Windows Server 2008: How to Burn a CD/DVD on Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008: How to Burn a CD/DVD on Windows Server 2008 R2

 This topic is a how to.
Please keep it as clear and simple as possible. Avoid speculative discussions as well as a deep dive into underlying mechanisms or related technologies.

(what is this box?)

Windows Server 2008 R2 machines allow only the localsystem\administrator account permission to burn a CD/DVD on the local machine. All other accounts are treated per the “remote desktop” security restrictions. Therefore, unless you are logged in as localsystem\administrator you won't even see a Burn CD/DVD tab.

How to burn a CD/DVD:

Choice A: Desktop Experience Pack

  1. Install the Desktop Experience feature to add the Burn CD/DVD tab and several other tools from the Windows 7 client.

To install the Desktop Experience pack:

  • Open Server Manager: click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and click Server Manager.
    • NOTE: You can also open Server Manager by typing the following at a command prompt: servermanager.msc
  • In the Features Summary section, click Add features.
  • Select the Desktop Experience check box, and then click Next.
  • Complete the wizard by clicking Install.

The Desktop Experience pack includes:

  • Windows Media Player
  • Desktop themes
  • Video for Windows (AVI support)
  • Windows SideShow
  • Windows Defender
  • Disk Cleanup
  • Sync Center
  • Sound Recorder
  • Character Map
  • Snipping Tool

Choice B: Command line tools

There are two command-line Microsoft tools you can download.  However, installing and using these require local administrator privileges, once you do that, you can go ahead and use the built-in tools. They are:

  • oscdimg.exe — use it to create and ISO image from your files. Install this tool from [[Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK)]].
  • cdburn.exe / dvdburn.exe — use it to burn your ISO image to CD/DVD (respectively). Install these tools from these Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. NOTE: even though the resource kit version is Windows Server 2003, these tools work if you have the required permissions on Windows Server 2008 R2.

Choice C: Third Party Tools

Use a third-party tool.* Example: ImgBurn (

Choice D: Use Flash Drive Instead

Use a USB flash drive instead. You can even boot and Install OS from USB Flash!

Choice E: Change Security Settings

Change the security defaults (e.g. security restrictions for “remote desktop” users or treat locally looged users in a different way).

* (please add links to a couple of examples you have used successfully).

Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
  • So how does one allow more than the administrator to burn CDs on 2K8 R2?

  • I installed the desktop experience on a Hyper-V guest Windows 2008 R2 server and could not burn a CD. Message is "Windows can't read the dies in drive D:\". Does this not work on Hyper-V guests?

  • The isoburn.exe tool presents already in windows 2008 r2 installation... For burning ISO image it's not necessary to download and install windows 2003 RKTools for using cdburn/dvdburn.exe.

  • Followed instructions in Choice A, on a vanilla install of 2008 r2 Web. "Windows can't read the disc in Drive D:\". Will post again if I can find the proper instructions.

  • Additionally to steps in Choice A, I had to run explorer.exe elevated. Careful! Because explorer.exe is also running in the background for the task bar and alike, simply launching a new instance of explorer.exe won't wont. Instead, start the Windows Task Manager. Open the start menu, and in the area right of the Loggoff button, hold ctrl+shift and click with right mouse button to open a hidden menu. Choose "Exit Explorer" in this hidden menu. Notice how the task bar goes away. Go back to Windows Task Manager, and check "Show processes from all users" under the Processes tab to ensure Task Manager itself elevates. Choose in the menu "File" and "New Task (Run...)". Check "Create this task with administrative privileges", and type explorer.exe then click OK. Notice how the task bar comes back. Careful! Now ALL of explorer.exe is running with admin privileges. This is necessary because explorer.exe lacks the capability to spawn an elevated process when it launches the burn operation.

    Now you can burn, in particular you can burn .iso images to CD or DVD.

  • as always, Microsoft thinks it understand the user more than himself, if they say you don't need it then you don't need it. period.

Page 1 of 1 (6 items)