Creating an Autorun CD

Welcome to my very first TechsTalk tutorial. I have decided to do the tutorials in a series-style, with each series dedicated to various tasks and projects related to a certain area of technology. The first series will focus on data manipulation. This will include storing and accessing your data, data transfer, changing formats, file extension compatibilities, and a final “do-it-yourself” mini-project so you can gauge how well you grasped the content.

At the end of the page you will find images of the autorun.inf text, InfraRecorder screen, MagicIso screen, and the autorun dialog box.

In this first tutorial, we will learn how to take a downloaded program on your computer and turn it into an installation CD or DVD. If you wish to follow along with this tutorial yourself, you will need the following:

  • Internet connection (obviously, you are reading this tutorial, aren’t you?)
  • A blank CD or DVD (the specific +/-/R/RW doesn’t matter)
  • A program setup file (it will have the *.exe extension)
  • A CD or DVD burner
  • Notepad
  • ISO image writing software
  • MagicIso

The materials needed for the tutorial can be downloaded at DMVShore. I own this website and am simply using it to host the files for direct download. All files are guaranteed tested and safe.

The program we will be working with is called InfraRecorder. It is completely open source (free) and released under the Gnu Public License. You can download the program at InfraRecorder . This program is one of the best, in my opinion, for burning ISO images to CDs and DVDs because of its flexibility and ease of use. Go ahead and install it once you download it.

MagicIso is used to take certain files and create an ISO image from them, which can in turn be burned to a CD or DVD as one file instead of multiple files. It is a major ease of use factor when dealing with larger programs. It can be found at MagicIso .

Getting on with the tutorial, we will start with some basic definitions:

ISO Image: This is basically the entire archived contents of a CD (the disk image) suitable for storage on a computer and for transfer via electronic means instead of shipping a CD.

Exe File: This file is an executable file that runs an application. The two you are most common with are installation *.exe files and program execution *.exe files. One installs the program, one runs it after it has been installed.

Autorun.inf: This file is a file that is read by Windows which tells it “as soon as you read this CD, run this file”

Ok, first thing is first. We will be using InfraRecorder 0.5.2. Either download the file from the website, or from the files package. It is small (only 3.90MB) so we don’t spend a lot of time on downloads and writing the CD.

This is the *.exe file that we will be using to create the CD and ISO image. Any time you put the CD in, Windows will automatically start the setup application for the program. To do that, Windows needs a file telling it what application to open and where that application is. This is where we will write the autorun.inf file.

To write the autorun.inf file:

  1. Open notepad or your preferred text editor (not a word processor like MS Word!)
  2. On the first line, type “[autorun]” without the quotes
  3. One the second line, type “open=ir052.exe” without the quotes
  4. This is optional. On the third line, type “icon=iricon.ico” without the quotes
  5. Save the file as “autorun.inf”

The first line just says “this is an autorun file”

The second line says “this is the file I want you to automatically run”

The third line says “this is the system icon you should use instead of the default CD/DVD icon”

A *.ico file is simply an image (JPEG, PNG) with a *.ico extension to signify that it is to be used as a system icon.

Now we are going to open up the MagicIso program, again you can either download and instal it from the site or with the tutorial package. Browse the file tree on the lower left and find your ir052.exe, your irico.icon, and your autorun.inf. Drag them to the file box on the top right of the program. On the left side, right-click on the file name and rename it to “InfraRecorder” or whatever you like.

Navigate to the toolbar at the top and click the save button to save the image. Name it “IR052”, or whatever you prefer, and save it to your desktop so we can quickly access it (it should do this by default). If you navigate to your desktop, you will now see a CD icon titled “IR052”. If you double click on it, it will simply open up MagicIso to allow you to use their program. You can do this if you like, however the scope of this tutorial will cover InfraRecorder.

Open up your InfraRecorder program. The lower left-most button should say “Write Image”. Select this option. In the file window, navigate to your desktop and select the “IR052.iso”. It will bring up an option box for the burn process. Most of the time, and unless you know what you are doing, you should leave the default options. Select the appropriate drive if you have more than one, and click “Ok”. Let the image burn to the disk, take it out, label it, and you now have your very own InfraRecorder installation disk!

Common Mistakes:

  • Make sure the ir052.exe matches exactly to the filename in the autorun.inf or it will not work
  • Don’t sweat it if the image does not show up correctly – system icons can be VERY picky
  • The autorun CD will work fine without an icon, or the “icon=iricon.ico” in the autorun.inf
  • Your system configurations may prevent the CD from executing the autorun. If so, check your control panel settings.

As always, the tutorial is up for discussion, feel free to contact me via the forum with any questions, issues, or concerns. Thanks for reading!

I am a web designer and a computer/CE technician. I am fluent in HTML and CSS, though not so much in PHP, JS, and traditional programming languages. I live in Maryland - you don't need to know anything more than that :) Feel free to contact me on Skype. It goes to my iPhone, so I usually respond fairly quickly unless I'm asleep. I have a backwards schedule, and do most of my work at night, however you can usually catch me in the morning or late evening.

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