How to Create an ISO Image from Your Operating System

Posted by @Cody

October 12, 2018

In this article, you will learn how to create a customized bootable ISO version of your current Windows system with your office and other installed programs included. You can carry this ISO image to a new PC and start where you left off.

Main advantages of using ISO image

It is very important to create backups of your operating system in case of computer issues. If the backup is ISO image format, then it is super convenient to restore or employ on other devices. When your system crashes or data get lost, you can quickly roll back to the state where the ISO was taken.

Compared with other image backup format, ISO image format backup has quick a few advantages.

1. The ISO image itself is bootable so you can use it to restore your PC when you have boot issues.

2. It is easy to deploy on another PC.

3. It does not rely on backup tools or cloud.

4. You can view its content by mounting it as a virtual drive. (in Windows 8/8.1/10, you double-click it to mount it).

5. You run the ISO image on a virtual machine.

Create Windows 10 ISO from the current installation

Windows 10 has built-in feature DISM that allows you to capture Windows image under recovery environment. To use it, you need a Windows 10 recovery media or installation disk. With that prepared, you can follow the steps below to capture Windows 10 recovery image .

1. Boot your PC from the recovery media or installation media.

2. If you boot from the installation disc, then you can press Shift + F10 at Windows Setup screen to bring out command prompt. If you boot from recovery media, then select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.

3. Type the following command and press Enter.

“dism /Capture-Image /CaptureDir:C:\/ImageFile:D:\windows10\install.wim /Name:windows10 /description:2018-01-10

Note: the drive letter may change under recovery mode, so the Windows installation drive may not be C: drive. You need to replace location path “D:\windows10” in ImageFile switch with the target location path where you want to save the custom image. You may also need to replace drive letter C in capturedir switch with Windows system partition.

Capture Reset Image

This process might take a while and you cannot turn off the PC during the time. This image file can be used to reset Windows 10 PC. To make it as a bootable ISO image, follow the steps below:

4. Open Windows 10 installation disc in File Explorer. Copy its contents and paste to a folder on your internal or external hard drive. For example, copy them to a folder named “iso-files” located on D: drive. You can also mount a Windows 10 ISO and copy its content.

5. Copy the custom image install.wim created before to the Source folder and replace the original one.

6. Download and install the latest Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10. You only need to select Deployment Tools to install.

Deployment Tools

7. Run the command following command on an elevated command prompt.

oscdimg.exe -m -o -u2 -udfver102 -bootdata:2#p0,e,b[path of the iso-files]\boot\etfsboot.com#pEF,e,b[path of the iso-files]\efi\microsoft\boot\efisys.bin [path of the iso-files][new location to save the iso image of the current windows]

The command is kind of complicated. To make it easy, you can also use free tool as Folder2ISO to create an ISO image out of the folder you created in step 4.

Create an ISO image in Windows 7

In Windows 7, you can use built-in feature Backup and Restore to create image backup of your Windows 7 of hard drive. You can restore it or mount it as a virtual drive. However, it is VHD formatted instead of ISO.

For regular users who do not need to backup data constantly and do not have many data to be backed up, Windows 7 Backup and Restore is enough. For users who need advanced backup and restore experience, you can use free Windows backup software AOMEI Backupper Standard.

You can use it protect any volumes detected by Windows instead of only NTFS, and you can have more scheduled backup tasks instead of only one.

To create image backup from your operating system with AOMEI Backupper

1. Download and install this free backup software.

2. Select System Backup under Backup Tab.

System Backup

3. To make the steps easier, the program will automatically include required partitions for a full system restore. Just click Step 2 to pick a destination location to store the image backup.

Set Backup

4. Click Schedule to configure when you want the backup to run if needed. After that, click Start Backup to start the backup.

After the backup is done, you can create a bootable media with a USB drive or CD/DVD. In the event of system unbootable, you can use it to boot all versions of Windows 10/8/7 to restore your PC. 

As mentioned, backing up your computer is important. You can create ISO image from your operating system or create custom system image backup with AOMEI Backupper. All in all, the usage of ISO image is wider, but you need much more effort to create one. What’s worse, you need to this all over again if you want to update the ISO image.

If you use AOMEI Backupper, you can set up a scheduled backup and it will automatically keep your image backup up to date. With its incremental and differential backup feature, you can have multiple image backup versions with a little disk space.