Burning CDs/DVDs in Windows Server 2008

This content is 16 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

One of the downsides of running Windows Server 2008 as a workstation operating system is the lack of native CD/DVD-burning capabilities. Quite why Microsoft decided that administrators don’t need to write optical discs from servers is anybody’s guess but it’s kept me busy for the last hour or so.

First, I installed the copy of Nero 7 Essentials (v7.8.5.0) that was supplied with my notebook PC. That looked good (apart from the number of “essentials” that it provides) until I came to create a CD and found that it would only let me record to an “Image Recorder” and not to the drive in my notebook (despite having been provided by Fujitsu-Siemens with the computer, it seems that this OEM copy doesn’t work with my hardware).

Next up, I tried cdburn.exe from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit. That didn’t want to co-operate with my 64-bit Windows Server 2008 installation (it may work on a 32-bit installation as I used it on my previous machine with Vista).

A few years back, I wrote about Alex Fienman’s CreateCD and the latest version is called ISO Recorder. Even though v3 works on 64-bit Windows (Vista and so presumably Server 2008) it didn’t recognise my drive.

Then I stumbled across a post from Aali, who had exactly the same issue burning discs in Windows Server 2008ImgBurn (v2.4.0.0) successfully burned the .ISO that I’d created with Nero to a blank disc and could even have done the whole job for me.

30 thoughts on “Burning CDs/DVDs in Windows Server 2008

  1. I’ve been using CDBurner XP which works great with WS2008.
    See http://www.cdburnerxp.se for more info and free download.

    I have nothing to do with them, just found it via Google and started using it after my version of Nero didn’t work on WS2008.

  2. I was having some issues with ImgBurn today when it too failed to recognise my CD/DVD burner. It turns out that if I run it as an Administrator then all is well – from looking at the log it’s a permissions error when accessing the drive.

    ImgBurn log showing access denied errors for SPTI

    Further testing revealed that this was the problem with Nero too (and possibly with ISORecorder).

  3. Has anyone found out if it is possible to slim this W2K8 Server DVD down to just one CD (if you know the environment\version you want to install). I have a bunch of HP G2 racked servers available in my lab. I would like to get acquainted with Windows 2008 but these servers all have CDROMS. I don’t have an external USB DVD available at the moment. I realize MS has gone to the standard of one piece of media for all versions, giving you a different environment install based on the license key you put in.

  4. Hi Mark,

    I haven’t tried it but I would guess not as the .WIM image format already makes use of single instance storage to reduce the image size by re-using common data.

    One option would be to use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 to get Windows Server 2008 onto your machines across the network.

    Another option is to take a DVD drive from a suitable laptop and swap that with the CD drive in one of your HP servers.

    Just one more point – AFAIK, the available features are not linked to the license key but the product version is selected from a menu at setup time. Having said that, you are supposed to select the version you purchased and entering the wrong key may cause problems with product activation.

    HTH, Mark

  5. I am a Photographer and IT consultant and work with Windows server. Magic ISO *about 30 dollars is rock solid and it’s freeware app, Magic Disk mount as many Virtual Cd player that you might want. It does everything you need and is not bloated like Nero. Best kept secret around. ISO buster is another great product, aimed more at ubiquitous file access and recovery on all CD DVD formats. About the same price. Best Explorer substitute is Directory Opus. I run Windows and Wiindows HPC, Mac, Vmware Fusion, Wkstn, and Esx, and Solaris under ZFS, the best file system ever made, and soon to be better..also coming to the MAC…actually there now in MAC ZFS in read only but soon to be standard. Cheers.


  6. Dear Vilhelm Klink, or Allan, or whatever your name is, LOL.
    You wrote “about 30 dollars is rock solid and it’s freeware app”.
    Do you see what’s wrong with that?
    WELL DO YOU???

  7. @Matt – I must have been having a bad day when I let Vilhelm/Allan’s comment through ;-)

    I guess I saw the $30 and didn’t read any further, knowing I could do it for free with other products.

  8. @Darko – no, I just right click and run as Administrator – it’s no big deal because I’m still logged in with lower privileges – I just escalate for that particular applications.

  9. Any burning software will work on Server 2008 and above if you run it elevated.

    To get the inbox burning working you either need to a) long in as local system administrator to have full priviledges for burning, b) kill Explorer shell process and relaunch Explorer elevated or c) turn off UAC.

    My suggestion: Fast User Switch to local system administrator for burning, this way you maintain the integrity of your server system and still get to save a measly $300 by not buying real client system and let server be server.

    Yes, that was a tiny bit of sarcasm on the $300 comment, but the rest of it is accurate.

  10. How exactly does running my laptop as a server save me $300? My reasons for doing this were quite simple. I needed to use Hyper-V in my daily work – and that work (as a consultant) is necessarily mobile. No client system is going to give me that. Incidentally, as this system was running Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, it was considerably more expensive than a client system would have been… money was not the issue here.

    You are quite correct that burning requires elevation though; however there is no need to fast user switch – that’s what the option to run elevated is for – and it doesn’t affect the integrity of the system (turning off UAC would).

  11. Hi Mark,

    I thought I was quite clear in my post when I stated:

    “Any burning software will work on Server 2008 and above if you run it elevated.”

    It was my first sentence. I then went on about inbox burning support. I specifically phrased it that way to make sure I was being clear:

    –> “To get the inbox burning working…”

    This blog entry was about burning in server (more appropriately, using server as a workstation with the complaint about inbox burning support being lacking).

    You never mentioned a need for Hyper-V support until this last reply.

    That said, what I posted still holds true: On Server 2K8 and later, inbox burning needs to be run in an elevated process (just like any other third party app) and for inbox burning, the simplest and securest way is to Fast User Switch to local system administrator and burn there because you can’t simply elevate an instance of Explorer and keep the rest of Explorer not elevated.

    At least, I haven’t found a way yet.


  12. Hi OfNoConsequence – yes, the post is about a lack of native burning support in Server 2008 but I can’t agree that fast user switching is the way to go. Right click and run as Administrator will do the job just as well (rather than the whole session running as Administrator it will only elevate the chosen process and any child processes) – but I guess the method of invoking elevation is a personal preference. The most important thing is that, as you pointed out, turning off UAC is not the way!

    This post is probably misleading in many ways and readers really need to read the comments to get to the bottom of the problem – as you rightly point out the issue is one of user priviledges. That’s the thing with blogs… they are a point in time record of one’s experiences and don’t necessarily reflect anything discovered later.

    (The Hyper-V comment was just explaining why I was running a server OS on a workstation – I still don’t understand how that saves me $300 though!)

    Thanks for contributing to this discussion. Comments are always welcomed :-)


  13. Hi Mark,

    With few exceptions (your case being a good example of an exception), there’s no really good reason to use server in a client scenario other than someone doesn’t want to spend the $300 to $400 for a client system.

    Like you, there are people who use server OS for dual duty. As a server, but then in a desktop/workstation role. Windows Server is designed to be a server, it’s locked down, doesn’t have all the client services running (example, the audio service is turned off) and the video driver is the SVGA generic driver. To get it working as a desktop/workstation, you have to install the DEP, and then you have to do a number of tweaks and some registry hacks to get it to work in a desktop/workstation role.

    But then the user has taken a perfectly good server and made it less secure, and less performant.

    Instead they could order up a $300 computer from Dell that comes complete with a client OS and not risk their server and the data on the server from any possible compromise when it was “converted” to workstation useage.

    Make sense?


  14. Aha! Now I understand where you’re going with this. And yes – makes perfect sense. A $300 Dell PC is definitely the way forward for those users!

    (Incidentally my preferred tools for burning optical media on a server for admin purposes are the cdburn.exe and dvdburn.exe resource kit tools. Real admins use the command line ;-) )

  15. I also do not understand why MS thought not to include embeded disc burner in Windows Server 2008, like they did with Windows 7. I think that disc burner is more needed on Server OS, then on desktop computers.
    New nero should be working on Server 2008 too, at least Nero claim so.

  16. @Jason – yep, Nero should be fine (as are most tools) when run as Admin. As for comparing Windows Server 2008 with Windows 7, that’s skipping a generation really: Windows Server 2008 R2 is the server OS that matches 7; Windows Server 2008 matches Vista.

    One feature that Microsoft did miss from Windows 7 that would have been useful was the ability to mount ISOs… I use Virtual Clone Drive for that, but it would be good if it was in the OS.

  17. Thanks so much for this article! Version is nowhere to be found, but the website OldVersion.com has version available for download. I tried it and it DOES see my DVD burner. Thanks, again!

  18. Sophie (@Windows Server Support) – if you really are offering support, and not just leaving comment spam, then you’ll know that is find for adding data files to the CD/DVD, but no good for burning an .ISO image. In addition, this post is specifically related to server operating systems – not XP!

  19. I found Geoff’s solution to work for me. I installed the Desktop Experience Feature to my Windows Server 2008 R2 and now I see “Burn Disc Image” option in Windows Explorer. Can’t get any easier!

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