Burning a .iso file

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Now that you have downloaded your .iso file there are a few steps that are needed to make it into a bootable CD. The method is essentially: download a .iso image of the PCLinuxOS system, check it for errors, burn it to a fresh CD and then boot your computer from the latter.


Check Your Downloaded ISO file

You will need:

 1. The completed downloaded .iso file
 2. The small md5sum file.


  • Open a console window
  • type md5sum <name_of_the_file.iso> Example: md5sum pclinuxos-kde-2010.12.iso
  • compare the result with the content of the .md5sum file

For more detailed information see: md5sum checking


In MS-Windows you have to install an additional program to check your downloaded ISO file. There are many programs you can find by searching with Google.

Here are a couple of Free (open source) programs:


For more detailed information see: md5sum checking

What if it Fails the Check?

Md5sum checking might fail

1. If your download was damaged during transmission; solution is to download the file again. Consider getting PCLinuxOS using BitTorrent, because BitTorrent will automatically check your download as you're downloading it.

2. Less likely, you have defective memory. In this case you can expect to get a different and incorrect checksum everytime you check the ISO file. You'll have to replace the defective memory card before proceeding.

Burn ISO File to CD


If you're running any sort of recent Linux distribution, your file manager will probably "know" about the .iso file type and will do something appropriate with it. For example if you're running a KDE-based system, run Konqueror and locate the .iso file, right click on it and one of the options will be "Open with K3B" (which is KDE's CD burning program). K3B carries out its own MD5 check on the way in - one last chance to check that the md5 checksum matches! Then it's a matter of following the steps (including entering a DVD or CD into your drive) and clicking "Start". The only possible variations might be to ask for the media to be checked against the original file (there's a tick box for this) and to slow down the writing speed for a more guaranteed clean write.


There are various Windows programs for burning CD/DVDs. Many systems come with something pre-installed (try right clicking the ISO file to find out). If not:

1. Try the free ImgBurn program. This supports Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista (including all the 64-bit versions). Or

2. Another Free ISO burning application is Windows Active-ISO Burner. This supports burning to CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+R DL(Dual Layer), DVD-RW and DVD+RW - for Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista.

Dos and Don'ts

  • Make sure you have a good .iso file before you burn an image to a CD. Refer to the Checking your download page.
  • A .iso file is not a usable file. It is an image of a CD or DVD and is only useful to burn to a disk.
  • In some Windows setups, Winrar is associated with .iso files. Do not use Winrar on .iso files. Do not unrar the ISO image or extract files in any other way from the ISO file.
  • Do not just copy the .iso file directly to a CD. Follow these instructions carefully to turn the image into a bootable PCLinuxOS CD.
  • Burn at a moderate speed. With cheap CDs, sometimes the indicated speed is the read speed and not the write speed. Just because it says it can do 52x doesn't mean it can actually write at 52x with good results. And even if your burner can burn at 52x, that doesn't make it a good idea. At the same time, don't go VERY slow, modern media won't like that either. 8-12x is quite fast enough! You'll get a better burn.
  • When you burn your CD, make sure your burning software verifies the burn afterwards.
  • Rewritable media is often better. Remember, the next version of the ISO will be out a few months down the line...
  • Don't keep repeating something that doesn't work. If your CD/DVD won't work properly, review what you did and make sure it's right. If it was right, then reburn on a different brand/type of media (and never buy the failing one again).
  • Also, just because it is advertised as a CD image, doesn't mean you can't use a DVD. They're fairly cheap these days, and will actually spin a lot more quietly during your install and generally are of higher quality. Rewritable DVDs are great for this sort of job.
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