I have an ISO file I want to use to install Windows 7 in VirtualBox. The problem is this file is not bootable. Is there any command line tool to make a non-bootable ISO file bootable?


The ISO file is a Windows 7 installation CD/DVD. I created a new virtual machine and attached the ISO file to the corresponding virtual CD/DVD reader device. I'm pretty sure I'm doing this step right because it worked just fine with another ISO file I have.

When I run the machine with this ISO file attached I see the "no bootable medium found" error.

I suspect the cause of the problem is that the ISO file I'm interested in is not bootable. When I run the file UNIX command to see the type of the file, this is the output:

file windows7.iso 
windows7.iso: ISO 9660 CD-ROM filesystem data 'CDROM'

However, if I run the same command agains the "good" ISO file it says "(bootable)":

file W7X64.OEM.ESD.en-US.Oct2016.iso 
W7X64.OEM.ESD.en-US.Oct2016.iso: ISO 9660 CD-ROM filesystem data 'W7X64.OEM.ESD.EN-US.OCT2016' (bootable)
  • 1
    Please try this links: askubuntu.com/questions/847834/…, and askubuntu.com/questions/409161/… May 30, 2017 at 6:02
  • I never made one I just downloaded the .ISO file from Windows and used it in my VM May 30, 2017 at 6:03
  • 2
    Have you checked that the iso file was downloaded correctly? A good Windows 7 iso file works directly in VirtualBox. It needs no special treatment. It is possible, but maybe a bit difficult to find a listed checksum (for example md5sum) for your iso file. An alternative is to find another version of the Windows 7 iso file, that has a matching checksum, and download it.
    – sudodus
    Jun 1, 2017 at 9:34

2 Answers 2

  • You may use the IMGBURN software (You need a windows for that). The software is free but will try to install some side softwares if you don't disable the options.
  • From a bootable win7 CD, copy the file etfsboot.com somewhere
  • From ImgBurn choose : Create CD from files and for the sources files, choose everything from your non-bootable iso. Selecting the root folder of the mounted iso shall do the job
  • Choose a destination file on your hard disk, eg : new.iso
  • On the Advanced Tab, choose Bootable disc :
  • For the bootimage, choose the file etfsboot.com you saved before
    • For Load Segment, type : 07C0
    • For Sectors to load, type : 8
  • Finally click on the build button and Yes on each dialog appearing (about 3 of them)

Your new iso should be good to boot.

  • I just tried this and it works! The file command now says the ISO file is bootable and it boots when I run the virtual machine. Is currently installing and it's going well so far. Thanks! Jun 8, 2017 at 5:16
  • Good :-) Happy it was useful :-)
    – jmary
    Jun 12, 2017 at 9:26

All virtualization solutions nowadays attempt to use hardware assisted virtualization, instead of software emulation solutions (binary translation). One of those hardware virtualization technologies is Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x). Although AMD supports its own virtualization technology (AMD-V), the basic processor virtualization extensions are named after Intel's solution. I would not like to go any further on virtualization theory and such, if you would like to read, this Wikipedia article is highly informational.

How to enable VT-x

There are two configurations you should perform if you would like to enable hardware assisted virtualization. Those are:

  • Thanks for the info. I didn't know all this. However, it seems is not related to the problem I'm having. Virtualization extensions were already enabled in my computer and VT-X was already enabled in the virtual machine. Jun 4, 2017 at 7:03
  • This answer has exactly nil to do with making a windows 7 cd bootable.
    – vidarlo
    Jun 4, 2017 at 10:05

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