I know that in Windows I was able to format blank cd-r to work as USB so I'm wondering if I can still do that even though they have corrupted iso images burned onto them. (Right now I'm in Ubuntu)

I'm using k3b to burn the images and both times I tried, the installation wouldn't complete because of problems with the disk. So now I have two useless debian installation disks lying around and I don't know how many more tries this is going to take. I'd like to be able to do at least something with them so I'm not just stacking up ruined cd-rs one after the other.

4 Answers 4


If they are CD-R they are most likely done. If they are CD-RW they can be re-blanked and you can start over.

The "almost" for CD-R only applies if you burned it as multi-session and did not close the disk. In that case you can write a new data track and override the current file system.

Before you write a new CD, verify the md5 sum of the image with the one of the website you downloaded it from. If they don't match, redownload it because it won't work properly.

You mentioned USB so if you are trying to boot the image on a USB stick, you can write it to a stick with dd, e.g.

 # dd if=file.iso of=/dev/USB-STICK-DEVICE

but just make sure you have the right device or you will clobber data in a bad way (that write goes straight to the device and will obliterate the partition table).

There are other ways to make a bootable USB from a bootable ISO but that quick and dirty method is my favorite.


They're coasters, either recycle them if your area offers that or throw them out. If you've downloaded ISOs from the Debian website I'd suggest burning them like this:

$ growisofs -Z /dev/dvd=<iso file name>

I use the above command to burn roughly a dozen or so discs every other week and it's never failed me. Often times with K3b, which I use as well, you need to set it up and configure it, so perhaps something is up with your K3b setup.


Since no one has yet considered a bad ISO, try comparing the md5 sum of the ISO you have downloaded to the sum on the website of the ISO provider (should be able to find the correct hash on the Debian website).

To get the md5 sum, use the md5sum command like so: md5sum <liveCDname>.iso and compare it to the one you found online. Alternatively, if there is a file such as MD5SUMS available for download on the server, you can download it to the same directory as the ISO and run md5sum -c MD5SUMS. If one of the sums works, your ISO is fine, and you are burning the CDs incorrectly or some other issue.

Note: md5sum run against a list of sums will generate a lot of warnings as it is also comparing your sum to sums for alternative CDs. If you don't want a warning, and don't want to compare sums manually, make an MD5SUM file with just your sum in it that you found on the website.


Some readers are quite picky with CD-Rs, I needed to write them at the lowest speed setting to get installation CDs to work reliably, and some brands didn't work well (nowadays I use USB sticks, no CDs in sight for quite some time, so...).

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