Image Mastering API

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The Image Mastering Application Programming Interface, or IMAPI, is a component of Microsoft Windows operating system used for CD and DVD authoring and recording.

Windows applications such as Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows Movie Maker, Windows DVD Maker, and Windows Explorer use IMAPI to create ISO images and "burn" discs.[1][2] Windows refers to discs created using IMAPI as Mastered burns in contrast to the term, Live File System which implies packet writing and does not use IMAPI.[3]

Release history[edit]

IMAPI was originally introduced with Windows XP. IMAPI version 2.0 was released with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. On 26 June 2007, this version was released as an update for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 after Microsoft received requests from hardware and software vendors.[4]

On 19 January 2009, Microsoft released the Windows Feature Pack For Storage 1.0. This update allows IMAPI 2.0 to support Recordable Blu-ray Disc (BD-R) and Rewritable Blu-ray Disc (BD-RE) media. It also adds support for the Universal Disk Format (UDF) 2.5 file system.[5] Windows Feature Pack for Storage is available for Windows XP or later and is integrated into Windows 7.


IMAPI provides the ability to create and burn single-session and multi-session discs, including bootable discs. It also provides low-level access to the burn engine for developing support for new devices, as well as access to extended recorder properties. IMAPI supports every major writable CD and DVD format including:[6]

Compact discs
  • Recordable CD (CD-R). Formerly known as CD Write Once
  • Rewritable CD (CD-RW)
DVDs (IMAPI v2.0[7])
Blu-ray discs (IMAPI v2.0 with Feature Pack for Storage[5])
  • Recordable Blu-ray Disc (BD-R)
  • Rewritable Blu-ray Disc (BD-RE)

IMAPI supports writing disks in ISO 9660 (including CDDA Audio) and Joliet. IMAPI v2.0 also supports writing discs with Universal Disk Format file system.[7]

IMAPI version 2.0 supports the following additional features:

  • User-mode API instead of a kernel-mode API[8]
  • Support for multiple optical drives as well as simultaneously recording to multiple drives[7]
  • Support for creating ISO images[8]
  • Support for VBScript scripting[8]
  • Support for locking the recorder while burning [7]

Unlike IMAPI version 1.0, IMAPI version 2.0 is implemented as a DLL rather than as a Windows service.[9]


IMAPI 2.0 suffers from some limitations, notably that will not allow a filesystem to be imported from a raw image (.iso file), only from an optical drive.[10] In effect this means that while it can generate disk images, it cannot be used to modify them.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Windows XP Technical Overview
  2. ^ Burning A DVD In Vista
  3. ^ Random rewriting on a DVD +RW?
  4. ^ "Description of the Image Mastering API v2.0 (IMAPIv2.0) update package that is dated June 26, 2007 (MSKB932716)". Microsoft Support. Microsoft. 11 October 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  5. ^ a b "Description of the Image Mastering API v2.0 (IMAPIv2.0) update package in Windows Feature Pack for Storage 1.0". Microsoft Support. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  6. ^ "About IMAPI". Microsoft Developer Network: Image Mastering API. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d "What's New (Windows)". Microsoft Developer Network: Image Mastering API. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  8. ^ a b c "Optical Platform: Windows Vista and beyond" (Microsoft PowerPoint). Microsoft WinHEC 2006. Microsoft Corporation. 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  9. ^ Burg, David (16 January 2007). "Disabling IMAPI in Vista". MSDN Forums: Optical Platform Discussion. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 17 June 2010. There is no per-se disabling of IMAPI in Vista. IMAPI in Vista is a DLL (unlike XP where IMAPIv1 is a service).[permanent dead link]
  10. ^