Windows 8 is coming around the corner, and many users are considering installing the preview to one of their older machines in order to give it a test drive. For many of us, this means burning a disc from another machine. Believe it or not, there are ways to create a bootable installation DVD for Windows directly on a Mac. This would enable you to take the disc to your other machine, or pass it on to a friend (as long as it’s a distributable version of Windows and not some pirated copy).

Microsoft uses .ISO formats to distribute downloadable copies of its operating system. Buying a license and downloading the image format directly from Microsoft means having to burn a disc of your own, unless you prefer using a bootable USB drive.

You can do this from a Mac very easily. Here’s how.

  • Insert a blank writable DVD into your Mac’s SuperDrive.
  • When/if the option screen appears, choose to open it in Disk Utility.
  • If the option doesn’t appear, don’t worry.
  • Open Finder and locate the image file for Windows.
  • Right-click the image file and select Open With, then Disk Utility
  • This should add the image file to the list on the left side of the Disk Utility window.
  • Right-click the Windows image and select Burn.
  • Select Burn again when the option window drops down.
  • Right-click the Windows image and select Burn.

Note: The disc will only be bootable if the image is set up that way. Not all images translate to a bootable DVD, so check to make sure you have the right type of image file first.

Once the DVD has burned and verified, you should be able to take it and use it with any other system you have laying around. This is a great way to reinstall Windows on a machine with a broken or missing optical drive, or which has suffered some catastrophic nightmare. Keep in mind that your license for Windows is restricted to a particular hash (type of Windows distribution), so you have to make sure you are using the correct (and legal) Windows disc for your particular license.

Microsoft has made great strides since the early days, and being able to purchase and download Windows entirely online makes it much easier to set up a new PC or upgrade an existing one.

If you have any questions regarding Windows or OS X, please ask them in the comments area below and we’ll try our best to get them answered for you.