Friday, May 25, 2012

Burning an ISO Image in Windows

How To: Burning an ISO Image with Windows 7 and above.

Vendors may distribute software with a downloadable "ISO" image -- an image of a CD/DVD. The downloaded file will have an .ISO extension and is often of substantial size.

You cannot copy the file directly to a CD/DVD and expect to use it. Instead, it must be expanded (somewhat like a ZIP file) and it must be written to the disk using software.

Starting with Windows Vista and newer, you can burn the file directly from the operating system without a third-party product.  With Windows XP, you had to either purchase or find freeware software to do, with my favorite being the free "Windows XP:".

In other words, Microsoft finally provided a utility that should have been part of the operating system.  As you will see below, the program has shameful rough edges and lacks other expected features  -- but the process works well enough to accomplish the basic goal.

Related article:  Burn ISO Image menu is missing


Provided you are on Windows Vista or newer, the disk can be written directly from the ISO; no additional software is required. The process is easy and without frills.

1. Download and store the ISO to a known location on any drive.

2. Insert a blank CD or DVD. When Windows prompts to write files to the disk, dismiss the dialog.

3. With Windows Explorer,

Locate the .ISO file.
"Other-mouse-click" (right mouse) the ISO file.
Choose"Burn disk Image".
Using "Verify" is unnecessary for most burns.
The disk will automatically start burning.

When done, Windows will announce the disk is ready.

From Explorer, the disk will contain various files and directories -- exactly as the original CD looked when the image was first built by the vendor.  Total burn time varies, depending on the size and complexity of the original disk.

Issues and Missing Features

Oddly, there will not be a progress bar while burning, but at the very end, the bar will show 100%, which is less than helpful.

The CD/DVD drive may be noisy with whirring and other mechanical sounds for the first minute but it should be smoother and quieter as the burn progresses.  Be sure the blank cd/dvd is free of fingerprints and is centered in the tray when inserted; both can cause noise as the disk tries to recover.  If the drive continues to be noisy, I would eject the disk and try another. 

On Windows 7 I have noticed the desktop locks up for the first few minutes of the burn.  You may not be able to open or use other programs.  Be patient. 

You cannot choose the burn-speed.  Many, including the author, prefer to burn at slower speeds - for more reliable burns, but you do not have a choice.  With this said, I've not had problems burning disks so this may be old news.

Windows task manager will show a task, "ISOBurn.exe", which is a command-line utility.

Mounting the ISO image as a Drive Letter

Windows XP through 7 cannot mount an ISO as a virtual disk, with its own drive letter, without using third-party software. I recommend looking at "'s free Virtual CloneDrive".  The vendor has an extensive list of of other interesting CD/DVD programs.

For inexplicable reasons, every other operating system allows you mount the ISO file as a drive, without having to actually write a physical disk, but Microsoft left this feature out.  All other operating systems can mount ISO files and with this you can retrieve individual files without having to waste a plastic-disk. 

Starting with Windows 8, it automatically can open an ISO as a drive letter (at least when downloaded and opened with IE), or you can use a less-than-elegant PowerShell command-line can mount the drive but you can't pick which drive letter is assigned and you can't browse to the ISO file.  In other words, this is not something I would show my Mom:

Rough instructions:
a)  Launch Powershell as Administrator.
b) Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:\data\downloads\myfile.iso"

Remarkably, you cannot choose the drive letter.  It starts at the bottom of the alphabet and moves up. For most, check drive Z:.
To unmount, use
Dismount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:\data\downloads\myfile.iso"

With Windows 8.1, you can mount the ISO as a drive (drive letter) by other-mouse-clicking the ISO, choosing "Mount as a virtual drive".

Making a CD/DVD Image Bootable

Many ISO disks are bootable.  This must be imbedded in the original ISO source, from the vendor.  You cannot make the ISO file bootable after-the-fact. 

If the disk is expected to boot, but does not, the issue is likely with your local machine's BIOS.  Make sure the bootorder is set to boot the DVD before the hard disk and you need to press a key (usually F2 or F10) at the BIOS-screen when booting.  Contact your computer/motherboard manufacturer for details on how to set the BIOS properly. 

Building your own ISO file

If you want to build an ISO file, you will have to use a purchased, third-party product, such as Roxio, Nero or others.  Likely, the Roxio software that came with your computer will not burn the file without upgrading to the vendor's full-priced product.  I have had no recent experience with these products, but would probably recommend the relatively expensive Roxio, by Corel Software.

There are other shareware products on the net, but I have not had experience.  Reader comments are welcome.

Related articles: 
Keyliner: Burn ISO Image menu is missing
Keyliner: Burned Audio CD do not play in Car or Stereo

Sunday, May 20, 2012

WordPerfect - Setting Default Tabs at 1/4 inch

Howto: Set WordPerfect's default tab stops to 1/4 of an inch; much tighter than the default 1/2 inch. 

Set a default tab (ruler-bar) for this and all new documents. By default, tab stops are every 1/2 inch -- which is too wide. Set the tab-settings every 1/4" inch. This also sets a handy Margin Release. This same screen can set a default font, widows and orphans, and other default settings.

This article is a subset of a longer Keyliner article: Using WordPerfect for School Papers.

Setting Tabs:
1.  From any (blank) document, choose top menu Format, Styles: Choose "DocumentStyle"

2.  Click Edit to open the "Style Editor"

Important:  Confirm "[x] Use as default" is checked in the lower-right corner

3.  Click the mouse in the "Contents" text-section

4.  Choose sub-menu, Format, Line, TabSet

5.  Confirm Tab Type = Left

6.  Change Tab Position to -0.5 (negative point 5)

7.  Click box [x] Repeat every .25 (point 25)

8.  Click "Set", then Close.
(Note in the Reveal Codes a new "TabSet".  There should only be one TabSet code; delete any duplicates or older codes you may find before making the new tab-setting.)

Also Recommended:

While in the same Contents Text box, you can also set these recommended settings:
  • Default Font
  • Default Font Size
  • Widow and Orphan Protection (Keep Text Together)
End results look like this:

Click for larger view

Margin Release Example:

Notice how tab stops are set 1/2" to the left of the Left margin (-.5) -- this is called a "Margin Release." Often, in a paper, a Hanging Header is needed. With this setting, you can quickly type a bolded title that "sticks out past the margin" without having to fiddle with the ruler-bar or with margins.

Click illustration for a larger view; click right-x to return

To use the Margin Release:
  • At the beginning of a paragraph, press Shift-Tab to hang the heading. Press shift-tab a second time to go one more stop to the left.

Related articles:
Using WordPerfect for School Papers
Protect Text Across Page Breaks
Hanging Indents past Left Margin
WordPerfect Sets Tabs in White Space

WordPerfect Inserts Tab on Mouse Click

Howto: Stop WordPerfect from inserting a tab when mouse-clicking in white areas of a paper.

By default, WordPerfect has the mouse set to "Active" in WhiteSpace.  If you click the mouse in any white-space, WP will insert tabs in order to get the editing cursor to the position clicked.

This is, of course, the dumbest and most irritating setting imaginable.

Here is how to fix it.  This works in all versions of WordPerfect for Windows and makes the word processor behave more naturally.  This article is a subset of a more involved Keyliner article, "Using WordPerfect for School Papers."

Make this one-time change to WordPerfect's preferences.

Set the Cursor "Active in text"
  • In menu, Tools, Settings, Display
  • Select the first tab, [Documents]
  • Mark "Active in Text"
  • Click OK and close the preference screens


Related articles:
Using WordPerfect for School Papers
Protect Text Across Page Breaks
Hanging Indents past Left Margin
Setting Default Tabs at 1/4 inch

Saturday, May 12, 2012

WordPerfect Problem - Nothing is selected to be published - PDF

WordPerfect Problem - Printing a large document, "Publish to PDF" -- printing a range of pages, fails with error "Nothing is selected to be published"

  • Large, document with Master and Subdocuments (Chapters)
  • Master Document is expanded; all sub-documents visible
  • PDF Page Range is a range beyond page 1 -- such as pages 161-248
This appears to be a bug in WordPerfect Version's 8 - through at least version X8

Possible Solution:

Insert a dummy single-page document at the front of the range.  For example, I have been using

Page Range:  1,161-248

Where you will print Page 1, plus pages 161-248.  Note the comma and hyphen.  I noted that my first chapter, pages 1-160 did not exhibit this problem -- noting page 1.  I suspect you could pick another page, such as "2,".

Unclear why:

Suspect the front pages of the document are numbered with  page-numbers, such as i, ii, x, etc., then page-numbers start with Roman numbers 1,2,3...   However, this is just a conjecture.

It does not appear that my master document is corrupted.  I did note this problem started when I edited pages in the master document (but not pages in the sub-documents). 

I also have a vague idea:  If you are re-printing the same PDF document, try giving it a different name (e.g. TEST.PDF).  I had success with this, but found I liked the 1,xxx-xxx method better.  If the added page bothers you, use a PDF editor to remove it in post-processing.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

An interesting article on scaling Vector icons for various-sized devices: