How to use ImgBurn for batch build/create/burn ISO to backup to DVD

This guide is based on ImgBurn, which you can currently get from here. In case you’re reading this guide way after the publication date (may’09), then it could be possible the author added the functionality directly in the software, rendering this howto pretty much useless

Anyway, the whole point of this guide is doing with ImgBurn what it is not really intended to do, that is using it as a backup software to reverse on optical discs your sheer volume of un-copyrighted data. The guide is suited for users wanting to backup to single-side DVD’s.

As you may, or may not, know, ImgBurn has a built-in batch function which allows you to burn in batch mode, that is, when properly set, being able to queue as much ISO images as you need, and after pressing a button, only needing to exchange the automatically ejected burned DVDs with blank ones and close the tray between an ISO and the following one, meanwhile doing whatever you may like (surfing the internet, chatting, watching a movie, or even play a videogame) without much stress on your part unless these very automated steps.

What ImgBurn absolutely needs for the batch burn function tho, is ISO images, while normal users in need to backup files usually have those files in a normal directory structure; thus, we need to convert those directory structures in ISO files to be burnt by ImgBurn, but alas ImgBurn has no batch function to build ISO files, just a plain manual routine. Our job in this guide is to make a wholly batched process both to burn ISO files *and* create them beforehand from a predetermined folder structure.


The first part of the job is the heavy one, depending on the volume of data you need to backup: you need to do this mostly manually, unless you want to use other tools to help you with the space partitioning (like Ignition by KC Softwares, but I won’t cover this in the present guide). To make it short, you need to create a work folder, in which you will then create as many folders as the DVDs will be. For the example’s sake (all drive letters and patch are taken from my real paths), let’s say you got a big drive with lots of free space, let’s make it F:, then lets say you want your work folder to be F:\Burn; you will proceed to decide what data to backup, and then you will have to partition that data in 4.3GB chunks (roughly the writeable size of a commercial DVD recordable, be it either DVD-r or DVD+r), this partitioned data will be copied/moved inside subfolders of F:\Burn, to which subfolders you will try to give descriptive names, which will be needed later on. But enough for the babbling, here’s an explicative image:

work folders
Some fictitious folders containing our data to be burnt; each folder must not contain more than 4.3GB each, or it won’t be possiblt to burn it on a single DVD recordable, there is no limit though to the subfolders of each folder, each DVD can contain the directory structure you prefer. Notice the buildiso.bat file, we will be needing it later on.


This kind of work can be long, espoecially if you have lots of material to backup, as you need to find the best way to fit everything on 4.3GB disks, but after this, all the job will be mostly done by your PC with very less intervention on your part.

Here it comes the part where you need to setup ImgBurn properly to adjust to the job; so open the application and go into Tools > Settings > Build pane

imgburn build options page 1
imgburn build options page 2
This is how I set the Build options for ImgBurn, unexperienced users may want to have their panels looking exactly like these to reproduce the results, what I do suggest you for better results is ticking the "Don’t Prompt DivX Video Settings" option, or you risk to get interruptions by ImgBurn asking stuff during the process instead of going by itself.


Then go to the Write pane:

imgburn write options
For the batch ISO write function of ImgBurn to work smooth you should set the options as reported here.


You have pretty much done your preparation job in ImgBurn, we now come to the buildiso.bat file you noticed before. Simply create said file containing the command: (be sure to select/copy the whole line, the text is most probably scrolled horizontally)

@for /d %%i in (*.*) do "e:\program files\tools\imgburn\imgburn.exe" /mode build /buildmode imagefile /src "%%i\" /dest "F:\Burn\%%i.iso" /FILESYSTEM "UDF" /UDFREVISION "2.01" /VOLUMELABEL "%%i" /rootfolder yes /noimagedetails /start /close

You simply need to replace the paths in the command with the proper paths, where first path (e:\program files…) is the full path to the imgburn.exe file, and the second one (F:\Burn\) is the path to the work folder you created. What this file does, is setting up ImgBurn to go through every folder in your work folder and create an ISO image file from it, respecting its subfolder tree, and using the folder name for the ISO file name, and the ISO image label (that’s why you’d better choose descriptive folder names). Some notes on the command: here I use a one-way UDF filesystem, revision 2.01 (not the latest one), why? Because it suits my needs, as I just make backup disks, so I don’t create DVD-Video disks (UDF-only is not good for that), plus if I want to write a file larger than 2GB on disk, this way I can, without the limitation of the other filesystems; I also chose not the latest revision of UDF, as I took my time to read the relative page on Wikipedia, and checked that revision 2.01 is what pretty much gives the best functions together with the largest drive compatibility. Note: the ISO files created this way won’t be correctly opened by 7zip (to cite one program), at least on my pc, but they will be correctly mounted using DaemonTools, so you can still extract files from them.

At this point, you need to batch build the ISO files with the bat file, so copy the buildiso.bat in the root of the directory containing the data folders and start it, you will notice ImgBurn will appear and will begin creating the first ISO, after which it will autoclose and proceed to the next one. Notice that you don’t really need to have data folders and bat file in the same work directory you chose to contain the ISO files. Given how the batch file works, you can have those folders (always together with the bat file) anywhere else, for example on an external USB drive, or even network folder (even if it’s not recommended for transfer-speed reasons), in the end the ISO files will be created anyway in the work directory you chose (F:\Burn in this example): this way you don’t need to copy the folders over to another drive, in case you have them already stored elsewhere, just be sure each folder contains only up to 4.3GB of stuff.

At the very end of this process you will have a bunch of big .iso files in the work directory, together with corresponding .mds files (for easiness of the procedure you can use Sort files by type in Windows Explorer and delete all the .mds files, I did in my case and it all worked perfectly), and those are the files you need to batch write using ImbBurn; at this point you can choose to delete the source folders in case you don’t plan to use the data afterwards, since you got the ISO files coming from them. So, open ImgBurn and go to Write mode or even choose Write image file to disk from the Ez-Mode picker menu, and press the button with the folder symbol overlapped by a plus sign, in the source section on the left of Please select a file…, and a menu to queue up ISO files to be burned will appear; here you only need to drag’n’drop the ISO files from the Windows Explorer window to the white space in the menu:

imgburn write queue dialog
Something like this will appear after you drag and drop the .iso files to the write queue. Let’s take a look at the downmost checkbox named "Delete the image when done"; it is a useful ufnction if you want to backup the data without keeping a copy on the hard disk. Just select from the list of ISO files the ones you do not want to keep on the hard disk, and then activate this checkbox: in my case I wanted to delete all ISO files after writing, so I selected them all and checked the box. The "start writing" button in the image is grayed out, since I had no blank DVD inserted at the time (it was just a demo for this guide after all), but when you do insert a blank DVD the button will be selectable.


When the queueing is done, just press the Write button in the queue window and the backup to DVD will start; all you will need to do at this point is mind your very own business until the tray gets ejected, and which point you take out the warm just burned DVD and put a new blank one inside, closing the tray; ImgBurn will start writing the next ISO file as soon as it detects the blank disk has been inserted, until all the ISO files have been burned. Enjoy.

7 thoughts on “How to use ImgBurn for batch build/create/burn ISO to backup to DVD”

  1. [commenti dal vecchio sito]
    [comments from old website]

    2010-01-23 18:53:47
    Strano, sei la prima persona che me lo dice… personalmente lo trovo molto leggibile, e considera che sono piuttosto schizzinoso riguardo ai colori.
    Per adesso lo lascio cosรฌ, poi cambiare mi costa solo il modificare un valore in un file CSS, se si “lamentano” altri visitatori non mancherรฒ di cercare una nuova combinazione ๐Ÿ˜‰
    2010-01-23 16:20:21
    il testo verde su nero fa molto matrix, ma รจ illeggibile . . stanca molto . . . .

  2. [commenti dal vecchio sito]
    [comments from old website]

    2009-08-06 21:19:46
    I do still appreciate your effort in keeping me up to date, and if YOU are willing to waste more time into this, I am 99% sure that AutoHotKey will be able to integrate your batch procedure in that they will detect the dialog popping up and press the button for you. Bue that’s even more syntax to dig into, so only makes sense if you’re a geeky curious guy and/or have TONSof dvds to burn at once ๐Ÿ˜‰
    2009-08-06 21:16:55
    Anyway, my kind of batch file creates ISOs with the same name of the folder name. Now, I am not suggesting anything special, but I am sure there’s a way in the dos batch to check IF EXISTS foldername.iso THEN GOTO skipbuild.
    Were I 7-8 years younger I would have found the will and time to do that, but now, being a dentist with the “technology tooth”, I yet have too little free time for this ๐Ÿ˜€
    2009-08-06 21:13:31
    d’oh? I never got any such dialogue box in the first place during my tests of batch processing, and I wonder if that’s because you’re going past the 4.3GB limit of normal DVDs and thus ImgBurn thinks you’re creating a dual layer ISO.
    2009-08-06 16:30:13
    Well it looks like that feature is one everyone wants but it’s not in the software. At least that’s what the forums say. I do have another request though. Is there a way to check to see if a directory is already been done? If you have a large directory and you have to restart the process you have to stop each of the ones you’ve already done. Maybe check for an ISO file already in the directory?
    2009-08-05 08:42:36
    If that’s the case, then there is either a checkbox in the settings or a switch in the commandline you have to activate to automatically respond yes or no. The only switch regarding layer is LAYERBREAK and it is reserved for Dual Layer dvds, which you are obviously now using, so I’d search for the exact message you get on IMGBURN forum… and let me know so I can update the guide ๐Ÿ™‚
    2009-08-05 04:05:31
    I’m using the newest version of imgburn and when it starts working on a directory I get a message about layer location and it waits for me to respond. Do you know where in the settings I can turn this off so it will continue to run?
    2009-08-02 10:06:43
    All you need to have the ISOs written on a different drive is to modify the batch file, run it in the parent directory where the folders are stored, but change F:\Burn to whatever you need. Also, you can have as many files and whichever size you want to create the ISO if you’re gonna leave it on the HD, no 4.3GB limit.
    2009-08-02 06:07:18
    Thanks for the tutorial but have a question. I’m kind of confused. Is there a way to have my movie files (source) on one drive but have the resulting ISO written to a different one? Also I don’t want this for burning to DVDs I just need it for my media player toplay the ISOs from a HDD. Do they still need to be under 4.3 GB?

  3. Hi Fajar
    during the batch process, it’s ImgBurn that lists the files inside the folders and adds them to the ISO, so I cannot really say whether hidden files are included or not by ImgBurn, you should check its forums.
    Anyway, allow me to voice my doubt about this… what are you trying to accomplish by burning hidden files? Security?
    If that’s the case, forget it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hidden files are perfectly visibile by anyone who’s just a little more savvy than bare basic. Maybe you want to use a little bit of stronger security and use truecrypt volumes instead.

  4. Hi Ephestione,
    thx a lot for the batch file. That’s what I was looking for. It works fine, even with films in BD folders after changing the UDF file system.


  5. I have been using the script bat file with your imgburn settings for a while. But today after several years I had to re-install windows, and re-install the imgburn software the buildiso.bat file wont work. Nothing has changed its he same directory structure from where I am running it from. I usually place mkv movie files into the root directory and run the build iso file to make a iso file of the movies.
    Now when I do it.. it just starts starts scanning the C:Windows\system32 drives and starts creating iso from every single directory in that drive.
    Can you help.. whats broken?

    1. I’ve not been using this script since about the publication of this article because I switched to external hard drives… Only thing that comes to mind is that maybe you installed a newer version of imgburn that will not be compatible with the script

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *