How to write an ISO image with XCDRoast…

It may sound like a dumb question, since X-CD-Roast is a GUI tool for writing files and images, but it’s logic is so user-unfriendly and unnatural that in reality it’s not at all simple to create a CD or DVD from ISO using this app.

Ok, so how do you write an ISO image with XCDRoast?

One might wonder – if XCDRoast is so convoluted why use it at all? Unfortunately X CD Roast is the only CD/DVD writer available as a standard, out of the box package on XFCE 4 so those of us who don’t want to install the new KDE-4 (because it is bloatware!) are stuck with it. Oh well… the way I see it – better get used to one annoying app than an entire window manager… 🙂 So I bite the bullet and use xcdroast with xfce4. Aside from this annoying little app xfce has pretty decent selection of tools and the entire manager works smooth and fast and is nothing like the slow, huge, bloated “new” kde4!

1. If possible start XCDRoast as root. Not that it doesn’t have a “user” mode, but… just run it as root if possible and save yourself some of the hassle.
2. On the first screen click the Setup button, then the “HD Settings” tab and add the directory where your INPUT ISO is to the list of Temporary Storage Directories. YES, I know, it is DUMB – they should have provided a separate location for input ISOs or a way of browsing and interactively selecting the source ISO file at time of burning but that’s how it works.

3. Click OK – this will bring you back to the Main GUI.

4. Click on Create CD/DVD (not on Duplicate CD/DVD). This is yet another dumb decision, since most normal people would associate burning a CD or DVD based on an image file with “duplicating” the source disk…

5. After clicking on Create CD/DVD your main cdroast window should look like this:

Your ISO file should appear in the right list-box (Image-Information).

Honestly folks, I have not seen a worse Linux app (in terms of GUI design and organization) than XCDRoast so I just need to vent off a little here 🙂 Here is yet another confusing software design decision – the buttons at the left are sort-of a wizard but not really… They are supposed to be clicked in sequence – first get the CD/Image info, then Verify tracks, then Write the tracks, but in reality none of them work as expected (by most sane users anyway) so what you want to do here is ignore all the other buttons and just click Write Tracks. Not only do they not work as expected – most of them shouldn’t be here in the first place. Why are “Read Tracks” and Verify Tracks” here at all? In the Main menu we’ve already selected Create CD/DVD, not Duplicate CD/DVD, so obviously we will not be copying a CD but creating one from scratch! So the above two functions should not be here at all as they are related to reading and verifying info from a source CD/DVD.

6. Click on Write Tracks. Your ISO file should still be present in the left listbox. Select it and click the Add button. This should make the ISO file appear also in the left listbox and become greyed-out in the right box. This means that XCDRoast now knows that you want to write the CD as an Image and it is a tricky part as if you don’t do this it will simply copy the ISO to the DVD and instead of having a copy of the source ISO you will have a CD or DVD with the contents – the ISO file in the main directory.

7. Click the big “Accept track layout” button at the bottom. This will switch the tab from Layout tracks to “Write tracks”.

8. In the Write parameters section of XCDRoast make sure you’ve selected the correct medium params, matching your blank. I also recommend in Write Mode select “Track-At-Once (TAO)” – for some reason the DAO mode destroys my blanks. TAO works fine every time. Below I have given the settings I use (including the Advanced options).

That’s it. Easy, huh? 😉

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