IsoBuster Review

IsoBuster, like the MacGyver of CDs, rescues data from damaged compact discs. It uses ISO9660 file systems to quickly locate and display files and folders on them.

This version brings with it an assortment of new functionality and improvements, such as the breadcrumb control, powerful search functionality in files and folders or support for various flavors of Video HDD recorders.


IsoBuster is an advanced CD/DVD/Blu Ray data recovery solution designed to rescue lost files from trashed or defective discs, save photos and videos stored on flash media drives or recover deleted files on hard drives. Furthermore, this tool can create exact clones of discs or transfer information across different media.

All common file-systems (NTFS, FAT, and VFAT) as well as raw ISO, BIN and IMG image files are supported. IsoBuster can detect these formats during its Surface scan by inspecting headers of image files.

IsoBuster is one of the most advanced and powerful data recovery software solutions for Windows available today, employing several retry mechanisms and bypassing Windows to give itself the best chance at reading any bad or damaged media. Furthermore, it can detect discs damaged due to Buffer Under-run or failed disc finalisation processes; all this makes IsoBuster one of the premier data recovery programs currently available.

This version offers a diverse mix of new functionality, enhancements, and fixes for known issues. A major focus has been making IsoBuster faster and less memory intensive when handling large media and scanning for missing files/folders on NTFS drives.

IsoBuster can now automatically rename folders during extraction if they contain illegal Windows-filename characters or reserved file/folder names that violate Windows rules, as well as avoid creating directory trees when scanning for orphaned files.

Now when this information is available, NTFS file extents will be displayed in the file list for easier understanding of what makes up a particular file.

Workarounds have been added for some drives that prohibit commands from reaching them once DLA has locked it, such as IsoBuster being opened before initialisation is complete.

Peter has dedicated much of his enthusiasm to developing future versions of IsoBuster and has kept its cost as low as possible in order to provide everyone with access. Although its current version is freeware, certain advanced features (such as UDF support) require registration; all other functions remain completely free and unlocked via registration. Piracy remains his biggest frustration since each copy stolen makes it harder for him to continue working on IsoBuster.

Disc Formats Supported

IsoBuster offers two versions for personal and professional use; its $40 Personal version can rescue files from CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+R and BD-R discs as well as create images from physical media; its $60 Professional edition adds support for Blu-Ray, HD DVD and UDF disc formats plus some key forensic tools.

This program can identify and list all optical (CD, DVD, BD and HD-DVD Writers) drives that are attached to your PC. You have the option of showing only CD drives or optical drives which accept magneto optic discs (MO and OD), such as those used with DVD-RAM or BD-ROM disks.

IsoBuster goes beyond reading CD and DVD sessions by also providing easy access to files, folders and file systems on writable discs or ISO image files – giving you greater control than is offered by Windows or other operating systems (OSs).

IsoBuster can access sessions written to both NTFS and FAT file-systems, including those which have been overwritten, deleted from OS, or older format floppies with numbers (12-16-32) as part of their filenames. This feature allows IsoBuster to help recover information lost over time when these file systems became outdated – for example a session overwritten with newer data or ones where files have gone missing due to being deleted from it all together.

IsoBuster has an impressive ability to understand so-called ‘Green Book’ CD-i Video Discs which do not conform to the usual Blue/White book standard. These discs differ from their Blue/White book counterparts in that their TOC may only contain audio tracks without text or data for playback on most CD/DVD/BD players; IsoBuster can recognize such discs and can often unlock them with its Video Tracks to allow playback with standalone DVD players.

Cue-sheet files (*.cue) can be combined with optical image files (*.bin, *.dao and *.iso) in order to get an impression of track layout on an optical disc. CD data however resides in different files such as *.iso or *.bin). When IsoBuster extracts managed files it may ask you for or automatically generate a cue sheet and use this to complete its extracted image if successful – or even tell you why its extraction failed (drive did not provide layout). If extraction failed (for some reason), IsoBuster will display a message telling you about this fact and explain that its extracted image cannot completeness.

File Formats Supported

As its name implies, IsoBuster supports all file-systems found on CD’s, BD’s, and (HD)DVD’s as well as memory media such as flash sticks, SD cards, mobile phone memory cards, digital camera memory cards etc. (and even floppy disks!).

IsoBuster can take care of disc-drive incompatibilities seamlessly, from using Mount Rainier drives in non-Mount Rainier drives to inspecting Mac HFS discs even on PCs running Windows. Furthermore, the program supports reading various image file formats including ISO, BIN, CUE and IBP + IBQ files.

IsoBuster interprets all data without needing Windows to make sense of it, effectively sidestepping any potential buffer underrun or failed disc finalisation issues that might otherwise arise when dealing with CD/DVD media in Windows. Furthermore, the program offers various error re-interpretations options including retrying read attempts, skipping bad sectors altogether or replacing them with zeroes/dummy data etc.

IsoBuster offers many useful features, such as its powerful search function and cool graphical representation of good and bad blocks, opening *.vdi, *.vhd and *.vhdx file-systems without issues and accessing 4Kn drives without difficulty; showing file and folder streams and extents as well as providing managed (*.ibp/*.ibq) images on demand and so much more.

Create a customized file system for engineering use is a convenient feature of SCP Filesystem Manager, enabling you to define custom sectors, headers and indexes and even create separate file-systems for specific tasks like defragmenting.

Other new features include improved error handling, multiple retry mechanisms and numerous GUI enhancements. IsoBuster now displays a dialog on every manual retry to check physical condition of disc, while its GUI displays surface scan status in real-time as well as when software is reading data from raw format files and extracting or verifying them in real-time. Also improved is its retry mechanism which now requires less resources when reading from raw formats.


IsoBuster is an easy and powerful Windows program designed to recover data from damaged optical discs (CD, DVD and Blu Ray), hard drives, USB flash drives, memory cards and other external media sources. It works with most file systems including ISO9660, Joliet Rock Ridge UDF 1.02 up to 2.6 HFS+ IMG/VOB and NTFS. Furthermore it is capable of accessing multisession CD’s, finding files/folders which have gone’missing’ due to software crashes (Buffer Under-Run/failed disc finalisation), as well as multisession CD’s.

IsoBuster stands apart from similar programs by communicating directly with devices and handling all data interpretation itself. This ensures that discs remain “readable” even after buffer under-run or disc finalisation failure, using various retry mechanisms and alternative ways of retrieving it to ensure as much data recovery as possible.

IsoBuster can do this by scanning the device, detecting its track and session structure and listing these immediately. When selecting any track, session or partition you are then provided with access to its physical information which is then used to create a managed image file that can later be written onto blank discs for data restoration.

IsoBuster can also extract raw blocks of data (like Gemxplorer does for floppies), as well as replacing corrupted areas with zeros for more effective recovery of information that might otherwise have been lost. It may help save valuable files.

For the highest probability of data recovery, insert the disc into a working reader and let IsoBuster take over. If that doesn’t work out for you, try another approach – IsoBuster can create a managed image file of either your hard disk or flash drive that contains any hidden information; access can then be gained using tools such as Notepad.

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