Create an ISO from a folder

ISO files can be useful for a variety of reasons, for example, attaching an ISO to a virtual machine can be a quick way to add resources to a virtual machine. Windows can access an ISO file, similarly to a Zip file, and sometimes it can be useful to make a simple ISO image from a folder.

Have you ever wanted to create an ISO file? ISO files can be very useful for a variety of reasons;

  • To compress folder content
  • To make it easy to transfer content to others
  • As a way to create a simple archive with a universal file type
  • Many other uses

The first thing you need to do is to install the Windows ADK.

Download the Windows ADK installer setup.exe directly from Microsoft download center: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=526740

Alternatively, the download web page is located here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/get-started/adk-install

The ADK can seem like overkill, just to make an ISO file. But, if you’re like me, you use the ADK for a lot of different tasks. Also, many of the other articles I write are based on the Windows ADK and its various functionality. Using ISCDIMG is probably the easiest way to make an ISO. Its so easy and additional options are available if I want to configure them, like making the image bootable, labeling the image, or other tasks.

You may want to get the OSCDIMG tools and use them on a different computer, or if you don’t want to use the ADK for anything except making an ISO, you can uninstall the ADK after you have the tools you need from it, which are only a few megabytes total.

OPTIONAL: After you have installed the ADK, copy the C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Deployment Tools\amd64\Oscdimg folder to a location for use to create ISO files, such as C:\OSCDIMG or something similar, if you plan to uninstall the ADK, otherwise if you plan to keep the ADK installed, you can just use it from its installed location.

After you have the Windows ADK installed, you can create an ISO from a file folder by following these steps; From an elevated ADK command shell (a regular elevated command line can also be used by navigating to the OSCDIMG directory)

Use OSCDIMG to create an ISO from a folder as shown in the following example;

  1. Open the Windows ADK command prompt environment as an administrator. You will find this located in the Start menu, Windows Kits folder –> Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment. Right-click this application and select More –> Run as Administrator. Accept the user access control if prompted.
  2. Type the command to build an ISO from a folder, similar to the following example;
OSCDIMG -u2 C:\SourceFolder C:\FileName.iso

That’s it. Now you should have an ISO. There are other options you can configure, but at its simplest, you can quickly create an ISO using this method.

I recommend giving the ISO a label incase you have some scripting which looks for volume label. This is totally optional, but here is an example including a label;

OSCDIMG -u2 C:\SourceFolder -lUSB-B C:\FileName.iso

In the example above, I have labeled my FileName.iso as USB-B because I use the same content from my USB-B scripting shown in another example script (check out my GitHubGist for more samples). The label switch does not expect a space before the label and I don’t recommend using space characters in the label name if at all possible.

You can find more details on OSCDIMG by entering the question mark after the command, then press Enter. Documentation for OSCDIMG can be found on the Microsoft website here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/oscdimg-command-line-options