A bootable CD is a storage device that allows a computer to boot into an operating system. This removable media skips the computer’s hard drive, depending on the BIOS settings. It is also known as a startup disc, boot disc, master disc, or system disc.
A user can troubleshoot a computer by copying files with a bootable disc when it breaks down. The computer should have built-in software that can execute a program from the boot disc meeting specific criteria.
While most current computers start with an operating system from the hard drive, bootable CDs also come in handy for loading and running an operating system or utility program when the internal hard drive fails to load.
The bootable CD media can be in different forms, including magnetic, paper, or tape drives, USB flash drives, and CD-ROMs, which are the most popular. The CD-ROM or floppy is often a read-only storage device for temporary files, while other media, like USB drives and zip drives, come in writeable format.
Bootable CDs may contain a small utility operating system or a complete operating system, along with data recovery tools. However, they have declined in usage because device manufacturers now use hard drive partitions to store recovery data.
What can I do with a bootable CD?
You can use a bootable CD to boot a computer into an operating system or troubleshoot a computer when it breaks down.
What types of media can be used as bootable devices?
The most popular media for bootable devices are CD-ROM and floppy disks, but magnetic, paper, or tape drives and USB flash drives may also be utilized.
Why have bootable CDs declined in usage?
Device manufacturers have started using hard drive partitions to store recovery data, eliminating the need for bootable CDs to some extent.
Bootable CDs remain a useful tool for loading an operating system or running a utility program when the internal hard drive fails to load. While USB flash drives and hard drive partitions have taken over as the preferred method of recovery data storage, bootable CDs still serve an important purpose.