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How To Boot A Windows 7 Computer From a CD/DVD

written by: Gabriele•edited by: Brian Nelson•updated: 3/8/2011

Booting from a disc is sometimes necessary when you want to run repair or password recovery tools. You’ll also need to boot from a disc if you are planning to reinstall Windows 7 or to use some troubleshooting tools. Read on to learn how to easily boot from a CD or DVD.

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    Boot Your Windows 7 Computer From a CD

    There are different reasons you may want to boot from a CD or DVD drive in Windows 7. Perhaps you are having trouble with your Windows 7 Boot Manager or you want to re-install after installing Windows 7 from a USB drive didn't work out correctly.

    Learning how to boot from a CD or DVD in Windows 7 is very easy. Follow the simple steps described below to boot your Windows 7 computer from a bootable DVD or CD disc:

    1. Change boot settings in BIOS

    Some computers are already configured to boot from a CD/DVD, but many are not. If your computer is not configured to boot from a CD/DVD, it will boot from the hard drive, ignoring the disc in the DVD drive or CD-ROM Drive. Follow the steps described below to change the boot setting to boot your computer from a disc

    a. Turn on or restart your PC and watch the screen for a message that says press Del key to enter BIOS setup. Usually it is the Del key, but it can also be F1 or F2 key. You will have to press the key as soon as you see the message on the screen. If you don’t, Windows will start loading and you will have to restart your PC to press the key again.

    b. When you are in the BIOS setup, locate the menu or configuration item for changing the boot order.

    All BIOS setups are different, yours may look like shown in the right image or it may look different. When you have located boot bios boot menu configuration setting, you will see that all the hardware connected to your computer like floppy dive, optical drive, USB drive and hard drive are listed there. The device that is on the top of the list is the first one the computer tries to boot from. But if that device is not bootable or not available, BIOS then tries to boot from the next bootable/available device in the list.

    c. Change the boot order in a way that optical drive is on the top of the list. Follow the directions on the BIOS setup to change the boot order. Usually the boot order can be changed using the – and + keys.

    Note: Your BIOS may have a different name for optical drive, such as CD Drive, DVD drive or disc drive

    2. Insert your bootable Windows 7 CD or DVD into your optical drive.

    3. If you are finished with changing the boot order, follow the directions on the BIOS setup to save the new setting and then exit the program. Your computer will be restarted

    4. Watch the screen for “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD" or a similar message, then hit the Enter key or Space bar.

    Note: You will have to press the key within the few seconds when the message is on the screen. If you don’t, your PC will attempt to boot from the next available drive, which will probably be the hard drive. Some bootable discs don’t prompt for a key press and will start immediately. In this case, ignore this step.

    Your computer will now boot from the optical disc, and the Windows 7 setup program will begin.

    In case you have followed the above steps and your computer still does not boot from the CD/DVD, you can recheck the boot order in BIOS. If your computer has more than one optical drive, insert the bootable disc in the other drive, restart your computer and then try again.