didn't tell you was that instead of a handy ISO image that you could burn to a DVD for safe keeping, you instead would receive a trio of files on you desktop.
Power users that we are, this just didn't sit well with us, so we went in search of a solution. Well guess what? We found one, courtesy of WindowsSevenForums.com forum member SIW2. We verified that his method works, and if you're one of the students who jumped on the promotional pricing, we're going to show you how to quickly convert your copy of Windows 7 into an ISO file.
Before getting started, be sure you've downloaded your copy and clicked the Run button in the download manager. This will extract all the Windows 7 files that we need to a folder on your desktop. When you're all finished, here's what you should have on your desktop:
expandedSetup (folder with unpacked Windows 7 files inside)
Download oscdimg.zip from here and extract the executable to C:\Windows\System32. This little utility makes it possible to convert a build directory into a bootable CD/DVD, which is just what we need.
Next, open up an elevated command prompt. To do this, click Start and type CMD, but don't hit enter. Vista will find the cmd.exe file and list it at top of the Start menu. Right-click and choose Run as administrator.
In the command prompt that pops up, copy and paste oscdimg -bC:\Users\USERNAME\Desktop\expandedSetup\boot\etfsboot.com -h -u2 -m -lWIN_EN_DVD C:\Users\USERNAME\Desktop\expandedSetup\ C:\7.iso but again, don't press enter. Before doing so, change USERNAME to whatever yours is on your PC. If you want, you can also change the name and location of the finished ISO, otherwise the end result will be C:\7.iso.
If you're running XP, the command line is a little different and you need to enclose the file locations in quotation marks, otherwise the spaces in 'Documents and Settings' throws it off. Instead of the above, copy/paste: oscdimg -u2 -b"C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Desktop\expandedSetup\boot\etfsboot.com" -h "C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Desktop\expandedSetup" C:\7.iso
And that's it! How long it takes to create the ISO will depend on your system, but if you have a relatively recent machine, you can expect it to be finished in just a few minutes. When it does, you're all set to burn your copy of Windows 7 to DVD. If you don't have a program capable of burning ISO images, snag the free CDBurnerXP utility from here.